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San Juan River | New Mexico

San Juan River Fly Fishing Information

The San Juan River is located in the northwest corner of 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.  It is estimated than the San Juan River host more than 15,000 fish per mile!

The San Juan River, in northwest New Mexico, is world renowned for its large and abundant Rainbow and Brown trout.  Beginning at Navajo Dam, the river is divided up into three sections by NM Game and Fish.  The top section, STW (Special Trout Water) includes the 3.5 miles of water from a little below the spillway to just upstream of Cottonwood Campground near Crusher Hole.   The STW has special fishing regulations requiring the use of single barbless hooks and is Catch and Release for the for the entire 3.5 miles of the STW section.   In addition, only 2 flies are allowed per line in the STW.  The STW portion of the river is estimated to contain between 75,000 and 85,000 trout (NM Dept. of Game and Fish) which converts to approximately 20,000 trout per mile.  Below the STW fishing regulations change as regular statewide trout regulations apply in a 3.3 mile section ending at Gobernador Arroyo.  Below this section lies the Lower River which extends from Gobernador Arroyo approximately 10 miles downstream to the Highway 64 Bridge at Blanco.  Much of this section is within private land and access is limited.

Below Navajo Dam the San Juan is a tailwater fishery with flows controlled by the Bureau of Reclamation.  The lake above Navajo Dam, Navajo Lake, drains from the San Juan mountains in Southwest Colorado.  There are three rivers in southern Colorado which feed the lake and ultimately form the San Juan tailwater fishery.  These rivers are the San Juan, Piedra and the Los Pinos.  As the San Juan flows downstream from the town of Navajo Dam, it is joined by the Animas River and eventually flows into Lake Powell to become part of the Colorado River system.  The dam is approximately 400 feet high and is about 3800 feet lengthwise and was completed by the Bureau of Reclamation in 1962.

The San Juan is an incredible fishery.  Intense midge hatches keep the fish fed year round.  The San Juan is notorious for the small flies and light tippet used on the river.  It is not uncommon to fish #24-26 flies on 6 and 7X tippet.  The San Juan River is easily wade able and from Texas Hole downstream drift boats may be used.

San Juan River Flies

San Juan River Hatches

Summer – Pale Morning Duns, Midges, Stoneflies, Caddis, Terrestrials, Scuds, Annelids
Fall – Baetis, Midges, Scuds, Annelids, Leeches
Spring – Blue Winged Olives, Midges, Scuds, Annelids, Leeches
Winter – Midges, Scuds, Annelids

San Juan River Lodging
Fishheads >> located in Navajo Dam is a great place to stay.  Fishheads offers a full service guide service, lodging, restaurant and fly shop.  Fishheads offer 2 and 3 Bed Suites with TVs and fly tying desks in the room.

(505) 634-0463