The Animas river’s gold medal waters
Once you arrive in Durango, you’ll be greeted by the Animas River’s Gold Medal Waters, one of the last remaining true freestone rivers in Colorado. The local river runs right through the heart of town and is well-known for fishing, rafting, and tubing.
The animas offers Easy access from downtown durango and high mountain adventure fishing
If you are looking for small creek fishing in a high mountain setting, you’ll want to hike to one of the upper stretches above the small town of Hermosa just north of Durango. However, don’t expect easy access; most of these hikes trek down into the Durango River Gorge and are miles long, so pack a lunch and bring good shoes or take the D&S train. Between Hermosa and Silverton North of Hermosa, the river becomes more rugged, and in many places, inaccessible.
The most common way to fish the Animas is the seven-mile stretch through town. The public area is easy to access and fishes well, as CPW regularly stocks the river from our local hatchery, but it gets heavily fished in the spring and summer. You’ll also be competing with an assortment of rafters, tubers, kayakers, and the like. River color fluctuates in the spring. When the waters rise on a warm day, you’ll see dirty flows that usually take a few days to clear up.
South of Durango, river access becomes inaccessible without private land permission or a Southern Ute Tribal Fishing Permit.
Expedition Outside has private access to several high quality fishing spots on this stretch.
The animas River Flies and fish
In the spring, the Animas has a number of good bug hatches, but midges and blue winged olives are the most consistent. Caddis are also a reliable bug; on a few limited days, larger drakes will also appear in the late, cooler evenings.
Brown trout and rainbow trout are the big draw on the Animas. Historically, the brown trout are pretty big—it’s not uncommon to catch fish around 20 inches through town and some even bigger monsters can be hiding in the private sections.
Other fly fishing fishing spots nearby
Whether you are looking to fly fish the San Juan’s high mountain creeks, the Piedra’s canyon gorge, or the Animas River’s Gold Medal Waters, this area’s got something for every angler.
With some help from our friends at Duranglers Flies and Supplies we put together a list of some of our favorite rivers and fishing spots for you to discover.
Each week on thursday mornings we will be updating our blog with a new location and some advice to help you make the most out of your weekend fly fishing trip.
That said, spring conditions can be volatile. Before you head out, you’ll have to be very pragmatic when choosing which river you intend to fish, be well aware of its specific turbidity, and understand the runoff of the winter snow melt. To have a safest, most enjoyable experience, we always recommend going out with experienced local guides.