Durango Area Rivers Report

Updated 2/20/2019

Make sure you also watch our recent Animas Lunch Report for a weekly recap!

Contact Duranglers for up to the minute information

San Juan River in New MexicoReal-time River Data

The Quality Water section of the San Juan River below Navajo Reservoir is arguably the best trout river in the world. The San Juan offers big fish…lots of them, and you can catch them 365 days a year!  Need a guide?

Buck San Juan River

Corky San Juan

CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug
 289 cfs Steady Navajo lake is turning over, which is causing discoloration in the Quality Waters.  This should be no deterrent for the winter fly angler as fishing has still been fantastic with leeches, annelids, and midges. Off-color water provides a great opportunity to size up in tippet and bugs!  Midges 20-24: Sidewinder Midge Pupa, Tav’s Big Mac, Jujubee Midge.  Midge Dries: Duranglers Adult Midge, CDC Biot Midge, Midge Dry.

San Juan Worms: Red, Wine, Orange #14-20. Red and Orange Annelids #18-22, and Chamois leeches.

Leeches: Simi Seal Leech, Rabbit Leech, Goat Leech.

Animas RiverReal-time River Data

One of the last free-flowing rivers in the state of Colorado, the Animas is a unique and rare treasure. With the newest and one of the best Gold Medal Water sections in Colorado, the Animas is a river that should be on your list of places to fish. Animas River Rainbow Trout

CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug
180 cfs Steady Fishing is ok, ice is on the water, but some fish are being caught.  Heavy nymph rigs are your best bet, but don’t be afraid of a slow streamer either.  Evening temps have dropped, and any fish will be very sluggish.  There has been some fish stocking this fall and winter too.


Small mayfly/midge nymph rigs, would be our go-to.  Pheasant Tails, Rainbow Warriors, and Brown Baetis Nymph in sizes 18-22.

Midges in size 18-20: Disco Midge, Mercury Midge, Black Midge Pupa.

Streamers: JJ Sparkle Minnow, Meat Whistles, Dungeons in White and Black


San Juan River in ColoradoReal-time River Data

Flowing through Pagosa Springs on its way to Navajo Reservoir, the “upper” San Juan is a good freestone river with good caddis and stonefly hatches.


CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug
44.4 cfs Steady Winter temps hold sluggish fish and icy banks, but with the hot springs in Pagosa, warmer waters can be found.  Fish deep running nymph rigs for fish. below the local hot springs. Water above the hot springs is frozen over and not currently accessible. Pat’s Rubberlegs, 20 Incher, Sparkle Stone, Atomic Stone, Brown Wired Stone in sizes #8-12.

BH Copper John, Psycho Prince, Hot Wire Prince, Prince Nymph, GTI Caddis #14-18.

Midges in size 18-20: Disco Midge, Mercury Midge, Black Midge Pupa.

Piedra RiverReal-time River Data

Spilling out of the Weimunuche wilderness, this classic trout stream offer good dry fly opportunities and a surprising diversity of fishing opportunities and a surprising diversity of fish. Duranglers also has some outstanding guided private water on the Piedra!

DJ-Fishing Piedra


 CFS  Rising/Falling  Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bugs
Ice Ice The Piedra will be mostly frozen, wait for spring.

Los Pinos RiverReal-time River Data

This is the section below Vallecito Reservoir. Bordered by private property on both sides for its entire length below the reservoir, you can only fish it if you are lucky enough to own property on it or if you take a guide trip with Duranglers!   Pine Brown

CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug
Low and Icy Ice Wait for spring, mostly frozen. Nymphs:  Little Black Sloan, Brown Wired Stone, Copper John, Pheasant Tail, Z-Wing Caddis, RS-2, Rubber Legs Hares Ear.

Midges in size 18-20: Disco Midge, Mercury Midge, Black Midge Pupa.


Dolores River Below McPheeReal-time River Data

The Dolores River below McPhee Reservoir doesn’t get allocated enough water to blossum into the river it should be. Keep an eye on the little water it is getting and remember every drop counts!


CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug
29.1 cfs Low Winter Low winter flows make for tougher fishing, but some can be caught.  Make sure you make stealthy approaches with light tippet.

Midges will be your best bet.  The Forest Service gate is closed, so be prepared to walk from there.

BWO Nymphs: Tav’s Fluff Baetis, Tungsten CDC FB Pheasant Tail, Two Bit Hooker.

Midges: Mercury Midge, Bling Midge, Flash Midge Pupa, CDC Midge Dry.

Dolores River Above McPheeReal-time River Data

This freestone river spills out of the high country and through a beautiful forested canyon. The limited access on the river should not be a deterent in exploring this great river.


CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug40
Ice Ice Flows are low and ice is covering the river.  Fish will be tough  


Rio Grande (30 mile /Wagon Wheel)Real-time River Data

The Rio Grande is a classic western river. It is a great dry fly river with one of the best Salmonfly hatches in Colorado. The flow is partially controlled by a dam, but the many tributaries add significant flow during spring and wet weather.   Jake-Mike-Rio

CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug
Ice Frozen Totally frozen, fishing is tough.  


Florida RiverReal-time River Data

The difficult fly fishing on the Florida River will not be attractive to every angler, and beginners should take some time to hone their skills on other rivers before going there. Those who are willing to put in the necessary effort to discover its scenic wonders as well as its secret trout holes will be amply rewarded with much more than wild trout.

The Stupid Fast Caddis Success

CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug
Frozen Above/ 7.21 cfs (Below Lemon) Low and frozen Frozen and low, fishing is very tough  

Wait for spring.


Fishing Durango Colorado is very numerous and diverse. There is, of course, the famous San Juan River below Navajo Dam along with the larger freestone rivers like the Animas, Piedra, and Dolores. But there are also more small mountain streams than can be fished in a lifetime. Colorado Creek Trout

CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug
 N/A Frozen Most high country creeks and lakes will be iced over and settling into the winter sleep.  Unless you can find good open water, wait until spring. Attractor dries such as the Hippy Stomper, Royal Wulff, Stimulators, and Humpies.  Dropper Nymphs: Prince Nymphs, Copper Johns, Pheasant tails, Hare’s Ears.

San MiguelReal-time River Data

Flowing out of the “hip” town of Telluride, the San Miguel is a small river/ large stream that offers some great fishing and pretty good access.

CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug
Ice Ice Lower, cold water, will be great for nymph fishing game.  Look for deep, open sections where they present themselves and get down! Nymphs:  Copper Johns, Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ear, and Prince Nymphs, Two Bit Hooker, Pats Rubber Legs, Little Black Sloan

Miges: Mercury Midge, Bling MidgeFlash Midge PupaCDC Midge Dry.


Our local lakes and ponds hold an abundance of trout, pike, bass, and many other species of gamefish.   1 resized

  • Vallecito Reservoir (Pike, Trout, Smallmouth Bass)
  • Lemon Reservoir (Trout, Kokanee Salmon)
  • Navajo Reservoir (Pike, Smallmouth Bass, Crappie, Carp, Trout, Catfish)
  • Puett Reservor (Pike, Smallmouth Bass)
  • McPhee Reservoir (Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, Trout, Kokanee Salmon, Crappie, Walleye, Bluegill)
  • Pastorius Reservoir (Bass, Trout, Panfish)
  • Echo Lake (Bass, Crappie, Sunfish, Trout)
  • Summit Reservoir (Largemouth and Smallmouth bass, Trout, Bluegill, Channel Catfish, Crappie)
  • Totten Reservor (Pike, Largemouth Bass, Walleye, Bluegill, Crappie)
  • Haviland Lake (Rainbow and Brook Trout)
  • High country lakes (Trout)
CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug
Ice All but Navajo are frozen, try ice fishing.

Navajo is fishing slow for pike if you fish deep and slow

Gunnison (Black Canyon)Real-time River Data

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison River offers one of the greatest wilderness/fishing experiences in the lower 48. The river has a good population of rainbows and brown and some of the best hatches around. Every angler should put our three-day float on their “places to fish before I die” list!

Les Gunnison

CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug
470 cfs Steady Flows are low and wade fishing is decent.  Watch for ice, but fish nymph rigs deep.  Streamers may also pull a fish or two. BWO Nymphs: Sniper Baetis, Pheasant Tails, Micro Mayfly Olive, Two Bit Hooker Red, Rainbow Warrior.  Stupid Fast Caddis #16-18.

Midges in size 18-20: Disco Midge, Mercury Midge, Black Midge Pupa.

Stonefly Nymphs: Pat’s Rubberlegs, Wired, Stone, Sparkle Stone, Hot Wire Prince, and 20 inchers.

Streamers such as: Cheech LeechTriple Double RainbowAnimas River SpecialLunch Money.

UncompaghreReal-time River Data

The newest tailwater fishery in the state. The Unc. (we like to call it) has two faces. The overly manicured part of the river is a little like fishing at Disneyland. The “wild” section is a real river.

CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug
44.1 cfs Low and Steady Fish will be stacked up but spooky.  Be stealthy like a hunter and you may find big fish.  Make the best presentation possible, or your flies will be ignored…

Midges are showing.

Eggs, leeches, and San Juan Worms patterns. Midges: Durangler’s Midge Pupa and Dry.  RS-2 Disco Midge, Sproat midge Dry, Miracle Nymph. Flash Midge Pupa, Flashback WD-40.

BWOs: Thread Baetis, Split Flag Baetis, Barrs Vis-A-DunJujubaetis #18-24

Leeches: Simi Seal Leech, Rabbit Leech, Goat Leech.