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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. This trip was a bit frustrating as well as many trips I seem to be having while filming. The river is a great river to fish, but by the time I got the hang of the river, it became blown out, and was basically chocolaty everywhere I could fish. The conditions were not ample this trip, but that won't stop me from trying. I fished all day until about 1 hour from sunset. When at that point I decided to go into town and grab some food and a beer. The rod I was using was my custom built 9' 5wt. Its rather stiff, but I am fishing with a larger 4x and 5x tippet, also the flies are size 18-22, which is much larger then my San Juan River trip, so I feel It can handle it. Plus the stiffer rod will help with longer casts and easier mends. 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.