Copyright 2017 James Marsh
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Fly Fishing On The San Juan River In
The San Juan River is located in Northwestern New
Mexico. It's one of the best trout streams in the nation.
The San Juan is a tailwater fishery below Navajo Dam at
Navajo Lake. The San Juan's first four and a quarter
miles of water below the dam contains over 80,000 trout.
The stream has a huge population of brown and rainbow
trout for as much as twenty miles. Most of the fishing
takes place in the first ten miles below the Navajo Dam.
The average size trout is about seventeen inches. Fly
fishing the San Juan River can be one of the most
rewarding and pleasurable experiences fly fishing has to
offer. It is a big river but usually easy to wade.
The San Juan River's upper section runs down to the
Highway 173 Bridge. The river is wide and probably
averages about 130 feet. The entire upper section is
accessible by the public. The next fifteen or so miles
downstream has a lot of privately owed property
bordering the river. By far, the best way to fish the lower
section is from a drift boat.
Much of the river bottom is soft and even silty in some
places. There are outcroppings of sandstone. The San
Juan flows through a sandstone canyon. The water
released from the Navajo Dam averages from 42 to 45
degrees year-round. Fishing is even great during the
middle of Winter. This constant water temperature is
great for the aquatic insects and the trout. The flows are
fairly consistent day in and day out, not rapidly shooting
up and down like many tailwaters. They are higher in the
late Spring months but by Summer, the flows are down
rather low. They can fluctuate from 5000 cfs to as little
as 200 cfs but never abruptly.
Most of the time, the stream can easily be waded or
fished from a drift boat. Both methods take plenty of
trout. It can be fished throughout the entire year. The
San Juan River tailwater is located in the high desert
country of Northern New Mexico where the summers are
usually cool. The winter can provide a lot of warm nice
days where the temperature reaches into the fifties
If the San Juan River has a downfall, it's the number of
anglers fishing the river at certain times. Even though it
isn't really close to any large cities and highly populated
areas, anglers come from all over the country to fish this
great river. There is always plenty of room where you
can catch trout even when the stream is crowded. You
can catch trout anywhere in the river for miles below the
dam due to the number of trout that exist there.
There's no shortage of trout. They are concentrated
throughout the river. Some anglers think they get
use to the fishing pressure and don't spook as easily as
most trout but we are not sure about that.
San Juan River
100% Satisfaction Guaranteed
Recommended Tackle & Gear
5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 & 12 ft., 5 or 6X, Nymphing:
71/2 ft., 3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Superb Five or Ultimate Six
For 5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
The deep runs are almost always full of trout.
There's a wide variety of types of water though.
The fish do seem to concentrate in the deeper
holes and runs. There are channels and
braided areas, flats, sloughs, long riffles, deep,
fast runs and about every type of water you
can find in a trout stream.
The river has a lot of algae that provides the
perfect habitat for several types of food for the
trout. It also provides a fairly slick bottom to
wade. Midges are the mainstay of food for the
trout. They provide a constant source of food.
Aquatic worms are very plentiful. Most local
anglers have a fly box with nothing but midges.
Some of the midges are so small they are
difficult to see in the fly box.
There's a few other aquatic insects as our
hatches and fly section indicates. The trout
tend to be very selective. Having a fly pattern
that closely resembles the appearance and
behavior of the natural food is usually critical.
Good presentations are almost always
required. In fact, lousy presentations will get
you nothing but casting experience.
Fly fishing the San Juan River is possible
any day of the year, even during the runoff
which takes place in May and June.
Winter provides some of the best fishing on
the San Juan.
Spring has higher water than normal during
the runoff but trout can be taken and parts
of the stream even waded during the high
Fly Fishing Guide for the San Juan
Fly fishing the San Juan River successfully
and consistently demands being able to fish
If you ever plan on fishing the San Juan River,
you are going to need to fish imitations of
midge pupae and larvae. The bottom of the
river is covered with them. That is what the
trout eat 95% or more of the time. That is what
you can catch trout on 365 days a year. It is
not the only thing they will take. They can be
caught on other flies occasionally. They can
even be caught on streamers. It's just that
your odds of success is usually far better if
you fish imitations of midges. You can fish
from the banks in some places, wade or fish
from a drift boat. Wading will usually get you
just as many fish as the drift boat will. I am
certain some of the guides would disagree
and probably not like me pointing that out, but
this river has so many trout, catching them is
usually not a problem anywhere you try. Now
that I have said that, please be advised that
the drift boat will let you see far more of the
river and catch as many fish. There is nothing
wrong with fishing from one and many anglers
may prefer that.
