Durango February Fly Fishing Report 2015

5 February 2015
Comments: 3
5 February 2015, Comments: 3
Durango February Fly Fishing Report 2015

It’s hard to believe it is February in Southwest Colorado.  It’s hard to believe because the weather is deceiving us into thinking it is March and not February.  Our current 7 day forecast is calling for sunny days in the mid fifties.  Truth be told, we actually want cold, snowy days.  Well, maybe March will bring the moisture; in the meantime we have been making lemonade with those lemons we were dealt.  Fishing has been pretty great for February and we have been taking full advantage of it.

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With these mid fifties temps, fishing has picked up considerably on the Animas, Upper San Juan, and Pine rivers.  On the Animas, fish have been more apt to eat a well drifted nymph the past few days and we don’t see this trend subsiding any time soon.  If you get out on the water, work the deeper runs and holes with midges, caddis larva, or a stonefly nymph.  Make sure you have enough weight to get your flies down on the bottom.  Even though they fishing is good, you still need to get the fly in the zone.  The water is still cold and the trout won’t move too far to eat.

The San Juan River below Navajo Dam has also been fishing well with trout looking to midge emergers in the afternoons.  If you are not seeing fish eat below the surface, tie on a San Juan Worm or Leech pattern with an annelid or midge pupa trailer and work the deeper runs.  The visibility on the river is about 2 feet as the lake recently turned over.  However, this should not dissuade you from heading to the Juan as the catching has still been solid.

We also recently published our Beginner’s Guide to Fly Fishing the San Juan as well as an interactive San Juan River Quality Waters Map.  If you have never fished the San Juan, use these resources to help with you San Juan success.


Insects and Natural Food Sources

If you have any questions on a specific river; please call the shop for more info.  970-385-4081

  • · San Juan River, New Mexico – Midges, trout eggs, annelids, aquatic worms, scuds, Leeches, BWO Nymphs, baitfish in the lower waters.
  • · Lower Animas – BWO nymphs, Midges, Cased Caddis, Stonefly Nymphs.
  • · Upper San Juan – Stonefly Nymphs, Mayfly Nymphs, Caddis Larva, Midges
  • · Rio Grande – Stonefly NymphsMidgesBWO nymphs, Caddis Pupa.
  • · Piedra River & Williams Creek – Stonefly nymphsMidges, Mayfly Nymphs.
  • · Los Pinos River – (Below Dam) – Midges, Mayfly Nymphs.
  • · Dolores River Above Reservoir, Los Pinos Above Reservoir –  (Mostly covered in Ice) Stonefly Nymphs, BWO nymphs, Midges.
  • · Dolores River (Below Dam) –  MidgesBWO’s, anything small. (access will be very difficult)
  • · High Country Lakes and Streams –  Iced over.
  • · Local lakes – Ice fishing with flies can be a lot of fun.  Just make sure you have a short ice rod (don’t use your fly rod).  Bead head nymphs, Jigs, Leeches, and Chronomid Buzzers will work great!


Recommended Fly Patterns
San Juan River:
  • · Midges: Size 20-30 – Black Midge Pupa, Big Mac, Desert Storm, WD-40, Juju Midge, Midge Clusters, Duranglers Adult Midge, Griffith’s Gnat, Red Hot
  • · Baetis: Size 20-14 – Juju Baetis, Thread Body Baetis, RS2, Pheasant Tail
  • · Annelids:  Red Sparkle Worm, Red and Orange annelids, Chamos Leech, SJ Worm in Red, Brown, Pink, and Tan
  • · Leeches and Streamers: Size 8-14 – Olive, Blood Leech and White Simi- Seal Leeches, Bunny Leeches, Buggers
 Animas, Piedra, Upper San Juan, and SW CO rivers:
  • · Stonefly Nymphs: Size 6-16 –  Prince Nymph, Pats Rubberlegs, Little Black Sloan, Sparkle Stone
  • · Caddis Nymphs: Size 12-18 –  Caddisstrophic Pupa, , Hares Ear, Cased Caddis, Sparkle pupa Sparkle Emerger, Barr’s Graphic Caddis
  • · Mayfly Nymphs 14-20:  Red and black Copper John, Pheasant Tail Nymph, Hare’s Ear, Thread Baetis. Juju Baetis, RS-2
  • · Midges: Size 18-24 – Flash Midge Pupa, Disco Midge, WD-40, Zebra Midges, Red Hot,


Rio Grande:
  • · Stonefly Nymphs: Size 2-14 –  20 Incher Stone, Pats Rubberlegs, Sparkle Stone, Prince Nymph.
  • · Caddis Nymphs: Size 12-18 –  Caddisstrophic Pupa, Cased Caddis, Sparkle pupa and Sparkle emerger
  • · Midges: Size 18-24 – Flash Midge Pupa, Disco Midge, WD-40, Deep Poison Tung
  • · Mayfly Nymphs 14-20:  Red and black Copper John, Pheasant Tail Nymph, Hare’s Ear, Thread Baetis. Juju Baetis, RS-2
Lower Dolores:
High Country:

The end of the High Country season has come.  Plan for next year by checking out our guide to fly fishing the high country.

Andy McKinley
Andy manages Duranglers Flies and Supplies online store and web content. When he is not plugging away in the basement of Duranglers, he can be found in the shop talking weird flies, throwing spey casts for few fish, eating pizza, drinking coffee, painting, and raising a family in Southwest Colorado.

His fly fishing writings have been published on blogs such as the Daily Drake and Simms Wading Room.

3 responses on “Durango February Fly Fishing Report 2015

  1. […] Call Duranglers at 970-385-4081 or stop in the downtown Durango shop for more information.  Make sure you also read our full February fly fishing report here! […]

  2. Jeff C says:

    Spent Wed-Sat last week on the Animas, taking advantage of the great weather. The current storm was rolling in on Sat and temps dropped considerably but still had a great day on the water despite the cold wind and numb toes. Didn’t land a thing during my time there but did hook one before feeling my line snap before I ever saw him. Fishing is very slow and I tried everything I could think of and that the guys at Duranglers suggested. Even enlisted the advice of a local Animas addict I met online. Nothing on the Ute water nor in the Purple Cliffs area. Still, the trip was a success and I wouldn’t change a thing. Would’ve been nice to say “thanks” to a local trout though… Thanks to Kyle and Andy at the shop for being great sources of info, encouragement, and restaurant recommendations. Happy to spend time and money with you guys anytime. See you in July!

    • Andy McKinley says:

      Again, thanks for stopping by Jeff. The Animas is a tough river and will make you pay your dues. Also thanks for stopping in and hanging out for a bit as well as thanks for the americansnipers.org challenge coin. I really means a lot and I am sure I could not say thank you enough for your service, but thank you anyway. Look forward to seeing you in July. Take Care!


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