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 300cfs, to meet demands for water downstream of the dam. It is turbid with about 3 feet of visibility throughout the quality water and fishing well. The nymph fishing has been excellent with midge patterns, olive, gray and brown have been best. Keep your flies out of the moss beds by fishing lighter weights and move your indicator closer to your flies. These flows have the fish eating well on the surface! Try to be sneaky. Use small midge patterns in the mornings and your best baetis patterns in the afternoons. The fish will still eat some leech patterns and San Juan Worms natural colors have been best. Egg Patterns are working well in all colors.

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Map of San Juan River

Water Flow Data

Tidal Conditions

Orvis-Endorsed guides nearby

Fisheads of the San Juan

5-Day Outlook as of 3/14/23

The weather this week is looking partly cloudy to snowy with highs in the 40's. Fish have been eating all kinds of nymphs and streamers. Lots of fish are in only a couple feet of water so rig light and short below your strike indicators. The fish are spitting flies quickly so be ready to set the Hook! You can find some fish on the surface eating Midges and BWO's in the afternoons. Winter water on the Juan is off color due to lake turnover. This makes the fish less cautious as predators can't see them as easily. Often an attractor fly like and egg pattern, a San Juan worm or leach patterns are beneficial.

Techniques & Tips as of 3/14/23

Fish fluorocarbon tippets at the end of your mono-filament leader when nymph fishing. 5X to the first fly and 6X to the dropper. This will produce more strikes as the fish can't see the fluorocarbon. Fishing 22 to 24 midges in the slower waters has been great. The fish are eating lots of midges, fish short light rigs. 8-10 size weights with a strike indicator set at 2-3 ft. 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 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