Now don't let the midge fishing turn you off if
you happened to not like fishing midge flies, or
if you have never fished them. It is not that
complicated and if there was ever a stream to
learn on, it is the San Juan River. It is not very
much different from fishing nymphs. In fact you
can fish tandem midges like you can fish
tandem nymphs. You do have to use a tippet
small enough that you can get it through the
eye of a size 18 to 22 hook. You wouldn't be
able to run a 4X tippet through one, for
example. The trout are not that leader
sensitive in the San Juan River. It is just that
you must use the light tippet, either 6X or 7X,
depending on the fly size used, to make the
flies appear natural and to actually get the
tippet through the eye of the hook.
The best way to fish these tiny flies is to first of
all, use the gear we recommend in the Gear
Section of this site and secondly, use the
following methods. If you are wading, the most
likely areas to catch the trout are in areas
where some current runs into a flat or pool.
You can catch them anywhere on occasions,
but that will put you in a good type of area.
You want to fish from about the middle to the
end of the current running into the pool or flat,
not the fastest water you can find. You want
the fly, or bottom fly if you are fishing two, right
on the bottom. Most of the bottom is gravel
and sand. There are some rocks but mostly
nothing to get hung on. By the way, that is
another reason that this is a good river to
learn on. The fish usually have no where to
run to break your tippet.
To be consistently successful, most of the
fly fishing on the San Juan should be
nymph fishing. By nymph fishing, we also
mean fishing larvae imitations as well as
nymphs. If something isn't hatching, and
other than midges, there usually isn't
anything hatching, you should use aquatic
worm imitations, leeches, midge larvae, or
blue-winged olive nymphs. It's best to dead
drift the flies right on the bottom. Most
anglers use a strike indicator.
Unless you see trout feeding on the
surface, it's usually not a good idea to fish
a dry fly. The trout can be deceptive and
feed on the surface without making much of
a disturbance or even a slight rise ring.
They often sip in midge pupa just under the
Two fly rigs are popular. They seem to help
anglers determine whether the trout are
feeding on the larvae or pupae. You can
rig up with both a midge larva imitation and
a imitation of the pupa.
The best way to rig for that is to use split
shot a few inches above the fly or top fly in
the case of two. Now some anglers run the
top fly off of a short section of tippet
attached to the leader. I usually don't. I
usually just put the flies directly on the
tippet. Adjust the weight to match the
current and the depth of the water you are
fishing. The bottoms are usually more
uniform and not so up and down like many
trout streams. Getting just the right amount
of weight is important. Add a strike indicator
on the leader to where it drifts right and
allows the fly to touch the bottom. You don't
want the bottom fly suspended off the
bottom and you don't want it to drag the
bottom - just touch it. Set your drag
correctly, about 75% of the breaking
strength of the tippet.
Cast up and across and quickly mend the
line by throwing line up stream, not coiling it
like some anglers do dry fly fishing. The
idea is to get the indicator well upstream of
the fly or flies. It may take two mends to get
used to it. Get your fly line well upstream or
above the indicator. You may want to strip
out line and let the fly keep going
downstream if you can do that in the
particular area you are fishing. As long as
you can keep the flies drifting right, let them
When the trout take the fly, the indicator
usually just stops drifting. It may not shoot
under for a few seconds. Don't wait on it. If
it stops, make a long slow sweep of the rod
tip to set the hook. All you need to do is just
tighten up the line. The tiny hooks set very
easy. If you don't, you will break the tippet.
When the trout feels it is hooked, it will take
off. Just keep some tension of the line and
let the drag do the rest. Hold the tip of the
rod high in the air. Don't reel until the fish
stops running. It may make several runs
before you get it near you. When it first
sees you, it will take off again for sure so
be prepared for that. I suggest you use a
landing net because most of them are lost
within reach. Remember, the average size
trout you will probably catch is about 14 to
16 inches and it may be much larger.
San Juan River Hatches and Trout
Our information on aquatic insects is based on
our stream samples of larvae and nymphs, not
guess work. We base fly suggestions on
imitating the most plentiful and most available
insects and other foods at the particular time
you are fishing. Unlike the generic fly shop
trout flies, we have specific imitations of all the
insects in the San Juan River and in all stages
of life that are applicable to fishing. If you want
to fish better, more realistic trout flies, have a
much higher degree of success, give us a
call. We not only will help you with selections,
you will learn why, after trying Perfect Flies,
92% of the thousands of our customers will
use nothing else. 1-800-594-4726.
The San Juan River is where the San Juan
Worm fly came from. It is still very popular and
used by many anglers. San Juan worms,
aquatic worms, are thick in places.
All in all, the mighty midge is the most plentiful
food available for the trout and imitations of
them are the most popular flies used on the
San Juan River.
Black flies are also plentiful. We have excellent
imitations of the black fly larvae, pupae and
adults at Perfect Fly.
Scuds are also plentiful in the San Juan River.
Imitations of them will work year-round.
Leeches is another plentiful creature that trout
eat in the river.
The most plentiful mayfly is the
Blue-winged Olive. There are several
species called blue-winged olives that
hatch from about the first of April through
August. Pale Morning Dun hatch in some
parts of the river during June and July.
