Copyright 2019 James Marsh
Fly Fishing On The Animas River In
The Animas River flows through steep canyons,
beautiful mountains, the town of Durango and down
into the state of New Mexico. It starts out small in its
headwaters and ends up large before it flows into the
San Juan River. It is the states newest Gold Metal water
as of the date this was written. Twice ruined by runoff
from mines, the Animas River is again a fine fishery.
The Animas starts near the historic mining town of
Silverton in the mountains north of Durango. There are
several small tributaries in the headwaters. The stream
can only be accessed above Hermosa via train. The
river flows through a very steep canyon. Some anglers
take the train from Durango to fish the section above
Hermosa. I am not suggesting this, but it is a method to
fish the canyon.
The river is basically pocket water with long runs and
riffles and some pools. In the lower section, large
boulders and log jams provide cover for some huge
brown trout. Below Durango the Animas River has
some fairly deep water that doesn't permit wading in
The best water is just south of Durango. There's also
some fairly good fishing in the town of Durango. About
two and a half miles of the river in Durango is public
About seven miles south of Durango the river flows
through the Ute Indian Reservation. Permits are
required to fish that section. Fly fishing the Animas
River is best in the reservation area.
The Animas River is quite wide in some areas. It's
mostly pocket water full of large rocks. There are some
deep pockets and pools. Some areas have long
stretches of riffles mixed in the pocket water. Cobble
stones from about fist size down along with gravel
cover most of the stream's bottom. The river has a
fairly high pH and the bottom is relatively slick, so you
do have to exercise caution when wading.
The trout consist of rainbows and browns. The average
size of the trout is probably about twelve inches but
there are much larger ones in the river. Brown trout
can grow especially large and fish over 20 inches are
not rare. The larger size browns feed mostly in low light
conditions and are not easy to catch but the
opportunity exist for those willing to put forth the effort.
A very large amount of public access makes the
Animas different from most Colorado trout streams.
Miles of public access is one of the best features of this
stream. You can choose from fishing the rugged
canyon sections to fishing in town the fast and easy
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Photo Courtesy Steven Lamb
Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 to 12 ft., 5 or 6X Nymphing:
71/2 ft., 3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
Animas River Fly Fishing Guide:
The fast pocket water is fairly easy to fish
but the smoother sections that hold the
nice browns is far more difficult. The
smoother flows allow the trout a much
better opportunity to closely examine your
fly. They also can create some difficult to
manage conflicting currents, making it
difficult to get a drag-free drift.
The fast, pocket water sections should
always be fished in an upstream
directions. Short cast that allow you to
keep most of the fly line off of the water
work much better than long cast.
High sticking the runs and riffles is a very
effective method to fish nymphs. This is
mostly done in the headwaters but will
work anywhere there's a deeper run.
Although the Animas can have some very
good dry fly fishing, most of the time you
will find that nymphs outperform dry flies.
Although they are more fun to fish, you
will usually do better limiting your dry fly
fishing to those times you actually
observe trout feeding on the surface. In
other words, you will usually end up
catching more trout if you stick to nymph
fishing most of the time.
Except for the Spring runoff, fly fishing the
Animas River is mostly good all year. The
water become questionable during August
in the town of Dunango - yes, the Gold
Metal Water. The stream can become warm
March into April before the Spring runoff is
a good time to fish the river. Runoff is from
late April or early May until sometime in
Animas River Hatches and Trout
Our information on aquatic insects is
based on our stream samples of larvae
and nymphs, not guess work. We base fly
suggestions on imitating the most plentiful
and most available insects and other
foods at the particular time you are
fishing. Unlike the generic fly shop trout
flies, we have specific imitations of all the
insects in the Animas River and in all
stages of life that are applicable to
fishing. If you want to fish better, more
realistic trout flies, have a much higher
degree of success, give us a call. We not
only will help you with selections, you will
learn why, after trying Perfect Flies, 92%
of the thousands of our customers will
use nothing else. 1-800-594-4726.
The aquatic insect populations varies
depending on the section of the river you
are fishing but those listed below are
plentiful throughout most of the stream
from its headwaters to its lower section.
Prior to the runoff, the main hatches
consist of Western March Browns and
Blue-winged Olives. The March Browns
can get caught up in the high runoff water
depending on the exact time. The BWOs
can start as early as late February and
early March but April usually is the most
consistent time for the hatches to begin.
About six different species, mostly Baetis,
species make up what is called BWOs.
There's also a Fall hatch of the
Blue-winged Olives. It usually takes place
from late September through the month of
Midges are very plentiful in the Animas.
Imitations will work well anytime and
become more important when the water is
too cold for most other insects.
There's also a population of small black
winter stoneflies that hatch in the early
season, even when there's snow on the
ground. These are mostly found in the
fast pocket water.
You will find some hatches of Golden
Stoneflies become to come off in late
June to early July. Sometimes the runoff
effects the fishing conditions during the
hatch and on other years it misses it. It all
depends on the snowpack. These are
found only in the fast pocket water
sections. The hatches can last into the
first of August.
LIttle Yellow Stoneflies are plentiful in
some areas in late July and early August.
Look for these stoneflies in the fast water
sections of the Animas.
In June you will find hatches of the large
Salmonflies in some parts of the Animas.
Like the other stoneflies, these will mostly
exist in the fast water sections. This hatch
last about three weeks but usually not
over a week at any one point.
The first caddisflies to hatch are the Little
Black Caddis, called the Mothers Day
hatch in most places in the West. This
hatch starts in late April and last about a
month. In is a sparse hatch but can be
In late June and early July, there's three
or four different species of caddisflies
called Spotted Sedges that begin to
hatch. These are the most plentiful of the
caddisflies and the different species
hatch throughout most of the Summer.
The next most important caddisfly hatch
are the Green Sedges. They hatch from
May through September, depending on
the species. Imitations of the Green Rock
Worms, or their larvae, work year-round.
