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Wild Brown Trout in Colorado
One of the last free-flowing rivers in the state of Colorado, the Animas River is a unique and rare treasure. With the newest and one of the best Gold Medal Water fly-fishing sections in Colorado, the Animas is a river that should be on your list of places to fish.
When Juan Rivera passed through this corner of Colorado in 1765, he named the river El Rio de las Animas Perdidas en Purgatorio, “The River of the Lost Souls in Hell.” To Rivera and his Spanish compatriots, the valley was remote, bleak, and had little to offer them in the way of riches.
The Animas River is the major stream draining the high alpine terrain of the Needle Mountains. It heads in small meadows on the flanks of Cinnamon Mountain north of Silverton, then plunges through wild canyons as it carves a route between the Needle and West Needle Mountains. By the time it reaches Durango, the Animas has grown to a large river. Out of the mountains the Animas meanders through a shallow depression across broad plains. South of the New Mexico border at Farmington the Animas joins the San Juan River.
Fortunately, public access to the Animas River within the city of Durango is plentiful with almost 7 miles of river from 32nd Street Bridge to the Rivera Bridge south of town. Two parcels of private land are found in this stretch, but they are well marked. Foot and bike trails parallel the river through much of town, providing abundant easy access.
The Animas is big water. In Durango the river is almost 100 feet wide, filled with huge rocks and deep holes. The river offers extensive riffles, freestone conditions, and stretches of pocket water. The bottom consists of gravel and cobbles. The rocks are as slick as those in any river in the West, and anglers must always be very cautious when wading. Wet wading is popular in summer, but waders are called for in the early season and in the fall.
A year or so back, the EPA spilled about 3 million gallons of toxic chemicals into the river. These chemicals included heavy metals like lead, arsenic, zink and iron. For a week the river turned bright orange and many thought the river was done for. However after cleanup, and time, the river has seemed to turn back to what it originally was. Fish show no signs of poisoning, and supposedly the river water is safe to drink.
This trip started (and almost ended) very frustrating. I didnt see a single fish all day, and didn't even get one bite on the line. At the end of the day when I was further down stream, I fell in the water which pretty much made me quit fishing. As I walked back to the car, I decided to try one last spot. The spot where I hooked a big trout my last trip. I ended up hooking a very good sized brown trout, one of the largest Ive ever caught. It had to have been 24-25" at least. It was a beautiful fish, with hooked jaws.
The rod I hooked that fish on was a 9' 6wt Sage Method, with a 3250 sage reel. I had a 7wt outbound short line with an intermediate sink tip, and I was fishing a size 10 cone head slump buster streamer in olive.
clapandyell, theduel, goinghigher, tomorrow, sexy
More music: Sneaky snitch kevin macleod (incompetech.com)
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Some of the above info about the animas was gotten from the Duranglers website. You can see more info about the Animas River and other local rivers on their website www.duranglers.com.