There are a few species of caddisflies but
the only ones we have found that are
plentiful are Spotted Sedges. There may
be others and if we confirm any additional
species in any significant numbers we will
be adding it to the list. The Spotted
Sedges hatch in June and July
July, August and September is terrestrial
season and imitations of ants, beetles and
grasshoppers work well during that time.
One of the most effective flies there is for
catching the large San Juan brown trout
are streamers. Don't forget to have a
good selection of them. Our "Perfect Fly"
Yellow and White Marabou Sculpin
Streamers work great.
If you haven't tried our "Perfect Flies" yet,
be sure you do. We have the most
realistic and effective imitations of all the
insects, crustaceans and baitfish that are
in the San Juan River. Our midges have
been tested and proven very effective on
Summer provides some excellent dry fly
fishing at times.
Fall is a great time to fish the San Juan
River. You cannot pick a bad time to catch
fish - only a bad weather day for you to
Thumbnails: Click to enlarge
|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (email@example.com)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
Headlines: We received another
good report from a customer. The
stream levels are in good shape,
running just a little below normal
levels. All sections of the river are
turning out good numbers and
sizes of trout. Midges and Aquatic
worms continue to produce the
most. Sculpin streams are catching
the larger browns and rainbows.
Keep track of the latest information
on our weekly undated San Juan
River Fishing Report linked above.
Map of San Juan River
Fishing Report Headlines Archive:
Current San Juan River Fishng Report
10/13/15 Something rather unusual is happening. There is rain in the forecast every day for
the next week. The stream levels are bound to be higher later this week, so keep in touch.
The food isn't all midges but of course, that's the great majority of the aquatic insects.
We get good reports from our customers just about every week.
10/20/15 The water levels are still a little above normal for this time of the year. There may be
a few places you could safely wade and it should continue to fall out this coming week. Blue-
winged olives are hatching again, but otherwise, you need to stick to terrestrials and
scuds/sowbugs most days. The water has warmed up some and the fish are feeding on top.
Sulphurs are hatching. Water levels can be a problem, so be sure to check them out before
making a long trip.
10/27/15 The USGS gauge still isn't working properly but the height tells you it is normal. Blue-
winded olives have started to hatch on and on again. The hatches are much more prolific if it
is cloudy or overcast but that isn't often the case. Streamers are working to take some of the
larger trout, mostly in the middle and lower sections.
11/03/15 Our Brown Sculpin and White Belly Sculpin flies continue to be the stars of the river.
They are hooking some big trout, especially the browns. Blue-winged olives have been
hatching about as good as they ever do. Of course, as always, you cannot ignore the midge.
The river bottom is absolutely full of midges and it is he main source of food for the trout.
11/10/15 Conditions have been good as they normally are. Anglers have caught some large
bows and brown trout this past week. Most of the large ones were taken on the Brown and
White Belly Sculpin streamers. The majority were caught on red, or blood midge pupa and
larva. Few anglers are fishing, yet it is a good time with good, cool weather.
11/17/15 There's a winter storm warning in effect right now through tomorrow. That should not
affect the stream or the trout much but will the fishers. It will clear back up. There's been a lot
of rain in the headwaters but so far, discharges have been reasonable and wading possible
most of the time. Do keep a check on the levels before traveling very far to fish for the next
few days. The trout will be there feeding as usual on guess what - yes, midges.
11/24/15 We didn't receive any reports from anyone fishing this past week. Discharges are
normal and for sure the flies you need to use are normal. They rarely change. Cream midges
seem to be more available right now than the red midges or blood midges. Fish the larva and
pupa in tandem for the best results.
12/01/15 As mentioned in the fishing report, we had three good reports within the last four
days. Red midge pupa and larva fished in tandem worked. They were fishing the upper
section. It will be a little cooler this coming week but the water will remain the same
temperature. We recommend the upper or middle sections and Cream and Red midge larva
and pupa fished in tandem.
12/08/15 Conditions for fly fishing the San Juan River remain very good with little changes in
flies or strategy needed. Blood, or Red midges seem to be outperforming the other colors.
There are a lot of them at this time of the year but the other colors exist as well. Our
customers are doing well on all of them but mostly midge larva and pupa. There has been little
surface or dry fly action lately.
12/15/15 It is getting cold in northern New Mexico. The highs this coming week will be around
freezing and the lows in the teens. This is going to affect the fishers much more than the fish.
If you can handle frozen guides and cold wind, you should do just fine. The water temperature
near the dam will change little to none. Of course, the further downstream you fish, the colder
the water will be.
12/22/15 There is a lot of rain and snow in the forecast for this coming week. That won't affect
the trout at all unless it stains the water a little. It will affect those chasing the trout. You can
probably catch more trout under these conditions than you can on the clear days, so don't let
it bother you. Just make sure you dress properly for it.
