The Fabulous San Juan River - World Class Trout Fishing
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San Juan River below Navajo Dam, NM  
Elevation:  5,720 ft      Latitude:  N 36° 48' 28""       Longitude:  W 107° 36' 31""      Drainage Area:  3,230 Square Miles
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 - 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.  The statewide regulations in this section of the river do not require single barbless hooks and allow a daily bag limit of 5 trout.  Public access is provided in this area.  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 insect populations in the San Juan tailwater fishery change as you go downstream.  Water temperatures are fairly cold and consistent in the upper part of the STW supporting large and consistent midge hatches year round.  Other insects including mayflies are present in this section also but in smaller quantities.  As the river moves downstream its temperature increases slightly supporting greater quantities of mayflies, caddis, scuds, stoneflies and annelids. 

Current San Juan River Flow - USGS Data

Monthly Temperatures

Monthly Precipitation

Annual Flow 2009

Annual Flow 2008



STW (Special Trout Water)  
The STW forms the first 3.5 miles of the river below Navajo Dam.  The state has applied special regulations to this section of the river to preserve its characteristic as a world class fishery.   For all parts of the STW single barbless hooks are required and only artificial flies or lures are allowed.  Anglers may fish up to 2 flies per line.  The entire STW is Catch Release Only. 

The STW ends 3.5 miles downstream of the dam east of Crusher Hole, just upstream of Cottonwood Campground. 

Below the STW regular NM trout regulations apply.
   
San Juan River Flow  
   
Current San Juan River Flow - USGS Data  
Navajo Lake - Water In vs. Water Out



 
 
   
    
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