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Where can you find a fly fishing haven that is oddly urban in character yet runs through 3 ghost towns, is a winter home to migratory bald eagles and you have to take a train to get ... moreto some of the best water? Well the answer is Durango, Colorado where the Animas River flows right through it. Here it’s possible to successfully cast off a pedestrian bridge in the middle of town, wander down stream on well-marked trails to wade, or take a train through the mountains to fish. 

High in the San Juan Mountains, at the ghost town of Animas Forks and the confluence of the North and West forks, this tributary of the San Juan River begins. It continues on past the ghost towns of Eureka and Howardsville and at Silverton, flows into Animas Canyon, a steep walled passageway. After Durango, the river flows south into New Mexico where it joins with the San Juan River at Farmington.

North of Silverton the Animas is more stream than river. It gathers momentum as it nears Hermosa but because of a steep gorge, getting to the waters above Hermosa requires taking a train, a route once used to transport ore from nearby mines. Past Hermosa the river opens up, and at times is more than a 100 feet wide with rifles, long runs and deep pools.

At Purple Cliffs, approximately 3 miles downstream from Durango, the river is regulated but very accessible and the boulders and rifles here provide ideal habitat for trout. In 1997, this section of the river was classified by the State of Colorado as a Gold Medal River, meaning it contains a minimum of 60 pounds of trout and more than 12 trout over 14 inches per acre. Fish ranging from 16-20 inches are not uncommon here.
Fishing Trips:
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Less than an hour northwest of Bend, Oregon, the Metolius River, secreted away in the Deschutes National Forest, is little known since professional guides are not permitted and the ... moreriver is not advertised. The river begins at Metolius Springs, near the base of Black Butte, and is fed from cold spring water that keeps the river at an even flow and a near constant 48 degrees – ideal trout habitat. The river ends at Lake Billy Chinook.

While only 29 miles long, the Metolius is large in what it has to offer. Nearly half of the river is designated as a National Wild and Scenic River while another 12 mile run is a National Recreational River. In the estimation of many naturalists and conservationists, the lower 17 miles of river that run along the warm Springs Indian Reservation, are among the most gorgeous to be found in the lower 48. To maintain the pristine quality of the river, legislation was passed in 1990 and again in 2009 to limit development within 86,000 acres of the Metolius water basin.

Not just beautiful, this river is full of rainbow, bull and brown trout. Rainbow and brown can easily measure up to 24 inches, while bulls 15 pounds and over have been pulled from these waters. In the fall Kokanee can be seen in the river, ready to spawn. The upper Metolius is limited to fly fishing, catch and release and barbless hooks. This is a great choice for anglers seeking an authentic fishing experience, but be sure to pack your waders - fishing from boats is prohibited.

If you’re traveling with people interested in other activities, camping, rafting, skiing and horseback riding are widely available.
Game Fish Opportunities:
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River or Stream? In the eyes of many anglers, the Fall River is viewed as a crystal clear, beautiful, big stream. Like the Metolius, the Fall is a stream-fed tributary of the Deschutes. ... moreIt runs through tall stands of pine in the federally protected Deschutes National Forest with banks surrounded by tall grasses and willow trees. 

Within its small, 8-mile long run, it’s possible to find wild brown, wild brook and stocked rainbow trout. The wild brook trout tend to be small, averaging around 6 inches. By contrast, the wild brown trout grow large, ranging from 8 to 15 inches. The rainbows average about 10 inches, but 20 inchers have certainly been found. The water is also stocked from the Crane Prairie Reservoir, with fish known as Crane-bows.

The river provides a safe haven for brown and other species that swim in from the Deschutes and find excellent winter habitat. Above Fall River Falls, the river is open throughout the year. Below the Falls, there are seasonal closures to assist spawning fish. It’s possible to access the Fall River at the fish hatchery or on National Forest land. Fishing is excellent from its headwaters to the falls, and good news to Yobi readers – it’s fly fishing, barbless hooks only.
Fishing Access Sites:
Big Bear Lake is a reservoir in the San Bernardino Mountains in California. Located about 100 miles east of Los Angles, it offers one of the top rated fishing locations in all of Southern ... moreCalifornia. Trolling is one of the most popular approaches to fish Rainbows. Freshwater anglers of all types will enjoy the quality trout and bass found in the local waters at Big Bear Lake. Along with trout and bass, you will also love to find the waters of Big Bear Lake offer an abundant supply of catfish, crappie, blue gill and sunfish. Fishermen of all types will find something to their liking in the pristine waters of the lake.

