San Juan Worm

san juan worm fly


  • HOOK: TMC 2457, sizes 6-10
  • THREAD: Red. Or to help the fly sink faster, use red copper wire instead of thread.
  • BODY: Red Ultra Chenille. Use a lighter to singe each end.


Some people consider this a controversial fly, mostly because it has the word “worm” in its name. The nymph pattern was first developed on the San Juan River below Navajo Dam in NW New Mexico to imitate the river’s large population of aquatic worms.

They are generally one inch to two inches long and live in the riverbed itself. They turn up in great numbers if you seine the bottom by turning over rocks or stirring up the muck with your wader boot.

They look very much like earthworms or miniature night crawlers (some even having the distinctive collar). They come in a variety of mostly neutral colors.

The trout feed on them extensively and find flamboyant colors an added attraction. The trout definitely take the SJW fly pattern to be exactly what it is designed to represent, the worms of the San Juan.

You can weight the fly by wrapping it with wire before tying on the chenille.

How to Fish

Dead drift near the bottom with the indicator or tight line presentations.

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