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The San Juan River is a tributary of the Colorado River, 400 mi (644 km) long, in the western United States. It has a flow of 3770 cfs.
The river rises in southern Colorado, along the southern slope the San Juan Mountains to the west of the continental divide in southwestern Colorado, continuing into the state of New Mexico, then briefly across the southwestern corner of Colorado into Utah, where it flows into the Colorado River. Tributaries in Colorado which also rise in the San Juans include the Animas, La Plata, Los Pinos, Navajo and Piedra Rivers and also the Chinle Creek. The river meanders through goosenecks, sometimes meandering as much as 5 miles within a one mile straight distance, such as in Goosenecks State Park. The river joins the Colorado at Lake Powell after flowing through New Mexico and Utah, where it is known as the 'San Juan' arm of the lake.
In general, the San Juan river provides good fishing in its warm, slow, muddy waters. One section deserves special mention for its fly fishing allure: the 4.25 miles just below Navajo Dam in northwest New Mexico, near the small town of Aztec. This stretch, known to fly fishermen simply as "the Juan", is among the most hallowed trout fishing waters in North America! The water released from the bottom of the dam is clear and cold, rich in nutrients, and flows are relatively stable — although this last point is regularly controversial. The rich waters spawn abundant flora, which in turn creates a fine environment for insect proliferation, which in turn supports one of the most prolific trout populations in any large river, both in terms of quantity and average fish size.
At one point, this short stretch of river was estimated to hold some 80,000 trout averaging 17" in length.
The San Juan River below Navajo Dam is one of the country's premier trout fishing waters. A three and one-half mile section of the river has been designated "quality waters" with special angling regulations in effect.
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