San Juan River Fly Fishing

The 4th most popular fly fishing river in New Mexico.

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East of Farmington below Navajo Dam, the San Juan River is beautiful tailwater with consistent temperature for good fly fishing. Even though its pretty remote, dont expect to be alone. The 10 mile stretch below the dam heading west has excellent rainbow trout fishing and its well-known, especially the first 3.75 miles through the broad sandstone canyon. Expect to find big ones ranging from 14 to 20 inches and up to 10 pounds. The lower 6.25 miles are known for their brown trout, too. The river temperature is typically 42 to 46 degrees year round.

There is a year-round midge and baetis hatch season. The main caddis season is from June through August.

Access to the river is provided by SR511 on the south shore which has numerous pull-offs to public parking area. To reach the north shore, there is a small access road from Cottonwood Campground.

While the San Juan River can be waded for fly fishing, it is very cold and can be running fast. Alternately, there are many float trip options.

Note: When fly fishing in New Mexico, you must have a valid fishing license in your possession at all times. There is a combined daily bag limit of five for brown trout, brook trout, rainbow trout, lake trout, konanee salmon and cutthroat trout (a maximum of two).

Overall, San Juan River is the 4th most popular fly fishing river of all 13 fly fishing spots in New Mexico.

San Juan River (NM/US)

San Juan River (NM/US)

San Juan River (NM/US)

San Juan River (NM/US)

San Juan River Fly Fishing Map



Local Contact(s):  New Mexico Tourism (800) SEENEWM; San Juan River Fly Fishing (505) 634-0463; Abes Fly Shop (505) 632-2194; Duranglers Flies and Supplies, Durango (970) 385-4081.

Recommended Book:  "50 Best Tailwaters to Fly Fish" from Wendy Gunn

Best Season:  Jun-Aug.

Base Camp:  Navajo Lake State Park Campground 505-632-2278; Cottonwood Campground 505-632-1770

Luxury Loding:  Rainbow Lodge, Navajo Dam (888) 328-1858

Reference Source:  click here

GPS:  36.816055, -107.630454

Date Published:  12/27/2015

Date Updated:  4/16/2017

ID:  19638

San Juan River Fly Fishing Map


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For fly fishing the San Juan River in New Mexico, our printable fly fishing guides offers river descriptions, maps, lodging suggestions, driving directions, levels of difficulty and points-of-contact.