In late June, usually before the runoff
ends, Pale Morning Duns will start
hatching. The PMD hatch will last most of
the summer and other than BWOs is the
most consistent mayfly hatch. In some
areas of the fast water you will find a few
Pink Ladies that hatch in late August and
Late Summer, August and September,
terrestrials can play an important role in
the trout's diet. Imitations of
grasshoppers, ants and beetles will
become important flies.
Sculpin are very plentiful throughout the
Animas River. There are some other
types of baitfish and minnows but sculpin
are by far the most important in the food
supply for the trout. Streamers that imitate
sculpin, such as our Perfect Fly Brown
Sculpin, will take trout year-round. It is
best to fish streamers in low light
situations such as early and late in the
day and during heavy overcast situations.
The are especially good for taking larger,
pre-spawn brown trout.
Most of the dry fly fishing opportunities
come from the BWOs and PMDs. These
two groups of little mayflies, along with
several different species of caddisflies,
provide most of the dry fly action. Late
afternoon caddisfly egg laying activity
provides some great dry fly fishing
during much of the warmer weather
Don't overlook streamers. They will
consistently catch larger trout. Brown
trout that stay wedged up under the
rocks and banks most of the time, will
take sculpin streamer patterns when
they are out roaming around looking for
Downstream of the Rivera Bridge, the
Animas flows through mostly private land
and the Southern Ute Indian
Reservation. You can obtain a Southern
Ute Tribal fishing permit for this area.
There are plenty of access points along
La Posta Road.
In addition to the Animas River, there
are many alpine meadow streams in the
area near Durango. They can provide a
wonderful fly fishing experience.
Summer is a very good time to fish but the
water can get quite warm during the hottest
part of the summer.
In the early fall the river is low and can be
Late winter the river is normally low enough
to wade and fishing can be good.
We have Perfect Fly
website pages on
each of these other
fine trout streams.
Click the links for fly
species of fish, a fly
fishing guide, a fly
fishing report, hatches
trout flies, fly fishing
gear and equipment,
USGS stream data,
local weather and
much, much more
Headlines: Stream levels are
normal and wading safe and easy
most anyplace. There is some
rain in the forecast and it is likely
to get higher. There are still some
good hatches and trout are being
caught in decent numbers by our
customers. Keep up with the latest
on the weekly updated fishing
report linked above.
10/16/15 The streams are a little low right now, but most likely that will change soon. There is
rain in the forecast every day for the coming week. October Caddis are at the peak of their hatch
and trout are taking the Perfect Fly pupa and adult imitations of them. Good conditions should
continue through the next week. I'm sure you have heard about the tragic discharge of mine
waste by the EPA, the government agency that should protect the environment, not attempt to
10/23/15 The Animas is running high for wading right now but should drop back down fast.
There isn't any rain forecast until the first of next week. October Caddis are still hatching good.
The egg layers are bringing trout to the surface to feed in the afternoons. Blue-winged Olives
have begin to hatch again and in two sizes, 16's and 20's.
10/30/15 Keep in mind the brown trout are in the pre-spawn stage, aggressive and territorial.
Our Brown Sculpin streamer fly will food them. Stream levels are still a little high but falling and
should be easy to wade very soon. October Caddis are still hatching in the lower section of the
river. Blue-winged olives have begin to hatch good. The weather will be clear for the next five
11/06/15 The weather is still relatively nice and warm for this time of the year. Our customers
caught some nice brown trout over the past two weeks on the Brown and White Belly sculpin
streamers. That should still work great. Hatches are just about reduced to midges and blue-
winged olives. I would still with nymphs and larve/pupa until I spotted a hatch and then change to
the dry imitation.
11/13/15 The lower section of the river produced some nice trout this past week according to a
customer. He was using the Brown Sculpin streamer. Blue-winged olives and midges are
hatching but mostly on cloudy, overcast days. The stream levels are good and likely will remain
that way for the next week.
11/20/15 The Animas is in good shape, just a little colder than last week. You shouldn't have
much company fishing because 99 percent of those coming to the area are skiers. Most of the
so-called fishing guides become ski instructors. Fish the lower ends of the river for the warmest
water using the Perfect Fly midge pupa and larva and you will catch some trout.
11/27/15 There is light snow in the area that should be around through Sunday, then clearing.
The air temperature are mild for this time of the year. We do recommend fishing the lower end of
the river. You will find the water temperature a little warmer. Few hatches will occur and consist
mostly of midges. The Brown Sculpin streamer has been the hot fly thanks to the hungry post-
spawn brown trout.
12/11/15 The stream levels remain in good shape on the Animas. Melting snow sometimes stains
the water slightly but for the most part, conditions are good. Notice we added Winger Stoneflies
to the fly list. They are hatching in the fast water sections of the river. The Brown Sculpin
streamer has been producing well for our customers. Midges are still the most important insects
12/21/15 There is a winter storm warning for tomorrow and snow fall should be heavy. There is
ice in the water in the middle and higher sections of the river. Fish the lowest section if you want
to fish. Midges should be your best option. Stay out of the current and fish still to slow moving
water where trout hold. The conditions are not good but you may catch some trout.
12/31/15 There is a lot of ice in the middle and upper sections of the river. The only possibility
worth pursuing is the lowest section of the river. It has ice around the banks. Midges and winter
stonefly nymphs are the flies you need to use. The weather is going to be a little warmer this
01/08/16 There is a winter storm warning for the area today but the weather is going to clear out
for the next six days. You may have problems getting to the water because the snow is deep
along most of the banks of the river. The middle and upper sections have lots of ice along the
banks and wherever the water is slow to still.
01/22/16 There is a lot of ice in the water in the middle and upper sections of the river. Fish the
lowest section below Durango. It is averaging in the mid thirties and trout can be caught on
cream and red (blood) midges. Fish the larva and pupa imitations in tandem. The white belly
sculpin streamers is also a good fly to use.