"Big Bear Lake1" by H.G. Judd - Own work (transferred from en:File:Big Bear Lake1.jpg). Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Big_Bear_Lake1.jpg#/media/File:Big_Bear_Lake1.jpg
Best known for its trophy browns, this is a place to also find brook, cutthroat and rainbow. Like other rivers in the area, this 100 mile tributary of the White is host to dams and ... morereservoirs managed by the Army Corp of engineers. For anglers, the 30 mile run below Greer’s Ferry Dam is the most famous and desirable section of the river. In the spring of 1992, the 1988 trout record was broken here by the capture of a 40+ pound whopper. This record has since been topped although it remains the largest to be netted in Arkansas waters.

Cold water releases from the dam keep the river at about 47 degrees year round, creating ideal trout habitat but challenging for its native walleye and bass. Efforts to reintroduce small mouth bass and walleye have met with measured success. Spring and summer tend to be the busiest seasons, although many consider fall the best time to fish as the brown migrate upstream to spawn. Spawning starts mid-October and is complete by the first of December. Brook trout also spawn successfully in the Collins Creek area while cutthroat are sparse and tend to be found downstream of Winkley Shoals.

Because water flow is managed for regional electrical production, levels can quickly change. While it’s possible to wade in these waters, it’s smart to be cautious. When levels are high, fishing with an expert guide is highly recommended. The state enforces catch and release rules in three areas: below Greer’s Ferry Dam; around Cow Shoals; and, between Dunham and Mossy Shoals.

Before booking a trip, be advised that portions of the 30 mile run are privately owned and may be difficult to access, water levels vary dramatically and three sections are catch and release only.
Game Fish Opportunities:
The name Norfork is a condensed idiom of North Fork and refers to the North Fork of the White River. This 110 mile river starts near Mountain Grove, Missouri, and flows south through ... moreMark Twain National Forest, but the most exciting section is the last five miles before it empties into the White.

In the depressed years of the late 1930’s, officials in the state of Arkansas lobbied hard for federal assistance in an effort to create a miniature version of the Tennessee Valley Authority. They succeeded with the 1940’s construction of a dam on the Norkfolk River and the creation of Norfolk Lake. Anglers can be grateful for an unintended consequence - the prized tailwaters below the lake.

This section of river benefits from cold water releases from the dam that provide ideal trout habitat. For anglers the result is nothing less than spectacular. In 1988 a 38.9 ounce German brown was caught, the second largest ever recorded worldwide. Also pulled from this tailwater - a brook weighing over 5 pounds that still holds the Arkansas record.

Although it’s possible to wade in certain sections, public access is limited through the middle of this section; most prefer to float and fish the whole run. Fish are abundant, stocked by the Norfork Hatchery near Quarry Park; the river is home to browns, rainbows, cutthroat and brook. On average, trout range from 12-14 inches but 20 inchers are quite common. Spirited anglers compete in what’s known as “the slam,” or catching all four species on the same day.

Before booking a trip, keep in mind that water levels are subject to change, access for wading is limited, and the middle third is strictly catch and release.
Recognized as one of the most renowned trout rivers in the country, this 722 mile river flows northward from Arkansas into Missouri. It starts in the Arkansas Boston Mountains that ... moretower above the Ozark- St. Francis National Forest near Fayetteville. A tributary of the Mississippi, it is the source of several tributaries including the North Fork River, Little Red River, Black River, James River and the Bayou des Arc, and drains over 27,765 square miles of river basin.

Thanks to the Army Corps of Engineers, there are several dams and reservoirs affecting its character and flow. The river is most famous for the 30 mile tailwater below the man-made, Bull Shoals Lake, although fishing throughout the upper river and Lake Taneycomo are also excellent. What makes the portion below Bull Shoals special is the cold water discharge from the dam, providing ideal trout habitat.

Wild browns are abundant and are supplemented by the State with rainbows, cutthroats, and brook. Fish are usually in the 12 to 16 inch range, although much larger fish are easily found. Some well traveled anglers argue that typical browns here out measure the largest browns found elsewhere. Many Arkansas state trout records have been broken here. Imagine reeling in a 19 pound rainbow or a 30+ pound brown. It’s possible on this section of the White.