12/29/15The San Juan tailwater is one of the most consistent streams in the country. High
discharges are uncommon and anglers can usually wade the river. We recommend fishing the
upper section of the river because the water is a constant temperature and unaffected by the
weather. Three or four miles down the river, the water can be affected by the air temperature.
01/05/16 I mentioned in in the fishing report but keep in mind that the San Juan River is
probably the very best fly fishing destination you could select during the month of January.
You can catch plenty of trout as well as some very large ones. Midges, midges and more
midges is all you will need. Fish the larva and pupa imitations in tandem with the pupa the
01/12/16 Condition are good right now. The stream levels are low enough to wade and lots of
trout are being caught near the dam. The water is warmest near the day. I wouldn't fish below
the bride at all. Midges, mostly cream and red colors, with the larva the bottom fly and the
pupa the top fly is the best setup. The White Belly sculpin has also be a hot fly lately.
01/17/16 Conditions are as good as they get during January, anywhere in the nation. The little
bit of snow that may fall the next two days only keeps you cool enough to land some of the big
trout in the river. Fish within two or three miles of the dam and you will do fine. Midges, midges
and more midges are the flies you need to use.
01/26/16 The weather has cleared back up to normal, meaning there isn't any rain or snow in
the forecast for the next week. Red midges, or blood midges, are burrowers that are currently
hatching good. By the way, the adults are black and white, not red. The pupa and larva are
02/02/16 The weather is turning a little colder this coming week but that has little to no effect
on the fish, just the anglers. We recommend fishing near the dam. The further downstream
you fish, the colder the water will get but anywhere within the first mile of two should be fine.
02/09/16 Stream levels are low and wading easy. There is no rain or snow in the forecast for
the next week, and fishing conditions should continue to be good. With clear skies, the best
choice of flies is of course, midges. I recommend size 22 at this time. There are far more
smaller ones than larger ones. Blood midges, or reds, are the most plentiful at this time.
02/16/16 The weather is turning warmer but will have little effect on the section of the river just
below the dam. It will start to warm up the lower sections of the river and make it more
comfortable on those fishing. Midges are still king of the water and size 22 our preference.
Right now there are more small ones than larger ones.
02/23/16 The weather is returning back to normal and the discharges continue to be good fo
wading. We are still recommending the upper part of the river near the dam due to slightly
warmer water temperatures. There isn't any changes in the insects you should be imitating.
Cream and red, mostly red, midges are plentiful right now and hatching.
03/01/16 The weather is going to be very nice this coming week and that will make it more
comfortable for anglers to fish. It could raise the water temperature in the lower section of the
river a degree or two but won't affect it anywhere else. Midges, creams and reds, are hatching
and the main thing you should be imitating.
03/08/16 The weather is continuing to be warmer than normal. The chance of rain ends today
and it will be clear the rest of the weekend and next week. The discharges are up some and
levels higher than normal. We are still recommending fishing the uppermost section of the
river. Midges, Black flies and aquatic worms are the foods you need to imitate.
03/15/16 Good conditions continue to exist on the San Juan. It is going to be nice, clear and
warm for the next week. Customers have been doing good using the size 22, Cream midge
larva and pupa, fished in tandem. Sculpin streamers like the Brown Sculpin and Black Matuka
Sculpin are working good when it is early or late in the day.
03/22/16 The stream levels are good for wading most of the time and with the weather outlook
for the next week, they will most likely remain good. Midges are king as always. You can
actually catch trout on the light Greens, reds and cream midge larva and pupa fished in
tandem. Some are taken on the top using the adult imitations.
03/29/16 As I wrote in the linked report, midges are hatching so thick you can't see the bank
in places. That isn't really true but should give you an idea of what I mean. You can catch
trout eating on the surface for four or five hours a day, not to mention using larva and pupa in
combo at other times.
04/05/16 The discharges and stream levels are a little low but anglers are still catching lots of
trout. it is good all the way from the dam down to the bridge. The Brown sculpin streamer
works great early and late in the day. Midges, especially the blood midge, or red midge,
produces the best lately according to our customers. There is some rain forecast for this
04/12/16 You probably keep thinking that one day you will check this report and midges won't
be the featured insect to imitate. If so, ou are wrong. That's not going to change. Midges are
the main source of food for the trout year-round. As it usually is this time of the year, the big
river is in good shape and lots of trout are being caught.
04/19/16 Customers are reporting a lot more light green shades of midges are showing up.
There are still plenty of reds and creams but more light greens, at least in the upper section of
the river. The water is clear and the few anglers fishing are catching a lot of big trout. The
water is gradually getting a little warmer in the middle and lower sections of the river.
04/26/16 As usual, we are getting some very good reports from customers fishing the river.
The USGS gauge is finally working right again. That really hasn't been a problem because the
stream levels have been good most all the time. Green midges seem to continue to out
number the others but all three are present as usual. There is a slight chance of rain every
day this coming week.
