Fly Fishing New Mexico: San Juan River

Rainbow Trout Tail
Rainbow Tail

My wife and daughter were out of town visiting a friend and I had an epic backpacking trip planned for the White Mountains, but wouldn’t you know it, we received some serious rain and all the creeks were running brown. Not being one to miss an opportunity to fish, I headed to the New Mexico with a couple of buddies to see how the San Juan River was fishing. We had a fantastic couple days on the water catching heavy rainbows, swatting mosquitos, and hanging with some pretty awesome guys.

A couple of things to note from the trip if you’re interested in heading that way soon.

1. Fish came on all the usual stuff: small midges, red annelids, San Juan worms, and tiny dries.

2. Sportsman’s Bar and Grill has opened back up under new ownership and their green chili burger was pretty top notch.

3. Bug Spray.

4. We always stop in a Float ‘N Fish when we are out at the San Juan, and this time we scored some great tying material from the bargain bin. If you are needing anything when you’re at the Juan, stop here.

5. Honorable mention: I’d never had breakfast at Abe’s, but their omelet with everything in it is legit.

San Juan River
San Juan River Braids
San Juan Rainbow
KC Badger and a nice San Juan Rainbow
San Juan Rainbow
San Juan River Rainbow
San Juan River Rainbow
DJ releasing a healthy rainbow (photo credit: Jason Jones)
Streamer fishing
KC tying on some meat
Navajo Dam
Navajo Dam
The San Juan River
The San Juan at Sunset
San Juan River
DJ working some rising rainbows
Desert Rain
Desert Rain (photo credit: DJ Zor)

11 Responses to “Fly Fishing New Mexico: San Juan River”

  1. DJ

    You hit all the high points. Good company. Rising fish. Green chile. Some laughs. Lastly, a score on some nice hackle. Let’s do it again, but 40 miles northwest.

  2. Jeff

    Headed there in just over 2 weeks, my first time. Great report and photos, thank you!

  3. mr blur

    1) good news about the sportsman, but I’ll believe it when I taste it.
    2) float and fish is the best flyshop around (well, duranglers ain’t bad). I always find tying materials there that seem to be impossible to find elsewhere in person (like 14/0 thread)
    3) I need hot head strike indicators. lost my loop tippet dispenser which contained all my hot heads…
    4) LOVE the juan in autumn.

    • azwanderings

      1. You’ll believe it.
      2. agreed.
      3. haven’t tried them, but an endorsement from you says I should check them out.
      4. the mosquitoes were hellacious

  4. mr blur

    yeah the skeeters have been a pita for the past 5/6 years. before that I don’t remember them being an issue. they’re not as bad if yer floating.

  5. Jack Campbell

    It’s been some time Ben. I hope you are well and enjoying the fly fishing the southwest had to offer. It was a very busy year for me guiding up here in Colorado. Only had 6 days off May thru August 2014. We had phenomenal fishing this yeAr and I hope you can make it up my way sometime. Take care my friend! Jack

    • azwanderings

      Nice to hear from you Jack and it sounds like you’ve had a great summer. I hope to make it up that way in the future. Thanks for the comment.



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