Durango Fly Fishing Report: Late June/Early July 2021
Here is the late June/early July Durango Fly Fishing Report: The season is officially in fully swing here in the Durango and SW Colorado area. Runoff from this winter has mostly ended or dramatically declined with higher temperatures leaving few if any of the high mountain peaks with any remaining snowpack. As runoff decreases this area’s watersheds will become clear and packed with fish looking to finally enjoy some morning, mid afternoon and evening hatches of insects emerging from their dormant states.
The Rio Grande has already experienced its peak high levels of flows for the year and as water levels recedes this opens opportunities for anglers to wade into the water without high CFS flows. While most of the large Salmon Fly Hatches and Drakes have already taken place do not underestimate the occasional greed of a Brown Trout looking for one final large insect to eat, so large hoppers or chubby Chernobyl patters still get eaten. Caddis hatches will remain consistent thru the summer so focus on matching the color and size patters of these flying insects along the banks. This match will attract the occasional rise. Furthermore, skimming or swinging a caddis pattern along slack water is another tactic to entice a hungry brown.
The Animas River conditions in Durango, Colorado, have finally cleared up and fly fishing is quickly picking up on most of our private properties. We are seeing massive hatches of caddis in the early mornings and evenings, while Blue Wing Olives are hatching throughout the daytime. Our anglers have had great luck fishing the lower sections south of town on stonefly patterns with black emergers trailing while nymphing. In pockets and back eddies trout are stacking up, look for eddies to throw small dries and strip a streamer thru if you are wanting to piss off an old brown or rainbow holding onto valuable real estate behind rocks or side channels.
The Upper Dolores is continuing to fish great while flows remain consistent and clear. However, don’t expect this to continue long as temperatures will quickly reduce flows and fish will be pushed into pools of sustainable water. Dry dropper patterns are working well especially Copper John or Pheasant Tail patterns. Mayfly hatches are taking off late in the afternoon so don’t hesitate to be patient and remain on the water a few extra hours for that magical dry fly fishing window. Quick strikes and large fish are aplenty above the West Fork of the Dolores on the main stretch.
In the areas around Pagosa Springs public access water have seen heavy pressures. Once-popular areas like Williams Creeks are experiencing heavy traffic both on the trails and water. We suggest anglers look for other options to reduce traffic and pressures. The free-flowing sections of the upper San Juan south of Pagosa Springs is a good opportunity for anglers to escape the crowds and fish private waters with good stretches of brown trout feeding on dries and streamers. Expedition Outside has experience in these areas and offers sections to fish private lands.
If you have questions about the Durango Fly Fishing Report, or any other areas in Southwest Colorado, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We always love hearing from fly fishermen and women around the country who are interested in hitting the river in our little corner of the state. With the arrival of summer, fishing season is in full swing!