01/29/16 The past week was warmer than it has been in a while and the water temperature in the
lowest section was up to 38 degrees. That is cold, but still possible to catch trout and one of our
regular customers did catch a few. It was slow but worth the trip. There is a lot of snow forecast
for the next week.
02/05/16 Winter stoneflies and midges are hatching. It could warm up enough later this week
that some little BWOs hatch but that happens mostly on cloudy days and the skies will be clear
most of this coming week. Fish the lowest section of the river. The middle and upper part has a
lot of slush ice and is too cold.
02/12/16 The warm weather is welcome and will make it a lot more comfortable on the anglers
fishing. Fish the lowest section of the river. The warm weather will create a mini runoff of melting
snow and slightly raise and stain the water. Streamers like the white belly Sculpin will be a good
choice when that takes place.
02/19/16 Unseasonably warm weather continues and snow is melting like a mini runoff. The
stream levels are higher than normal making wading tought to impossible. The water is stained
to muddy and streamers is your best option. The melting snow is holding the water temperature
down. Midges are the only things hatching at this time.
02/26/16 Stream levels are up above normal from melting snow and ice. It is keep the water
stained, higher than normal and cold, just above the freezing point. The warmest water is in the
lowest section of the river. Streamers are the best fly option at this time.
03/04/16 It is very unseasonably warm and that is melting snow and ice in the watershed. This is
helping to keep the stream levels high and the water colder than it would be otherwise. We are
recommending streamers like or Brown Sculpin and White Belly sculpin. Midges and Winter
stoneflies will also work.
03/11/16 Great weather and good stream conditions continue to exist on the Animas. Fish the
lowest section of the river. Midges, both creams and reds, are hatching along with some little size
18/20 Blue-winged olives. Fish our White Belly sculpin streamer where the water is a little stained
from snow runoff.
03/18/16 The Animas is staying highly stained from melting snow runoff but it is mostly in the
upper part of the water column. The bottom of the stream, and especially holes in the bottom,
are much clearer. The red midge pupa and larva continues to produce well for our local
03/25/16 The river is flowing a little high right now, and would be too high to safely wade. Midges
and little Blue-winged olives are the only insects hatching. The water is still only around 40
degrees. The Brown sculpin streamer has taken some larger trout for one of our regular
04/01/16 The weather forecast for the next week is absolutely great. It isn't so good for the
skiers but it is for those who like to fish the Animas River. The water is clear and cold but can be
waded in most any section. Midges and Blue-winged olives are hatching good and you should be
able to catch some trout.
04/08/15 The stream levels are too high to wade and rising. There is a lot of rain in the forecast
for the next week. That and the warmer weather will keep the levels coming up. You can fish from
the banks. Little Black Caddis and March Browns have begin to hatch and the BWOs and
midges are continuing to hatch every day.
04/15/16 The Animas is high and badly stained. The situation is only going to get worse, with
rain and snow for the next three days. We think it may be shaping up by the end of the next
week. You can fish from the banks and may catch some trout using flies like our White Belly
04/22/16 The river is in much better shape with flows near normal but the water is still a little
chilly for great hatches to be taking place. We do expect March Browns and Little Black caddis to
start showing back up. The warmer weather is melting snow and keep the water cooler than we
would for it to be.
04/29/16 The catch 22 is when it get warmer, it melts snow and ice and keeps the water cool
and when cold, it keeps the hatches from occurring. The Little Black caddis, March Browns and
little BWOs are hatching in the lower river but for the most part, are sparse and inconsistent.
05/06/16 The river is very high and stained badly, or to put it simple, blown out. This is unlikely
to change for the next few days. There is more rain coming through Monday, then clearing. You
can fish streamers and maybe fish the few hatches taking place from the bank in some places.
05/13/16 The river is still high and badly stained and will likely remain that way for the next week.
It is from both runoff and rain. There is rain forecast everyday for the coming week. You will just
have to watch the stream levels to know when it is feasible to fish it again.
05/20/16 The river is high and muddy and in a range from top to bottom. It will be a few more
days before the runoff is over and much of any fly fishing opportunity exist on the Animas River.
You can shoot us an email and let us help you plan that next fly fishing trip.
05/27/16 The Animas is in the full runoff stage of life right now and will continue to be high and
muddy for the next few days. You can get ready for some hot action as soon as the water levels
fall and clears. Shoot us an email, and let us help you with the planning. Keep checking back for
06/02/16 The river is raging high and muddy from heavy runoff. It is going to continue to b be
very warm and the runoff won't be letting up anytime soon. This leaves you with no fly fishing
opportunity. We will continue to give weekly reports. Hopefully, the early start will mean it ends
06/10/16 The runoff is still going full blast and this offers no opportunity for fly fishing. It is likely
to be this way for a few more days. You will just have to keep checking back. Hopefully, the early
start will mean an early end to it but it is entirely weather dependent. Fishing will be good when it
does return to a normal level.
06/24/16 The stream levels are down a lot from the past week, the weather hot and lots of
insects are hatching. It isn't low enough to safely wade in all places but getting there. The water
is also much clearer. Sculpin streamers produced some trout yesterday, for one customer. Lots
of stoneflies are hatching.
07/01/16 The river level is down and in good shape from the headwaters to the lower section.
Some sections are low enough to wade safely. Our customers are catching good numbers of
trout. There are a lot of insects hatching. Pale Morning duns are plentiful and so are two species
of caddis. Little Yellow stones and Golden stoneflies are hatching.
07/08/16 The river is in good shape, just a little high in some sections, but much of the river can
be safely waded. The insect hatches vary from the headwaters to the lower section of the river,
so don't expect everything listed in the report to be hatching in all sections of the river. Our
customers are catching most of their trout in the upper part of the river.
07/15/16 The river is in great shape in all sections and our customers are catching lots of trout.
There are many different hatches, but they vary greatly from section to section. Pale Morning
duns are the most plentiful mayflies. Little Yellow stoneflies are the most plentiful stoneflies and
there are three species of caddisflies hatching.
