Fishing Season: Year Round

San Juan River - NM

Fishing Outlook & Conditions

Water Temp:


Chris Taylor, Fisheads of the San Juan's Tip of the Week

The river is running at 377cfs.The lake has begun its process of turning over which it does every year when the cold weather gets here. The water is green with about 3 feet of visibility in the river. It is a great time to catch larger fish as they feel more secure when they can't see boats and predators such as birds. You can use stronger tippets than usual and larger flies with flash and color We are doing well in the guide boats! We are still catching fish using attractor patterns, bright colored larvae, bunny leaches and egg patterns. There are lots of bugs hatching! So, midge patterns and baetis patterns with flash on them are still working well.

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Map of San Juan River

Water Flow Data

Orvis-Endorsed guides nearby

Fisheads of the San Juan

5-Day Outlook as of 2/20/24

The weather this week is partly cloudy with highs in the mid 50's. It is getting cold in the mornings so bring layers. The fishing has been very good. With few anglers on the water this is a great time to fish the Juan!

Techniques & Tips as of 2/20/24

Fish fluorocarbon tippets at the end of your mono-filament leader when nymph fishing. 4X to the first fly and 5X to the dropper. This will produce more strikes as the fish can't see the fluorocarbon. Fish an attractor fly like a bunny leach or an egg pattern to a colored larvae or a fly with flash on it. We are finding lots of baetis, especially on cloudy afternoons. Baetis live in fast water so look for them in the riffles at the top of holes and at the bottom of holes in the tail out. Fish are eating gray, olive and brown mayfly nymphs in these places, it just depends on the day so have them all. You may have the chance to see fish on top during this time. A parachute Adams or comparadun should do the job. The may flies are blue-gray and are about size 22. Use dark colored wings as the fish are turning away from white wings. If you can't see this try a marker fly about 12 inches above the baetis. You should fish mono-filament tippets when fishing on the surface as fluorocarbon sinks. Change back to midges when the fish stop eating your may flies. Try some bunny leaches if all else fails. Dead drift them like the rest of your nymphs. Fish are eating them for moss! They will shake the drifting moss to get the bugs out. All this goes out the door when fishing streamers. Get them on the bottom and fish 1X fluorocarbon.

Local Species Available Year Round

  • Fish Icon

    Rainbow and Brown trout

Chris Taylor, Fisheads of the San Juan's Recommended Fly Patterns

"Must-have" fly fishing patterns in descending order of importance:

Name: Colors: Size(s):
Vernille San Juan Worm Brown, Black, Natura 8, 14
Lynch's Double Dot Egg Orange Blood Dot 18
Griffith's Gnat Black, Olive 18
Rojo Midge Gray, Olive, Brown, 20 to 22
Midge Larvae Gray, Red, Olive, Br 18 to 24
Foam Wing RS2 Brown, Black, Gray, 18 to 24
Rosenbauer Parachute Beetle Black 10 to 24
Cartoon Hopper Gray, Olive, Brown flash! 4 to 8
Bunny Leaches Black, Olive, Gray, Natural, White 6 and 8
Ants Black 12 to 16

Vernille San Juan Worm

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Chris Taylor, Fisheads of the San Juan's Recommended Gear

Description: About San Juan River

Located in the northwest corner of New Mexico, 40 miles South of Durango, Colorado and 30 miles Northeast of Farmington, New Mexico. The San Juan River is world renowned for providing some of the most rewarding trout fishing you will ever experience. The San Juan is a consistent producer of both rainbows and browns averaging 16 to 18 inches, with many reaching much larger proportions. Recent studies have suggested that there are 15,000 fish per mile. Since the completion of the Navajo Dam in the early 60's, the river below the dam has provided a perfect environment for the growth of trophy sized trout. Brown trout naturally reproduce in the river and the rainbow fingerlings that are stocked yearly are essentially wild by the time they reach maturity. Catching them is an experience you will never forget! The San Juan has developed a far reaching reputation for Gold Medal trout fishing throughout the year. With comfortable temperatures all four seasons, you can be assured of enjoyable fishing whenever you come. The San Juan provides something for everyone, year round. Clothing should be layered so you can adapt to the widely varying temperatures. Afternoon rain showers are common also. Rain is common in the summer. Bring a rain jacket even if the sky is cloudless in the morning. Sun block (SPF 30+), sun gloves, hats, neck protection, polarized sunglasses and sun protective clothing are highly recommended.

Nearest Airport:

Albuquerque, NM (2.5 hr) or Durango, La Plata Airport, CO (40 min) or Farmington, NM (40 min)


Midge strongest from 11:00 am on Blue wing olives from 12:00 to 5:00 Caddis in the evenings further down the river is better. Some Dry action on cloudy days. Streamers are working early in the morning and all day on cloudy days.

Best Time to Fish:

All day long.

Best Stretch:

quality waters

Best Access:

Texas Hole parking lot