05/09/16 The weather is turning much warmer. The discharges have been up to keep the lake
at the right level for runoff from the headwaters. The levels can be tough to wade at time but
okay for the drift boats. The river is getting warmer in the middle and lower section.
05/17/16 The San Juan is about the most stable fishery in the state when runoff is taking
place. The discharges are almost never too high to fish from a drift boat. Most of the time you
can wade, even when other streams are blown out. Anglers are still catching trout in spite of
the fact it is runoff time.
05/24/16 The stream levels are high from the power company lowering the lake. They are
getting heavy runoff from the headwaters of the San Juan and its tributaries. This may
continue for a few days, but you never know. You will just have to watch the levels. It can be
fished from a drift boat but we don't think it is worth it.
05/31/16 The discharges are back down to normal and the flows low enough to easily wade
the stream in most places. Midges continue to catch plenty of trout for our customers. Fish the
tandem rig, with the midge larva on the bottom and the pupa on top. Yes, you want to add
some weight and use a strike indicator.
06/07/16 The discharges are still very high and the resulting stream levels to high to wade
safely in most areas. The drift boat guys are still fishing some, but it is slow. The continue to
lower the lake of runoff water and this may last another week or two. You just have to keep
checking the levels. Hopefully, it will end early.
06/14/16 The stream levels are still high due to heavy discharges. They have to lower the
lake levels to continue to hold all the runoff water from the San Juan tributaries. There are a
lot of them. Drift boats are still fishing and catching some trout but the high current isn't the
ideal water to fish. This will likely continue for the next few days.
06/20/16 The discharges have eased up some but still strong resulting in high water levels. It
isn't safe to wade in many areas. Drift boats can still fish but it makes it much more difficult to
catch fish. The runoff is nearing its end and the headwaters should soon be back to normal
flows and the lake back to a normal level. The weather is going to be very hot this next week.
06/27/16 The discharges are still high and the resulting stream levels are high. This is due to
a lot of runoff water that keeps the lake level up as well as a lot of recent rainfall. This should
soon subside and the levels drop down to where anglers again have better wading
07/05/16 The discharges and resulting stream levels are still high. You can fish from drift
boats but it isn't safe to wade at these heights. It should start falling down more soon. The
runoff is over and they just need to get the lake level down. We added Spotted sedges or
caddis to the list of flies. They have begin to hatch.
07/12/16 Finally, the river level is down thanks to lower discharges. All the runoff water from
the many streams and tributaries is finally finished. Anglers can now safely wade sections of
the river where they normally can during most of the year. There are some hatches taking
place, but as usual, they are mostly midges. Greens and Reds seem to dominate at this time.
The San Juan river is
07/19/16 The discharges and resulting stream levels are down and in good shape to allow
anglers a chance to wade most of the water safely. We received two good reports from this
past weekend from customers fishing light green midges pupa and larva in combination. They
caught some very nice brown trout as well as several rainbows.
07/26/16 Fish the upper to middle section of the river for cooler water. The lower sections are
a little warm. Conditions are still good for the wading angler. The stream levels and discharges
are low. There is rain in the forecast through this Wednesday. Midges, Midges and More
Midges, are the weapons you need.
08/02/16 The weather is going to cool down a little with lots of rain chances this coming week.
The levels and discharges have been very good to wading anglers the past few days and we
have been getting some very good reports from customers. They are using light green midge
larvae and pupae imitations fished in tandem.
08/09/16 The discharges and resulting stream levels have been up for the past two or three
days, but are back down near normal. We didn't receive any reports from the past week. We
do recommend fishing the upper and middle sections of the river. The lower section is
approaching getting a little too warm each afternoon.
08/17/16 The discharges and stream levels are back low again. There is little chance of rain
this coming week and that is likely to continue. Fish the uppermost section within the first five
miles of the day. The middle section, above the bridge to the upper part continues to produce
the most brown trout. The flies are the same, midge larva and pupa in tandem.
08/24/16 Light Green midges are plentiful now and our customers are doing well using the
pupa and larva imitations fished in tandem. Little size 20 BWO nymphs are also doing good.
Early mornings are producing some large brown trout by our customers using the Black and
Olive Matuka sculpin patterns. Stream levels are up a little but still low for this time of the
08/31/16 The river levels have been up a little above normal lately. There has been some rain
in the watershed and that has helped the overall condition of the river. Wading has been a
little tough on some anglers but it has been great for the drift boat anglers. There is nothing
new in the way of flies needed. It is rare midges are not the prime thing to be imitating.
09/05/16 The discharges and resulting stream levels are back low again. Wading is easy most
anywhere. Our customers are reporting catching larger fish in the early mornings on Sculpin
streamers in the middle and lower sections of the river. Cream and Red midge larva and pupa
in combination is working best otherwise.