07/22/16 The Animas has good stream levels in all sections of the river from its headwaters to its
lowest end that holds trout. We received two good reports this past week. Pale Morning duns are
hatching good and Tricos have also started to hatch. Little Yellow stoneflies and two species of
caddisflies are hatching. Late afternoon is the best time to fish.
07/29/16 The stream levels are getting low and stealth is required. Stay hidden from the trout. It
is best to fish as high up as you can. The lower the elevation, the warmer the water. Fish early in
the morning and the last two or three hours of the day for the best results. There is rain in the
forecast everyday this coming week and hopefully, the levels will be back up.
08/04/16 The stream levels are currently in good shape flowing about a normal level. There are
flash flood warnings out and it is raining as I write this report. Hatches are still taking place with
lots of Pale Morning duns, Spotted Sedges, Green Sedges, some little Yellow stoneflies and
others. Terrestrials are also working.
08/12/16 We received two good reports from customers fishing the headwaters this past week.
All sections of the river are in good shape, with good stream levels and lots of hatches taking
place. The insects will vary from section to section depending on the elevation of the stream.
Terrestrials such as ants, Japanese beetles and grass hoppers are also working.
08/19/16 We continue to get good reports from anglers and customers fishing just about all
sections of the river. The levels are a little low in places but wading is easy and those that stay
hidden from the trouts are catching them. Terrestrials are beginning to work good. Caddisflies
are the most consistent hatches right now.
08/26/16 The river is in good shape in all sections. There is a lot of rain in the forecast, so watch
the levels for the next few days. The uppermost headwaters are producing some good numbers
of trout for our customers. All sections of the river have some hatches taking place but they vary
with the section and elevation.
09/09/16 The river is in great shape from its headwaters downstream to the lowest section fo the
river than holds trout. Our customers are reporting some good catches. The crowds are mostly
gone and you can have a lot of water to yourself. Terrestrials are working good but there are still
plenty of insects hatching, especially caddisflies.
09/16/16 The river in in as good of shape as it gets at this time of the season. Anglers are
scoring well in all sections from the headwater to the lower end of the river. The sections in town
are doing turning out some trout. The hatches vary depending on the section but there are still
some taking place. Mahogany duns have begin to hatch.
09/25/16 The river is flowing a little strong and high right now but should be falling back down
fast. There is no more rain in the forecast. It is not safe to wade some places, so use caution
and be safe. Streamers should do well right now, but the cooler weather has started several new
hatching including October Caddis. Now is a good time to be headed to the Animas.
09/30/16 The river is still rather high and offers little opportunity to wade. It is falling and there is
littel chance for much more rain the next few days. For now, streamers like our Brown and White
Belly sculpin are the best fly options. There are still plenty of Blue-winged olives, Mahogany
duns and October Caddis hatches taking place.
10/07/16 The stream level is still a little high but you can probably wade some sections if you are
careful. It is currently falling and should be back down in better shape soon. The hatches are
slowing down some but there are still plenty of October Caddis and BWOs. Brown sculpin
streamers are working good.
10/14/16 The stream levels are running at a normal level for this time of the year. Our customers
are catching some very nice fish including some large browns. The are in the pre-spawn stage
and very aggressive. The Brown sculpin streamer will catch them. In addition, there are some
excellent Blue-winged olive hatches taking place along with Mayogany duns.
10/28/16 The river is in good shape from the headwaters to the lowest section of the river that
holds trout. Our customers are catching some very good numbers of trout. The weather is
beautiful and clear and the water level normal and clear. There are Blue-winged olives and
Western Ginger Quills hatching.
11/04/16 The river is in good shape with good stream levels. Wading is easy in most sections.
There are some good Blue-winged olive hatches taking place along with a few Ginger Quills. The
weather is turning a little cooler this coming week. We have added midges to the fly list. Fish the
larva and pupa imitations in tandem, with the larva the bottom fly.
11/11/16 We received two good reports from anglers fishing this past week. Both reported not
seeing another angler. Conditions are as good as they could possibly be at this time of the
season. The water level is a little low and you do have to be careful not to spook the trout.
Midges, creams and reds, and Blue-winged olives are hatching good.
11/18/16 Cold nights are bringing the water temperature down fast but the levels are in good
shape flowing just below normal. Wading is safe most places. The hatches are mostly Blue-
winged olives and Midges. The Cream midges are plentiful most anywhere and the Red or Blood
midges where there is soft bottom. Streamers like our brown sculpin are still getting the large
11/25/16 The weather and water is cold. We recommend fishing from town downstream. The
upper river is colder and less productive. Midges, creams and reds (blood) midges are plentiful
and hatching. Blue-winged olives are hatching, especially during cloudy or overcast days. The
Brown sculpin streamer is still catching the larger trout.
12/02/16 The water is getting pretty cold, too cold for productive fishing in the middle and upper
sections. The lower river is still around forty degrees (water temperature) and that is where we
recommend you fish. The San Juan tailwater would be a better choice. Midges and little Blue
winged olive nymphs should work. Winter stoneflies are hatching.
12/09/16 The river is running at a good level but the water is cold. The weather is going to be a
little warmer this coming week, so you may want to give it a try. It beats sitting on the couch.
Midges and Winter stoneflies are hatching. Fish the midge larva and pupa in tandem with the
larva imitation the bottom fly. Fish the lower section of the river.
12/16/16 The river is in good shape from a stream level standpoint. Brown sculpin streamers got
one of our local customers a nice catch this past week. Fish them near the bottom in the deeper
runs and pools. Midges and Winter stoneflies are the only insects hatching. Creams and Reds,
or the Blood midges, represent the majority of them.
12/23/16 The stream is still about the same as last week. We didn't receive any reports from
anyone fishing. We recommend fishing the lower section. Most of the middle and upper parts of
the river are too cold, near the freezing mark with slush ice in the water. Midges, Creams and
Reds, are still the choice flies to use. Winter stoneflies and Brown sculpin streamers may work.
