The middle section of the Animas river begins when the canyon above Hermosa ends all the way down below the town of Durango.  This section has the most accessible stretches of water and holds some of the biggest fish.  There are many hatches during the year on this section of river so pay attention to your bugs and match the hatch if you wish to throw dries for rainbows.  The bigger browns are mainly sculpin eaters and your best chance at success is throwing some meaty streamers that push some water and get down deep.  There are some really nice fish in this section but it’s the most pressured and these fish can take work to catch.  When in doubt or there is no hatch, a stonefly nymph or pheasant tail can do great work through the runs riffles and holes.

Fishing Tips

  • Bring Your “A” Game – I often find that when I get to a new river that’s far away, I get over-confident since I’m used to finding success on more pressured, difficult waters close to Denver. The fish don’t always adhere to that principle and the Animas can be a challenging river. Simply knowing that you’ll need to bring your best skills with you on the river will help keep you focused and treating this river with the respect it deserves. With some patience and persistance, you’ll find this a very rewarding river.
  • Struggling Streamers Catch Big Fish – Big brown trout aren’t going to chase fish out of the water for a meal. They are looking for the weak, easy meals that keep them big and fat without much effort. Standing further out in the river above a hole and letting your streamer dead drift down the run with the occasional twitch is an excellent way to entice the browns to come up and slurp down your streamer. Careful of the slick rocks, but standing directly above where you are bringing your streamer in lets you keep it in the water longer and deeper improving chances of a fish eating your streamer.