09/12/16 The San Juan river country is getting some rain for a change. The discharges are
up and the stream levels near normal. There is more rain coming through tomorrow and then
again over the weekend. Midges, midges and more midges are all you need to catch plenty of
trout. Customers are catching them from the dam to the bridge.
09/27/16 For a change, there is a chance of rain everyday for the coming five days. The
cloud cover should help but the rain will make little difference, if any, in the discharges and
flows. They are running a little below normal now. There are some big brown trout being
caught. Our customers are using our Sculpin streamers.
10/03/16 I have no idea why or how we missed giving a report for last week. I was surprised to
see we didn't. The stream levels are up due to higher discharges to get the lake back down to
the right levels. It makes it tough wading in places but the drift boat anglers are still doing well.
Streamers are working good due to the higher levels.
10/10/16 This coming week is simply going to be beautiful with great stream and weather
conditions. Some very large brown trout continue to be caught. Fish upstream a few hundred
yards of the bridge. There are lots of rainbows being caught as well. Use sculpin streamers for
the browns and midges, reds and creams, for the rainbows.
10/18/16 The stream levels and discharges are low. It is normally low in October but this is a
little more than the average. You can easily wade about anywhere and there is still plenty of
water for the trout at a good water temperature. They are active and the browns are entering
the pre-spawn stage. Sculpin streamers will catch those. Midges, creams and blood midges
will catch them all.
11/01/16 This is about the most consistent river for producing good numbers of large trout as
any in the Western United states. The brown trout are in the pre-spawn stage and taking our
Brown and White Belly sculpin streamers very well. Red and Cream midges with the larva and
pupa fished in tandem is working great for the rainbows.
11/07/16 The stream conditions are in very good shape and the few anglers that are fishing,
including our customers, are catching a lot of rainbows and brown trout. Midges is the king, as
usual. There seems to be more creams than others. Fish the Cream larva and pupa in
tandem under an indicator. Trout are being caught in all sections.
11/14/16 The river is running low right now. It hasn't rained in the watershed in a few days and
the discharges are low. Wading is easy about any where and trout are being caught in all
sections of the river. The water is still in good shape with lots of midges hatching, mostly reds,
or blood midges and creams. It is an excellent time to fish the river and few anglers are doing
11/21/16 The recent rain has the lake and stream levels up to about normal levels again. Our
customers are catching good numbers of trout and some large ones at that. The Brown and
White Belly sculpin streamers are getting the larger trout. Midges, Creams and reds, or blood
midges, are catching the most trout as usual. It is a good time to be fishing the San Juan.
11/28/16 It is turning much colder this coming week with some snow but the conditions have
been excellent this past week. We received two good reports from customers that caught
good numbers of trout. The water is actually going to be a little warmer than the air. Fish the
uppermost section of the river.
12/06/16 The river levels are low due to low discharges and that's a good thing for wading
anglers. The weather is colder the past week and this coming week but that doesn't affect the
water temperature much until it gets a few miles downstream. Midges are still as usual, the
choice insects to imitate. Fish the larva and pupa in tandem with the larva the bottom fly for
the best results.
12/13/16 The river is in good shape with few anglers fishing. The water is a little warmer in the
uppermost section. We recommend fishing in the first three or four miles downstream from the
dam for the best results. Yes, Midges are the key insects to imitate. The Reds or blood
midges are hatching along with the Creams and a few Light Greens.
12/20/16 The water is getting a little cooler than it has been. Fish the upper part of the river,
for the first five miles or so below the dam. Further downstream gets much colder. Fish
midges, reds and creams, with the larva and pupa imitations in tandem.
12/27/16 Light Green midges are hatching as well as the Bloods (reds) and Creams. Midges
as usual, but in this case, I wouldn't be concerned about trying Winter stonefly nymphs. These
crawl out of the water near dark to hatch. Fish them near the banks late in the day. Perfect Fly
as pre-rigged tippets at Perfect fly in nylon and fluorocarbon. This helps those who have
trouble tying on small flies.
01/04/17 The weather and stream conditions are very good for the beginning of a new year.
Our customers caught good numbers of trout this past weekend. Tow larger brown were taken
on the White Belly sculpin. Midges, Creams, light Greens and Reds (blood) midges are
hatching good and customers are taking some from surface on the adult pattern at times.
01/11//17 We received another good report from a customer who fished a couple of days this
apst week. He caught lots of trout, all on the Cream midge with the larva and pupa fished in
tandem. He fished the first mile of water below the dam. The water temperature is about 36 to
37 degrees. Lots of midges are hatching and you may even take some from the surface.
01/24/17 This past week was another good one, at least for one customer. He tried out the
new Perfect Fly pre-rigged tandem midges, in Cream and caught several nine trout on a two
day trip to the river. The discharges and water level is up a little this morning but snow ends
today, and the levels will soon be back low. Red and Cream midges are hatching. Winter
stoneflies are hatching.