01/13/17 It is difficult to believe the weather forecast. It looks more like a late spring forecast.
Melting snow stains the water in some areas near the banks but that actually helps. Fish the
Black Matuka sculpin streamers close to the banks in those areas and you may be surprised.
Midges are still the most important insects to imitate, in spite of the Summer weather. Cream and
Red (blood) midges are hatching very good.
01/20/17 The weather is still warm enough to provide some good fly fishing opportunities. We
didn't receive any reports from anyone fishing this past week, but those that did, should have
done good. Blue-winged olives and Midges are hatching good. Our Black and Olive Matuka
sculpin streamers work good in stained water or when the skies are cloudy and overcast.
01/27/17 The river is in fairly good shape for the end of the month of January. The water is
about 35 to 36 degrees on the lower section of the river. There is a lot of ice in the water above
Durango. Fish midges, Creams and Reds, with the pupa and larva in tandem. This can be done
under a strike indicator. There are a few Winter stoneflies hatching as well. Fish the SF nymph
near the bank late in the day.
02/03/17 Anglers in Durango are going to think Spring has sprung. It is going to be much warmer
this coming week. This will get rid of a lot of the slush ice in the water and clear up the lower
section of the river. The water will be stained from melting snow. Fish the Black or Olive Matuka
Streamer in the stained water. Otherwise, midges, reds or creams, would be the choice flies.
02/10/17 he warm, unseasonably weather continues. Yes, it is still snowing but the temperature
is staying above freezing each day and lots of banks snow and ice is melting, staining the water
in most places. Fish the Black Matuka sculpin where it is stained but fish the slower water, not
fast water. Midges are the most important insects to imitate. Fish the larva and pupa rigged in
02/17/17 There is going to be another good warm week for fly fishing. The warm weather is
melting a lot of ice in the water and snow and ice on the banks. That is helping keep the water
temperature down and adding some stain to the water. Fish Sculpin streamers when it is snowing
or cloudy or in stained water. Otherwise, fish Cream or Red midges, with the larva and pupa
rigged in tandem.
02/24/17 The warm weather has been nice but it is back to the normal winter weather. The
stream levels are running a little high at this time but should be falling. The lowest section of the
river is where you should be fishing this coming week. Fish Cream or Red midges and when
cloudy or snowing, Sculpin streamers.
03/03/17 We didn't receive any reports from anyone fishing this past week. Conditions remain
fairly good. Fish the lower section of the river from town downstream. Midges, Creams and Reds,
are still the most important insects to imitate. Sculpin streamers have proven to work good in the
off colored water where it is stained from melting snow. Fish the midges with the larva and pupa
rigged in tandem.
03/10/17 The weather continues to be very warm and it is melting a lot of the snow and ice
keeping the stream levels high and the water stained. Fish Sculpin streamers like the Black or
Olive Matuka sculpin where it is stained. Fish Cream or Red midges otherwise. Rig the larva and
pupa imitations in tandem for the best results.
03/17/17 The river is blownb out due to runoff from melting snow and ice from the very warm
weather. This is likely to continue for the coming week. The water is highly stained and in some
cases muddy. When it drops and clears, use Skwala stonefly and Little Brown stonefly nymphs,
or Olive or Black Matuka Sculpin streamers.
03/24/17 The river is flowing high and dirty and wading is not safe in most any place. This is
likely to continue for a few more days. The weather isn't going to be quite a warm as it has been
but warm enough to continue to melt a lot of snow and ice. Skwala stoneflies and Little Brown
stoneflies are starting to hatch.
03/31/17 The stream levels are still running high, too high to wade safely. They are falling and
hopefully, will continue to fall back down to normal levels. The warm weather streak is over and
things should get back to normal. Sculpin streamers should work while the water is still a little
high and stained. Midges, Light Greens and Reds, are hatching.
04/07/17 The river is flowing high and stained, too high to wade safely. It is falling and clearing
and should be getting into good shape soon. The weather is going to be nice and clear for most
of the coming week. Two species of stoneflies are hatching in the lower river. Little Black caddis
are starting to hatch in the lower river.
04/14/17 The stream levels are very high (blown out) in all sections of the river. The water is
getting a little warmer but it is high and highly stained. It will take a few days for this to clear up.
All you can do is to keep checking back with us. We will keep you informed and hopefully, it won't
04/21/17 The river is blown, even higher than the past week. There isn't any section worth
fishing at this time. There is no rain or snow in the forecast for the next five days. All you can do
is to stay in touch. We will keep you informed as to the stream conditions. Hopefully, this won't
04/28/17 The Animas has gotten into good shape fast. Last week it was blown out and now, the
levels are back to near normal and allow some good wading opportunity. The weather has
turned a little colder for a couple of day and may slow down the hatches, mostly the Little Black
Caddis, but other than that, it is looking very good for the coming week.
05/05/17 The river is in very good shape and in about all sections. We recommend the section
below Durango. There are several insects hatching and a lot of the trout are being caught on
the surface. Sculpin streamers are also getting some of the larger trout. Fish them early and late
in the day. Fish the little Black Caddis pupa during the hatch.
05/12/17 The stream levels are up and the water stained. It is too high to fish in any section
anywhere than from the bank. We think this is the beginning of the real runoff. All you can do is
stay in touch. We will keep you informed as to the conditions. You can be planning that next trip.
We can help you do that. Shoot us an email. The address is on the opposite side of the page.
05/19/17 Although the stream levels are down some from the past week, the runoff is still
underway and the water too high to make it worthwhile to fish. The water is very stained to
muddy. The cold weather has slowed it down some but that only delays it getting finished up.
Stay in touch and we will keep you informed. Send us an email and we will help you plan the next
05/26/17 The river is in the runoff mode big time. The levels are too high to fish at any section.
All you can do is to stay in touch with us. We will keep you informed of the status of the runoff.
