Near Durango, the Animas River has been declared a Gold Medal river by the State of Colorado River due to its amazing trout population. While this freestone fly fishing river had been troubled by mining runoff, the river now has a healthy trout population and the trout are huge, especially the stretch from Durango to US160. The Animas River runs from Silverton southbound down through Durango towards the New Mexico border. Hiding in the long riffles, pools and runs, you can expect to find brown trout, rainbow trout and cutthroat trout. Most fly fisherman work the river near Durango and south of town towards the border due to access issues, mainly.
The headwater section of the Animas River from Silverton down to Hermosa is in a steep canyon and is only access by hiking and by the train (a good point to catch the train is Rockwood).
The upper section from Hermosa to Durango is a wide wild river with deep pools and long riffles. The river is about 100 feet wide in this section.
Near Durango, the popular section to fish is the 3 miles below the SR160 bridge (aka Purple Cliffs). The river rolls through a scenic canyon over big rocks with trout averaging around 14 inches.
Access is provided by US550 which runs parallel to the Animas River.
While you can fly fish the Animas River year-round due to a good midge hatch, the best fishing is from February to April and then again from mid-July to early October during caddis hatch.
Note: The printable fly fishing river map is provided courtesy of HANDYMICROFIBERCLOTH.COM.
Overall, Animas River - Upper is the 3rd most popular fly fishing river of all 47 fly fishing spots in Colorado.