View Full Version : San Juan River and Durango, CO Report

04-14-2011, 01:09 PM
Just got back in town last night from a fantastic trip to Durango in Southwest Colorado and a guide trip on the San Juan River. I am currently sorting through my 250 pictures and 10 minutes of HD video to prepare a report worthy of this wonderful trip. Hope to have a brief report and some pics posted on here this evening, with a more thorough report with pics and video on the blog tomorrow evening.

All I can say about the San Juan River is wow! What a wonderful fishery that is. I have now floated 12 miles of the San Juan headwaters above the lake on a previous trip, and then the lowest 14 miles of the fishery on this trip.

04-14-2011, 10:39 PM
Four years ago, my wife and I went to Durango, CO on a gamble. We had neither one been in the area, nor could we find many other people who had. I did a little research and found that there was some wonderful fishing opportunities including the world famous San Juan River. On that occasion we fished the upper San Juan upstream of Navajo Dam thanks to a last minute change as recommended by our guide from Animas Valley Anglers.

On this trip, we once again turned to AVA since they did such a wonderful job, and the owner and I have sent numerous emails back and forth since then. We had planned to fish the quality waters on this trip, which extends for four miles below Navajo Dam. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the launch point, we discovered that there were already at least 10 other boats on the water. Will, our guide, knowing that I am not a fan of crowds recommended that we try something different. He said that there is another section of the San Juan that is much less pressured, unfortunately it is typically a later season fishery and as such he had not fished it since last fall. While we were sitting there talking, the shuttle service came by and we asked them their opinion. They said that they hadn't heard any reports from that portion, but they had not done a shuttle down there in months.

That was all we needed to hear, and we took off down river. This lower float is 14 miles long, and requires a good 8 hours to float it. We put in, and tied on a jujubaetis nymph and indicator rig. About 3 minutes into the float and I already had my first take. Unfortunately, I missed my first three fish before finally bringing one to hand. However, once I had my reaction time worked out, it was game on for the rest of the morning.

Here are some pics:

Hooked up right out of the gate

Bringing one of many to net

One of the better bows of the day - Landed a couple that were around 20", and saw numerous browns over 20" chasing big streamers.

Scenery was amazing! Oh by the way, this run was phenomenal. We probably pulled a dozen fish out of this one run before stopping to eat.

Still flinging flies late into the day...... This is what happens when you schedule a 4 mile float, and go on a 14 mile one. :biggrin:

I have part 1 of the trip on my blog, and am still working on part 2 and the video editing. If you want to see many many more pics, video, and some additional commentary feel free to go over there and check it out.


I can't say enough about the guys at Animas Valley Anglers. If anybody is going out that way, I highly recommend you give Will a shout. My wife has already told him that we will be back in a couple years, and he is the only guide she will float with again.....

04-15-2011, 07:32 AM
Great report. I'll check out the blog to see the rest of it.

04-15-2011, 03:41 PM
My dad and I went there in Jan several years back. It was a great trip. Thanks for the report and bringing back those memories.

04-15-2011, 04:59 PM
Travis, sounds like you had a really cool trip. Thanks for sharing.

04-16-2011, 08:05 PM
Thanks for the comments guys.

I have just posted Part 2 - The primary fishing part


and the 8-1/2 minute long video as well.