When it end, fishing will be good. Send up and email and let us help you plan that next trip.
06/02/17 The river is still in the runoff stage and it likely will be for the next two or three week or
more. There isn't any water that is worth the effort to fish under these conditions. All you can do
is plan that next trip to fly fish the Animas after the runoff ends.
06/09/17 The river is still in the runoff mode with very high stream levels and muddy to dingy
water. We hope it is nearing the peak of the runoff but we aren't sure that it is. There isn't any
rain for the next week, only clear warm weather and that hopefully, will speed things up a little. All
you can do is to stay in touch with us. You can send us an email and we will be glad to help plan
your next trip.
06/16/17 The river is still high from runoff but dropping. We think it has peaked and should be
falling back down to good fishing levels soon. Keep checking back with us and we will keep you
informed. There are a lot of insects starting to hatch, especially in the lower section of the river.
We hope the salmon and golden stoneflies don't stay caught up in the runoff.
6/23/17 The river is still very high and badly stained from runoff. Hopefully, it has peaked and
falling. It is a little lower than the past week. There are lots of insects hatching and you can fish
the river is some chance of success from the banks in many places. Keep in touch and we will
keep you informed as to the conditions.
06/30/17 The stream levels are down a lot from the past week and near the levels that can be
safely waded. It should be in excellent shape by this coming next weekend. It is still a little too
high to wad in most places but falling fast. There are lots of insects hatching. The flows are at
1450 cfs now, and ideal is 1000 or less.
07/07/17 The river is getting into good shape fast. Many sections can be waded safely with
caution now. There are multiple hatches going on but they vary with the section of water you
may be fishing. We have also added terrestrials to the fly list as they could become important
07/14/17 The stream is flowing at the same level is was last week. That is a little too high to wade
in some places and okay in others. We did receive two good reports from customers fishing this
past week. There is rain in the forecast everyday for this coming week, and that may keep the
levels up. The cloud cover will help the hatches.
07/20/17 The stream levels are down and in good shape in all sections of the river. There are
lots of hatches taking place and trout being caught. The hatches vary some with the section and
elevation. We had three good reports from customers this past week. There is a chance f rain
everyday and the cloud cover should help.
07/27/17 he river is running a little high again due to some rain but currently falling. This makes
wading some sections a little tough and unsafe but others can be waded with caution. The upper
sections are where we recommend at this time but hopefully, all of it will be down very soon.
There are lots of insects hatching but they vary some with the elevation and section. Terrestrials
are also beginning to work good.
08/04/17 The river is running a little above normal but safe to wade in most areas if you use
some caution. There are some hatches taking place and lots of trout being caught. We had
three good reports from customers this past week. There is some rain in the forecast for the next
few days. The could cover will help.
08/11/17 The river is in good shape in all sections, with stream levels just a little above normal.
You can fish any section and catch trout. There are plenty of insects hatching and some are
doing good using terrestrials. The little Yellow stoneflies, often called Yellow Sallies, are hatching
very good. Fish during the late afternoon egg laying.
08/18/17 Conditions are excellent. The river level is finally down to normal levels and wading is
safe and easy most anywhere. Our customers are sending in some good reports. There are
plenty of insects hatching and trout are being caught in all sections of the river from the
headwaters to the lower section.
08/25/17 Stream levels are down and in good shape making wading easy and safe most places.
The lowest section of the river is a little too warm but the rest of the stream is in good shape with
some good hatches still taking place. Don't forget about terrestrials - Carpenter ants and
Japanese Beetles are working good as well.
09/01/17 Conditions are good in all sections of the river. Our customers are catching good
numbers of trout. There are still some good hatches taking place. Carpenter ants, hoppers and
Japanese beetles are also working. The stream levels are a little low, so be careful not to spook
09/08/17 Stream levels are low and you have to use stealth. We received one good report this
past week. All sections are okay to fish, you just have to stay low as possible and dress to match
the background. There are still some good hatches taking place but they vary from the
headwaters to the lower section. Terrestrials are also catching some trout.
09/15/17 The river is still at the same level as last week. The water is going to get a little cooler
due to the cooler weather and that will help the middle and lower river sections. We are still
getting some good reports from customers. Trout are being caught in all sections of the river.
09/22/17 The river is in good shape in all sections. The upper sections has cooler water
temperatures and some October Caddis are starting to hatch. The lower sections still have a few
caddisflies hatching as well as some Blue-winged olives coming off. We think this coming week
should be another good one.
09/29/17 The river is in good shape in all sections from the headwaters to the lower part of the
river. We received two good reports this past week from customers. There are lots of Blue-
winged olives and Mahogany duns hatching as well as some October Caddis. The section just
below town in turning out the most fish but maybe because it is fished the most.
10/06/17 Excellent conditions exist. The weather and stream levels look great for the coming
week. We received one good report from a customer this past week. Few anglers are fishing the
river right when conditions are excellent. This should continue for this coming week. There are
some good hatches still taking place. Stream levels are near normal and wading easy and safe.
10/13/17 We are still getting some good reports from customers fishing the river. They are
catching some large trout using the Sculpin streamer patterns. This includes both the Brown and
Matuka sculpin patterns. Blue-winged olives are still hatching good. The stream levels are in
good shape and wading safe and easy most places.
10/20/17 The river is in good shape with good stream levels that are safe and easy to wade with
caution. There are some good Blue-winged olive and midge hatches taking place. Sculpin
streams like our Brown sculpin and Black or Olive Matuka sculpin streamers are catching some
of the bigger trout. Cream and Red midges are hatching.
10/27/17 The river is in good shape with levels just a little below normal and clear water. We
recommend fishing the middle and lower sections. The Sculpin streamers - Brown, White belly
and Matukas are catching the larger trout. There are several insects still hatching but the clear
skies makes them a little sparse.
11/04/17 Conditions are still good with decent stream levels that allow safe wading most places.
