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Best Fly Fishing Spots Near Durango

Your in-depth guide to the fly fishing destinations in the San Juan Mountains.

Best Fly Fishing Spots Near Durango

As told in part by Tom Knopick, Kami Swingle, and Andy McKinley

Fly fishers have a lot to appreciate in Durango, Colorado. From local flagship rivers to mountain creeks and out-of-the-way fishing holes, notable locals told us about all the best fly fishing spots in Durango and the surrounding areas.

Ute Access Point South of Durango

Recommended by: Kami Swingle

Kami Swingle of Braided, a local fly fishing women’s initiative, says that Durango fly fishing is something special. She suggests the Ute Access Point for great fishing. “What makes the fishing here special is that it's just right in town,” she explains. “I just like the accessibility and the proximity, where you're not having to drive an hour just to get to the stream. If you just want to fish for a couple hours, you can really just walk to the River from town and then go grab a burger after or beer with your friends.”

Animas River

Recommended by: Andy McKinley, Tom Knopick, Kami Swingle

Duranglers co-owner Tom Knopick suggests the Animas River for convenient, accessible fishing: “For my perfect day, I'd probably go fishing. I’d start by fishing the Animas River that runs right through Durango.”

Upper Animas

Recommended by: Andy McKinley

Knopick’s business partner, Andy McKinley, recommends heading up the city’s main river for a great catch. “The Upper Animas is one of the best spots in and around Durango for fly fishing. The Animas in town is also really good. I’ll get up at the crack of dawn and go down there.”

San Juan Mountains

Recommended by: Tom Knopick

If you’re willing to go a little further out for great fishing, Knopick swears by the nearby San Juan Mountains for wild trout: “I love to drive north into the San Juan Mountains and find a little stream where I can crawl into a little canyon and cast dry flies to wild trout.”

Dolores River

Recommended by: Tom Knopick

West of the San Juans, there’s the scenic Dolores River that runs through the Colorado and Utah deserts: “For great fly fishing, you always have the Dolores River.”

Pine River (Los Pinos)

Recommended by: Tom Knopick

Divided by the Vallecito Reservoir in the Weminuche Wilderness, the Los Pinos River is also known as the Pine River by locals: “Los Pinos is a great spot for an afternoon of fly fishing.”

Piedra River

Recommended by: Tom Knopick, Andy McKinley

McKinley has some insider tips on the best spots along the Piedra River for fishing, sharing, “The Piedra in between the first and second box canyons are really good for fly fishing.”

Florida River

Recommended by: Tom Knopick

Packed with hidden-gem fishing holes, the Florida River is one of the most scenic and well-preserved rivers in the area, says Knopick: “The Florida River has gorgeous views and is one of the most popular rivers around for fly fishing.”

San Juan River

Recommended by: Tom Knopick

Knopick recommends the San Juan River, a tributary of the Colorado River, for fishing and exploration. “There are more mountain streams associated with the San Juan River than you could fish in a lifetime.”

San Juan River below Navajo Dam

Recommended by: Tom Knopick

One area of the San Juan River is worth a bit of a drive, says Knopick: “We have one of the most famous trout waters in the country about an hour drive south of Durango just across the border of New Mexico: The San Juan River near the Navajo Dam.”

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