River Conditions in June
If ever there was a time to be fishing in or around Durango; June is it. Temps are rising, run off is subsiding, water clarity improving, float season in full effect, major hatches popping, and the fish are ready to eat! Some would even argue that June is the best month for fly fishing in Durango, hands down. June also marks our yearly trek over to the Rio Grande for our float trip season of fishing big dries to big hungry fish. We are going to go out on a limb and state that dry fly fishing in June on the Rio Grande is the best dry fly fishing in the state all year. Period.
Seriously though, your options for fishing in this part of the state are pretty endless this time of year. With all the options, you truly could not fish all of the water in our area in one lifetime. The most anticipated salmonfly hatch is possibly approaching (conditions depending) followed by caddis, stones, PMDs, and a slew of other major hatches to keep you up at night.
How about some name dropping? Waters that are turning up the fishing heat are: The San Juan, Animas, Rio Grande, Dolores, Los Pinos, Piedra, Williams Creek, Uncompahgre, Vallecito Creek, Lime Creek, Hermosa Creek, Cascade Creek, Mineral Creek, Spud Lake, and The La Plata River. All within 2 hours of Durango, most within about 45 minutes; all fishing hot right now. Not to mention the countless lakes and creeks of the high country loaded with cutthroat waiting for you to explore. Not to brag, but our area is pretty awesome. Oh and if you have time, a few bass lakes are turning up the fishing as well.
Insects and Natural Food Sources
So rather than explain all of the hatches and food for each river for June; we are just going to list the major hatches for each of our major drainages. If you have any questions on any of these, please call the shop for more info. 970-385-4081
San Juan – Midges, annelids, aquatic worms, scuds, eggs, leeches, blue wing olives, caddis, PMDs, large ants.
Animas – Salmonflies, Caddis, PMDs, Sculpins, Fingerling Rainbow Trout, Crayfish, Mice, Hoppers.
Rio Grande – Salmonflies, Stoneflies, Caddis, PMDs, Green Drakes, Brown Drakes, Mice.
Piedra River & Williams Creek– Salmonflies and Stoneflies; Caddis, PMDs, Midges, BWOs.
Los Pinos River – (Below Dam) BWOs, Midges, PMDs, Caddis, Baitfish & Leeches.
Dolores River Above Reservoir, Los Pinos Above Reservoir – Ants, beetles, Hoppers, Stoneflies, PMDs, Caddis.
Dolores River (Below Dam) – HOPPERS! PMDs, Caddis, Midges, BWO’s, Rattlesnakes (No seriously lots of rattlesnakes so watch out, but no, the fish probably won’t eat a rattlesnake pattern.)
High Country Lakes and Streams – Hoppers, Ants, Beatles, Moths, Mice, bugs…things that look like bugs…but for real High country trout are not too selective. Most high floating attractor patterns will slay. Damsel flies, Chronomids, and Callebaetis in lakes.
Recommended Fly Patterns
Animas, Rio Grande, and SW CO rivers: Dark stonefly nymphs sz. 4-14 such as a 20 Incher Stone, Prince Nymph, Black Wolly Bugger, Pats Rubberlegs. Salmonfly imitations such as Chubby Chernobyl, Rogue Foam Stone, Sofa Pillow, and Stimulators size 2-12. Green or black caddis larva and cased caddis nymphs, Sparkle pupa and Sparkle emerger sz. 12-18. Elk Hair Caddis, Olive X-Caddis, Parachute Caddis, Peacock Caddis, Foam Caddis all size 12-18. PMDs: pheasant tail, WD-40, Barrs Emerger, Foam wing RS2, Parachute Adams, PMD Sparkle Dun in sizes 14-18. If you are headed to the Dolores, make sure to pack some hoppers in size 8-12 such as Grillo’s Pool Toy, Turk’s Tarantula, and Morrish Hopper. If you are packing some streamers; Olive Krystal Buggers, Near Nuff Crayfish, Near Nuff Sculpin, Shelia Sculpin in sizes 4-10. Oh, and if you plan on fishing the Rio Grande, among all the caddis, PMD, and stonefly imitations you should have, pack a few Green and Grey drake patterns such as the Film Critic and Parachute green drake.
San Juan River: Olive and tan scuds sizes 14-18. BWO’s Sz.18-22; Two Bit Hooker, Juju baetis, WD-40s, Pheasant Tail, RS-2s, CDC Comparaduns. Midges Sz.18-26; Scissorbill Special, Red Brassie, Big Mac, Griffith Gnats, and Zebra Midges. Brown, Olive, and White bunny leaches or buggers of the same color. Tan chamois Leeches size 16. Red annelids Sz. 20-22. San Juan Worms, Sz. 16-20 in tan, pink, or orange. Egg patterns, Sz. 16 in orange, pink, and cherise. Make sure to have a few size 14 ant patterns just in case such as a Black Stimulator or Amy’s Ant.
For the high country streams; most, if not all attractor patterns will work. Have some Humpies, Royal Wulffs, Stimulators, Elk Hair Caddis, Turks Tarantula, or Parachute Adams on hand in sizes 10-16. If you must go under, a size 10 olive bugger, Copper Johns, and Pheasant Tails always seem to work. These fish are not too selective.