There are good hatches of Blue-winged olives and Cream and Red midges. There are still a few
October caddis hatching. We received one good report.
11/12/17 We received one good report from a customer this past week. This coming week
should be an excellent time to fly the the river. The weather will be nice and warm with little rain
or snow. The stream levels are in good shape and wading possible most places.
11/19/17 The river continues to be in good shape. We recommend fishing the lower or middle
section of the river. The upper sections are much colder. Midges,creams and reds, are hatching.
Blue-winged olives are hatching on warmer, cloudy days. We didn't receive any reports from
anyone fishing this past week.
12/09/17 We didn't receive any reports from anyone fishing this past week. Stream levels are
fine. The water is about 36 to 39 degrees and clear. Cream and Red midges are the only
hatches. Conditions were good. .
12/16/17 The stream levels are down to a little below normal levels and that means some goo
wading opportunities. Midges and Winter stoneflies are hatching good an d sculpin streamers
like our Brown sculpin will catch the larger trout.
12/31/17 Fish the lowest section of the river. Midges, creams and reds or blood midges and
Winter stoneflies are hatching. Fish the Winter stonefly nymphs near the banks. They crawl out
of the water to hatch.
01/08/18 The river is in good shape for the middle of the winter. Water temperatures are warm
enough to keep the fish a little active. Midges, creams and blood midges and winter stoneflies
are hatching. Sculpin streamers worked slowly near the bottom will also work.
01/15/18 Conditions remain about as good as they get for mid Winter. Fish Winter stoneflies,
with the nymphs fished near the banks and the adults when you see them on the water.
01/22/18 The water is a little colder but otherwise in good shape. Fish the lower section of the
river. Fish the slow current, or holes in the bottom where there is little current. Stream levels are
in good shape. Red and Cream midges are also hatching. Fish the larva and pupa rigged in
01/29/18 The weather for the coming week is as good as it gets in the month of January. The
water temperature should come up a few degrees and the trout be a little more active. Midges
and Winter stoneflies will still be the most important insects to imitate. Sculpin streamers should
catch the larger trout.
02/05/18 The weather is going to be very warm this coming week for the first of February. You
may find some little Blue-winged olives, hook size 18 to 20, hatching. Midges will be hatching for
sure. Winter stoneflies are still hatching. Brown sculpin streamers continue to catch the larger
02/12/19 The river is low but that's not a bad thing at this time of the year. Wading is safer and
nothing is worse than high cold water. Fish the slow currents. The trout won't hold in fast water
as cold as it is and it is about 35 degrees. Midges are still the most important insects. Winter
stoneflies are also hatching.
02/19/18 The river levels are up just a little but still lower than normal. Fish the lower section.
The middle and upper sections will be cold this week. Midges, creams, reds, and light greens are
hatching good. Winter stoneflies are still hatching
02/26/18 The river is still low, but in very good shape for mid Winter. Midges, creams, light
greens and blood midges or red ones, are hatching good. Little BWOs may hatch this week.
Winter stoneflies are still hatching. Sculpin streamers should still work.
03/05/18 The river is still running a little low, but that's not a bad thing for the cold water. This
week is going to be warmer with no rain or snow.
03/12/18 The weather is going to be nice and warm for the next few days. Blue-winged olives are
starting to hatch along with the midges. Skwala stoneflies are starting to hatch. Midges and
Winter stoneflies are still most important. Sculpin streamers will catch the larger trout.
03/19/18 The river is still in good shape with good stream levels and clear water. It is getting a
little warmer. Midges and Skwala stoneflies are still the most important insects to imitate. Sculpin
streamers are still catching the larger trout. Fish the lower and middle sections of the river.
03/24/18 The stream levels are still low, and you need to use stealth and stay hidden from the
trout. Otherwise, conditions are very good. Midges and Skwala stoneflies are hatching good.
Fish the middle and lower sections of the river where the water is slightly warmer.
04/02/18 The river is still in great condition for the first part of April. Stream levels are good and
the water clear. It is much warmer with hatches taking place. Blue-winged olives, Midges, Skwala
stoneflies and March Browns are hatching. This coming week should be a good one.
04/09/18 The river is getting into great shape. The weather and water is getting warmer fast and
hatches are going good. Little Black Caddis have begin to hatch in addition to the Skwala
stoneflies, Blue-winged olives and midges. Fish the lower and middle elevations. The uppermost
section is still a little too cold.
04/16/18 Stream levels are down some but still in good shape. The water is getting warmer and
the hatches are more consistent. This coming week should be a good one. Fish the middle and
lower sections of the river. The uppermost water is still a little too cold to produce good results.
04/23/18 The river is still low, but up a little from last week. The water is getting warmer and new
hatches should begin very soon. There is good dry fly fishing right now in the middle and lower
sections of the river. This coming week should be a great time to fish the river.
04/30/18 The river is still in good shape, with good levels that are just a little above normal.
There is some rain in the forecast and this is likely to increase some. There are good hatches of
Little Black Grannom caddis, March Browns and Blue-winged olives. There are still some Skwala
stoneflies in the higher elevations. The weather forecast looks good all week.
05/07/18 Conditions remain good. The stream levels are near normal for this time of the season.
They will be high at the end of this month and most of the month of June. It is a good time to get
in on some pre-runoff fishing. The Mother's day hatches or Little Black Grannom Caddis hatch,
is going good.
05/14/18 The river is running a little high, too high to wade safely in most places, but okay with
caution in some areas. The water is stained a little dingy. Streamers like our Sculpin series
should work good. There are lots of Blue-winged olives, March Browns and some LIttle Black
caddis still hatching in the higher elevations.
05/21/18 The river is back down to near normal levels and in good shape. There is no rain or
snow forecast for the next week. Right now, conditions are good. Runoff hasn't started. You
better get in on the pre-runoff conditions as soon as possible. Hatches are also going good.
05/28/18 The water is getting warmer and several new hatches are starting to take place. This
coming week should be a good one. The weather forecast looks good and the stream levels are
in good shape.