Access to the river is excellent. Anglers can fish these waters from the banks or by wading or floating. Since water levels vary according to electric power demands, the river can suddenly become high and swift so a bit of caution is advised. One great feature is that it can be fished during the winter months when other streams may be closed.

Before wading, check the number of turbines running at the power station since it affects conditions on the water.
Only an hour outside of Asheville, all four sections of the Tuckasegee River are included on the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail, five if you count the West Tuck - and there ... moreare only 15 spots on the trail list! In other words, this river has a lot to offer. Beginning at the confluence of the Panthertown and Greenland Creeks, the river flows for 60 miles until it joins the Little Tennessee. Its basin is sizeable, draining an estimated 655 miles.

The river is well stocked with brooks, browns and rainbows, although there are still wild fish throughout. State support for the river is generous with an estimated 50,000 fish added each season. Not surprisingly, the river boasts one of the highest fish counts in North Carolina, purportedly 9,000 fish per mile. Large numbers of rainbows and browns reach trophy proportion, both in weight and length.

Delayed harvest has been successfully employed through the 5 mile section between 107 Bridge and the riverside park in Dillsboro. As a result, this section is catch and release only, from October to June. That said, experts consider this the best place to achieve a “Tuckasegee Slam” where you reel in all three species in one spot.

One of the more inviting aspects of this river is its accessibility. Highway access is ample and parking is well marked and available for most of the river. The East Laporte Park to the 107 Bridge offers picnic tables and public restrooms. The river can be waded and floated in the middle and lower sections.
Game Fish Opportunities:
The headwaters of the 78.5 mile long Watauga, begin at Peak Mountain in North Carolina on the western slope of the Eastern Continental Divide, and end at its confluence with the South ... moreFork of the Holston River. This trout filled tributary of the Holston is a mere 1 hour, scenic drive from Asheville.

Managed by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) the Watauga, like most rivers in the watershed, is affected by dams, water releases and reservoirs. The Watauga Dam created the 6,430 acre Watauga Lake. Three miles further down river, are the much smaller Wilbur Dam and Lake, used during the summer to release water back into the river. The 20 mile tailwater from Wilbur Dam to Boone lake is the most prized trout fishing part of the river.

Like other tailwaters in the region, the temperature remains between 50 to 55 degrees most of the year, providing great habitat for trout. The Tennessee Valley Resource Authority (TVRA) stocks the tailwater with rainbows, brooks and browns alongside a small population of wild trout. Most fish are in the 12 inch range although much larger fish are there to be caught. Estimates range from 2,000 to 5,000 fish per mile.

Depending on water releases the river can be waded although it’s advisable to get a TVA discharge schedule before entering the water. Wading access can be limited since property holders own the riverbed and can deny entry. The water may be fished at any time from a small boat, although due to shallow pools, you may want to keep one generator running if you use a drift boat. The river is composed of a few fast runs and long sections of rifles but large, long pools can also be found.
Game Fish Opportunities:
There are three forks to the Holston River, but if you are into fishing for trout, the South Fork is the one you want. In less than two hours drive from Asheville, you can be fishing ... moreone of the finest tailwater trout waters east of the Mississippi. The 112 mile long South Fork Holston River, referred to as the SoHo, is part of the greater Tennessee River drainage basin, managed by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Oblivious to borders, the river starts in Virginia and ends at its confluence with the North Fork in Tennessee.

The South Holston Dam, the uppermost of three on the South Fork, created the landmark South Holston Lake. It is the tailwaters below the lake that have made this stretch of water so desirable. Here, the insects are humming, the favorable water temperature is uniform 12 months of the year and the fish are thriving. 

Throughout the approximate 15 mile section below the dam, stocked rainbows, wild browns and smallmouth bass can be found. According to a recent Tennessee Wildlife Resource Authority (TVRA) survey, there are 5,000 to 6,000 trout per mile, averaging 12 inches in length; it’s not uncommon to find 20+ inches.

This is a river that is usually floated but can be waded depending on water levels. Because the TVA is constantly adjusting water flows, levels can change without notice and whether floating or wading, obtaining a release schedule and a skilled guide is highly recommended.

Before booking a trip keep in mind that sections of the river are closed to protect spawning browns between November and January, all trout 16-20 inches must be released and only one over 22 inches may be taken home.
Game Fish Opportunities:

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