01/31/17 The San Juan is one of the best destinations in the nation to fly fish for trout in the
middle of the winter. The weather is going to be fairly warm this week, and clear. Midges are
hatching and our customers are reporting some good catches. You can catch larger trout
fishing early and late in the day with the Olive Matuka Sculpin streamer but otherwise, use
02/07/17 There is another good week of fly fishing opportunity ahead. You can fish about any
section of the river and do good. The water is warm enough in all sections. Midges are the
main thing to imitate. We now offer midges with the pupa and lava pre-rigged in tandem. This
helps those who have trouble tying on the small flies. Tandem rigs work best because it
imitates a hatch better.
02/14/17 Conditions are good. This is one of the best fly fishing destinations in the nation
right now. We got two good reports from customers fishing this past week. They used our new
pre-rigged midge tandem rigs. It helps those guys who have trouble tying on and rigging the
small flies. There are creams, reds and light greens hatching at this time.
02/21/17 The weather has been great the past week, but turning back a little colder and dryer
this coming week. The stream levels are up getting the lake back down to its normal level.
This is making it tough to wade some areas. Midges, as always, are the most important
insects. Streamers like the Matuka sculpin patterns are catching the larger size trout.
02/28/17 The river is flowing high due to more than normal discharges. The lake should be
getting back to normal level soon and the discharges dropping. The rain and snow ends
tomorrow and the skies will be clear for the next several days. As Always, Midges are key. Fish
the light Green, Creams or Reds. All three are hatching but mostly the blood or red midges.
03/07/17 The discharges and resulting stream levels are down and wading easy most
anywhere. We think the best location to fish right now is the release section just below the
dam. The water may be a little warmer downstream but our customers are reporting some
good catches close to the dam. Cream and Red midges rigged in tandem worked for this
03/14/17 Discharges and stream levels are up making it difficult to wade but fine for drift
boats. Fish the Black and Olive matuka sculpin steamers under these conditions. They will
catch the larger trout. Midges are still king, but fish them larva and pupa in tandem. Creams
and Reds are the most common but light Greens are showing up as well lately.
03/21/17 Most guys would say the river is blown out, but it is very high. It could be fished from
a drift boat, but I would prefer to wait until it dropped given a choice. You sure can't wade at
these flows. When you can fish, use Midges, the creams or reds, or streamers like the Black
Matuka or Olive Matuka sculpin. All you can do is check back with us and watch the stream
03/28/17 The discharges and stream levels are still running high. If you pick and choose your
places, you can find a little water safe to wade. Drift boats are doing better in the faster flows.
Red midges are outproducing the others for our customers lately. Sculpin streames like the
Black and Olive Matuka sculpin work good in the higher flows.
04/04/17 The discharges and resulting stream levels are still high but it is down from last
week. You can wade some places but be careful selecting them. Drift boats are doing fine.
The water is clear and most anglers are catching plenty of trout. Streamers are working good
but otherwise, light green midges are the best bet.
04/011/17 There are little Black Caddisflies starting to hatch in the middle and lower sections
of the river. The weather and water are getting warmer. The stream levels are down to where
wading is possible about anywhere and all in all, the river is getting into good shape. This
coming week should be a good one.
04/18/17 The San Juan is running a little high, too high to wade safely in most places. The
discharges are up to get the lake back down to the right level mostly due to the runoff from
warm weather. There is no chance of rain this coming week. Drift boats can fish effectively at
the current flows. There are lots of light Green midges hatching. Sculpin streamers work good
with the higher flows.
04/25/17 The discharges and stream levels are down to normal levels for this time of the year.
Our customers are sending in some good reports the past two days. Light Green and Cream
midges are hatching good. There are some little BWOs and little Black Caddis as well. Fish
any section of the river and you should catch trout. The weather is going to be little cooler ths
05/02/17 The river is flowing at a good rate and level making wading easy and safe. Our
customers sent in some good reports from the past week. There are lots of caddisflies
hatching as well as Cream and light Green midges. The weather is nice and warm and there is
no rain in the forecast for the next five days.
05/09/17 The discharges and stream levels are up rather high, making wading tough and not
safe in most areas. Drift boats are fishing but it is strong current and water slightly stained.
There is a couple more days of rain and then clear weather but the water in the upper river
and lake is still a little high. We are not sure how long this condition will last.
05/16/17 The discharges and stream levels are very high and the water stained. It is runoff
time and the watershed is high. This is likely to last for a few days. All you can do is to stay in
touch with us. We will keep you informed as to the status. of the runoff. You can also plan that
next trip. Send us an email. We will be glad to help you.
05/23/17 The river is down a lot from the past week, and much clearer. There are still some
little Black caddisflies hatching but the main attention should still be on the midges. The
Creams and light Greens are still the most important ones. All sections of the stream are okay
to fish. The water levels are still too high to wade in some sections.
