The best fly for the San Juan is usually determined by insect activity at the time and location you are fishing and the insects available during the last day or two. Midge larva and pupa in various sizes (18 - 28) and colors (black, brown, tan, cream, olive, red) are generally available to trout most days on the San Juan Quality Water, and these insects are the prevalent species available to trout in the upper river on most days.
From Texas Hole and below mayfly Nymphs (18 - 22) , emergers and adults become more important. Various annelids or "worms" and Scuds are also available. Immediately prior to hatches and during hatches trout may begin to feed selectively on specific insects and stages of insect development. During these periods it is important to identify the insect, size, color and stage of the insect that the fish are feeding on to do well. When you are able to "Match the Hatch" you will catch trout consistently on the San Juan.
Insect activity changes during the day, most Midge and mayfly hatches occur after mid morning to the evening. Early in the morning you will probably want to fish annelid and larval patterns close to the bottom. In areas where there are good mayfly populations you will want to fish mayfly Nymphs also. As hatches develop during the day you will probably want to remove some weight and fish higher in the water column to the surface with Midge/mayfly emerger patterns. If fish are feeding on the surface you may be able to fish Midge/mayfly adults (dries) successfully. Between hatches do not be afraid to fish attractor patterns both below the surface and on top. Streamers can also be effective between hatches.
The best way to anticipate which flies to use is to stop by Float 'N Fish and ask the staff which flies they recommend for the part of the river you will be fishing. Their intimate knowledge of the San Juan will help you fish the right flies for the part of the river and time of day that you are fishing.
Beginning the 2014/2015 Fishing Season, New Mexico has changed license purchasing to an Online System run totally through the New Mexico Game and Fish Web Site.
Float 'N Fish has a terminal where you can purchase a license at the fly shop, during the busy season it is recommended that you purchase your license online before you come to the San Juan.
Our San Juan River FlyFishing Guides are hard working, knowledgeable, friendly and passionate about what they do. With experience that only comes from spending hundreds of days each year on the rivers, streams and lakes of the 4-Corners, they have the ability to meet and exceed your flyfishing needs and expectations.
Let our authentic southwestern flyfishing guides, known as some of the best fishing guides in New Mexico, show you just why the Quality Waters below Navajo Dam, NM remains the top location in the United States for trout fly fishing trips.
The unique tail water characteristics of the San Juan make it a river which can be fished effectively almost 365 days a year. Tactics change depending on the season. During Spring, Summer and Fall fish are spread out throughout the Quality Water and move in and out of faster water depending on where food is most available. This makes finding fish relatively easy during these months as they are present in most parts of the river. During the winter months, fish tend to move to slower water and pool up, so you will generally want to avoid faster water and riffles. Most fishermen fish Spring, Summer and Fall. Summer is generally the busiest season. Locals and many fishermen from northern climates, accustomed and equipped for fishing in cool weather, look forward to fishing the winter months.
The trip from the Albuquerque Sunport to the San Juan takes about 3-hours. From the Albuquerque Sunport travel west to Interstate 25 and then to north on interstate 25 to exit 242. Take exit 242 and then go West on US 550. US 550 will travel north and west through high desert and cross the continental divide just north of Cuba, NM. This is a colorful drive through high desert country. At Bloomfield, follow the junction with US 64 east 11.6 miles to the junction with NM 511. Turn left on NM 511 (north) and continue 8.2 miles to the community of Navajo Dam. The route along HM 511 to the community of Navajo Dam is a winding road which follows the south side of the San Juan private water for much of its course. At the community of Navajo Dam, turn left at the intersection of NM 173 and Float 'N Fish will be down the hill on the right hand side.
In addition to world class trout fishing, the area around the San Juan offers a plethora of activities, some of which are seasonal. The area has Indian Ruins, Golf, Skiing, River Rafting, Hiking, Camping, Boating and many other outdoor activities.
If you are interested in scenic drives the trips to Taos, NM or Silverton/Ouray, CO are beautiful, and are stunning during the fall. The town of Durango is a year round tourist town with weekly activities, live music, fine restaurants and many other local attractions.