06/04/18 The river is in good shape in all respects, from the upper headwaters to the lower
section. There is a forest fire about ten miles north of Durango. There are multiple hatches
taking place. Due to the fire, we recommend the lower sections of the river
06/11/18 Stream levels are down and in good shape in all sections. All sections of the river are
turning out good catches of trout. We received some good reports from customers fishing this
past week. There are lots of hatches taking place..
06/18/18 The river is in good shape. There are multiple hatches taking place. Terrestrials are
also starting to work good. All sections of the river has turned out some good trout recently. The
lower section seems to be the best choice. Trout are being caught in town.
06/25/18 The river is running low in all section, but otherwise in good shape. We are
recommending the upper sections. You have to stay low and hidden as best you can to keep
from spooking the trout in most areas. There are some good hatches taking place and you can
07/02/18 The river is running low but otherwise, in good shape. There are still some good
hatches taking place. They vary some with the elevation. All sections of the river are in good
shape and there are some chances of rain coming up this week.
07/16/18 The stream levels are up some but still a little below normal levels. There is a couple
more days with a good chance of rain this coming week. There are still plenty of hatching
insects. The Terrestrials are also working good. Just don't use them when something is hatching.
08/06/18 Conditions remain the same as last week. Fish the upper middle and higher elevations
for the best results, but trout are being caught in all sections. The water levels are still low but
there is rain in the forecast most everyday and they will likely come up. There are still lots of
08/20/18 There is rain forecast for the next four days and that should bring up the low water
levels. There are still a lot of good hatches taking place and trout being caught but it will be
much better with higher water levels.
08/27/18 The river is in better shape but still lower than normal levels. There are lots of trout
being caught. Hatches continue to be good but vary greatly depending on the section of water
10/03/18 Same story. Rain is needed to help the levels. The river is still running low. If you can
stay behind something like a boulder or tree, or stay very low and hidden from the trout you can
catch them. They don't stop eating because the water is low.
10/14/18 The river is still a little low but up a lot from the past week. The water is cooler and
hatches are changing. There are still some hatches occurring and sculpin streamers are
catching some very nice size trout.
10/28/18 The river is up some and in better shape than last week, but still running low. You still
should stay hidden from the trout. There are some good hatches and streamers like our Perfect
fly Sculpin patterns are catching some nice size trout.
11/29/18 The stream levels are low and the water clear and cold. Trout are being caught. There
are hatches of Blue-winged olives and Cream and Red or blood midges. Sculpin streamers
should get you some larger size trout.
12/31/18 The river is running low and clear. It is cold averaging from freezing to about 37
degrees. Fish the lower sections. Midges and Winter stoneflies are hatching. Fish the midge
larva and pupa rigged in tandem.
01/31/18 Fish the lower end of the river for the best results. Cream and red midges or blood
midges are hatching. Fish the larva and pupa rigged in tandem for the best results. Sculpin
streamers and winter stoneflies are also working.
02/11/18 The river is still running a little low and cold. The water is averaging about 35 degrees.
Midges are hatching and trout can be caught on Creams or Red midges. We recommend rigging
the larva and pupa in tandem.
02/18/19 The river is in pretty good shape in the lower section. Stream levels are fine and the
water a little warmer than last week. Snow ends Saturday and conditions should be great.
Midges, and winter stoneflies are hatching.
02/28/19 The river is still low, but in very good shape this time of the year. Midges, creams, light
greens and blood midges or red ones, are hatching. BWOs could hatch this week. Winter
stoneflies are still hatching. Sculpin streamers are working good.
03/10/19 Fish the section in town and the lower section of the river. The upper sections are still
too cold to be very successful. They have a good bit of slush ice in the water.
03/23/19 The water is just a little warmer and some new hatches are starting to take place - Little
Brown stoneflies and March Brown mayflies. BWOs and midges continue to hatch. We still
recommend fishing the lower elevations.
04/07/19 The river is flowing high and stained, too high to wade. The water is getting much
warmer and there are several new hatches starting to take place. It should be in good condition
when the levels come back down
05/01/19 The river is very high and from muddy to highly stained. There are some hatches and
trout were being caught before the levels went up.
05/14/19 The river is flowing high and stained. Runoff is underway and likely to be in this
condition for a few days..Check back with us. We will keep you informed.
06/10/19 The river is in full spring runoff mode and very high and stained heavily. Now is the
time to get your flies and gear in order. We can help you do that is you give us a call or shoot us
06/17/19 The river is still running high from runoff. Hopefully, this will end soon. Keep in touch
with us and we will keep you informed.
06/27/19 The stream levels are still very high from the Spring runoff. It should start falling back
down very soon and you should fish as soon as it does. Keep in touch and we will keep you
informed as to the conditions.
07/04/19 The river is very high in all sections. It is too high to wade safely anywhere. It should
start falling our fast and come into good shape soon. Check back with us. We will keep you
07/11/19 The stream levels are still very high, too high to wade safely anywhere. Now is the time
to get your gear and flies ready for the good opportunity ahead. We can help you do that. Send
us an email.
07/18/19 The river is running very high, too high to wade or fish well. We think it will be falling
back down and clearing up very soon, so check back with us soon.
07/25/19 The stream levels are still too high to fish. It is falling fast and we think it will be in good
shape very soon, so check back with it. It should be very good when it does drop down.
08/04/19 The stream levels are still a little high but falling on down rather fast. There is more rain
in forecast and it will slow it down some but the stream should be good for wading and fishing
08/14/19 Stream levels are still a little high and the water muddy to dingy. Heavy rain from
thundrstorms muddies the water from runoff in areas involved in last year's forest fires. We
received two good report from customers this past week.
08/25/19 The river is down near a normal levels and all sections are turning out a few fish. There
are some hatches taking placee and terrestrials are working good. Streamers do well in the early
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you decide which flies you need.
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with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
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