Although these beautiful specimens are not the Instagram or Facebook showstopper that many of us equate with a high amount of likes and followers, these small guys are far more important. Winter fishing on the Animas has historically been seen as a “tough chance” endeavor. The possibility of hooking up a rare instance, it was always a small-numbers-big-fish kind of deal. Big fish are good, hell big fish are great; but sometimes the small fish show the health of a river system. Small Browns have had quite a showing this winter on the Animas. They have been feisty, hungry, and beautiful.
Are these wild fish? Hard to tell, but they have beautiful colors and all their fins intact. They are no hofer rainbow…they are much better.
Whirling disease resistant and hearty in poor conditions, it’s been wonderful to see that these guys survived the mine spill and this cold winter. Not to mention that the small fish of today are the big fish of tomorrow. Granted, there are plenty of big fish to be had right now. It’s actually been on fire as far as winter fishing on the Animas is concerned. The small browns are just blessings for now and for the future. Plus not too many other fish would destroy a streamer in winter like these guys.
Nymph deep, twitch a small streamer across a dark slow pool, and hold on. Animas winter fishing is getting good.