05/30/17 The river is flowing high from heavy discharges, too high to wade safely. Drift boats
should still be able to catch trout. Streamers and as always, midges, are the flies you need to
be using. We have a lot of new midge products including pre-rigged larva and pupa flies, foam
spools for pre-rigged midges, and fly boxes that hold pre-rigged foam spools.
06//06/17 The discharges and stream levels are very high, too high to fish even from a drift
boat in our opinion. The runoff is about at it peak, we hope. All you can do now is to watch the
levels and fish when it drops back down. We will keep you posted as to the status of it each
05/13/17 The river is down some from last week, with slightly lower discharges and stream
levels, but still far to high to fish as well as highly stained. We hope the runoff has peaked and
the discharges and levels will continue to fall down. It usually doesn't take long but the
watershed is a big one. Check back with us soon.
06/20/17 The discharges and stream levels are still very high, too high to wade safely and in
our opinion, to high to fish from a drift boat. The runoff is nearing its end in the headwaters
but it is a large one and they have to keep lowering the lake to hold all the water. Hopefully,
this will end soon and the heavy discharges cease to exist making wading easy and safe.
06/27/17 The discharges and stream levels are very high, over 5000 cfs, and it needs to drop
down to 1000 or less for ideal conditions. We think it will do that soon. The lake is getting
down near the right level. Drift boats are fishing now, but we don't recommend it. It is more like
dredging than fishing.
07/04/17 The river is down and wading possible in many places. All sections can be fished
from a drift boat. Conditions should remain good from now on this month. The lake level is
down to where they need for it to be. Notice that we have added terrestrials to the fly list. They
are becoming important.
07/11/17 The discharges are down to nothing and stream levels are low. This is good for
wading. You an wade just about anywhere. There are good reports coming in. Good numbers
of trout are being caught. Although terrestrials are now on the menu, midges are still
outperforming most everything.
07/18/17 The river is in very good shape with low discharges and stream levels that are good
and safe for wading anglers. Our customers are catching good numbers of trout on Cream
and Light Green midges rigged with the larva and pupa in tandem. Sculpin streamers are also
07/25/17 We didn't receive any reports from anyone last week. The stream levels have been
high due to heavy rain. More is on the way for the next few days. You can wade areas near
the banks in places, provided you use caution, but for the most part, the levels are too high
and the current too fast to be wading. Drift boats can do okay but they too are hampered to
08/01/17 There has been rain and the discharges and stream levels are up some. Wading
may be tough to not safe in some sections and okay in others. Drift boats do fine at these
levels. There is a slight chance of rain everyday this coming week, and the cloud cover helps.
Midges, with the larva and pupa in tandem, is the key rig.
08/08/17 Two good reports from customers came in this past week. Light Green and Cream
midge larva and pupa rigged in tandem did the trick as usual. Trout are being mostly caught
in the upper section below the dam from the off limits downstream. The stream levels are
down and wading easy most of the time.
08/15/17 The river is in good shape in all respects. The discharges and stream levels are low
and wading safe and easy about anywhere. The lower and middle sections are turning out
some good trout, as well as the upper river. Some nice browns were caught this past week in
the middle section by one of our customers.
08/22/17 The river is in good shape and trout are being caught in good numbers in all
sections. Wading and drift boat anglers are doing well. Midges, Creams and light Greens, with
the pupa and larva fished in tandem are working good. This coming week should be a good
one. We still think the section nearest the dam is some better than the middle and lower
08/29/17 The river is in good shape in all respects. The discharges and stream levels are low
and anglers are able to wade safely almost anywhere. Drift boat are also doing fine. All there
sections of the river are turning out trout.
09/05/17 We had a couple of good reports from regular customers this past week. They used
the cream and light green midge larva and pupa rigged in tandem. The discharges and
stream levels are very good for wading and drift boats right now. We expect the coming week
will be as good or better.
09/12/17 We received more good reports from the past week. The weather is turning a little
cooler and that should help lower the water temperature in the middle and lower sections of
the river. All sections are turning out trout right now. Midges, creams and light greens, are still
the leading flies.
09/19/17 The river is in good shape from the dam to the lowest section that hold trout. We
have two good reports from customers this past week. This coming week look good, with little
chance of rain and good levels. Notice the Aquatic Worm we have added to the list of flies.
09/26/17 The river is in very good shape in all sections. The cooler weather has the middle
and lower river water temperatures down and all sections are turning out good numbers of
trout. We received two good reports from customers this past week. One was using our new
Pre-rigged tandem midge rigs in a Cream color.
10/03/17 The river is in good shape in all sections. We received two good reports from
customers this past week. Midges, especially the Creams and Reds or blood midges, are
working good. Fish the larva and pupa in tandem for the best results. Our new aquatic worms
are also working according to one customer.