The San Juan River originates in the San Juan Mountains, north of Pagosa Springs, Colorado. The headwaters flow from Pagosa Springs to Navajo Reservoir where it is joined by the Piedra and Pine Rivers. The flows of these three rivers are combined by the Navajo Dam, creating the world-famous San Juan River tailwater. This incredible 3.75 mile stretch of gold medal water is located an hour south of Durango just across the state line.
Being a tailwater, fishing conditions remain consistent throughout the year. The water temps near the dam range from 40-42 degrees year-round. The flows on the San Juan are also very consistent usually ranging from 400 cfs to 1000 cfs. However, every spring starting in May there is a “spring release” in which water is released from the dam at up to 5000 cfs. The length of this release is determined by the snowpack levels in the San Juan Mountains and can last well into late June.
The San Juan River Quality Waters boasts some of the highest density of trout per mile numbers in the country, with approximately 20,000 trout per mile. The river is annually stocked with rainbow trout and has a surviving population of naturally reproducing brown trout.
With consistent temperatures and an abundance of midges, annelids, scuds, BWOs, and various other aquatic insects, the trout of the San Juan River are beneficiaries of tremendous growth rates. The size and abundance of fish in the San Juan make it one of the best places in the United States to catch “The Fish of a Lifetime.”
We offer both float and wade trips year-round and can accommodate both full and half days. The San Juan River is a wonderful place for anglers with varying skill levels. Whether you are looking to nail the perfect drift to a 22” rainbow sipping BWOs or you are just looking to learn the basics of fly fishing while catching a few fish along the way; the San Juan River is a wonderful environment to go refine your skills.