I’ve gone missing, and I am sorry for that…
I moved to the southwest for two things. Trout and Love. For the past twenty years, I call Durango,CO. home. The Animas River is my muse. Much of what I know about flyfishing I learned here.
Metal broke bread with beauty and the southwest was borne by profiteers. I knew the risk.
In 2003, Sunnyside Gold Corp mine stopped treating water that was pouring into a trib to the Animas. In 2006, Red and Bonita mines began to spill, due to a rise in the water table from other mines being plugged. 300 gallons poured into Cement Creek, just outside of Silverton, CO. Then we had drought.
First the caddis went. We had beautiful hatches beginning in mid June. Three species would carry me through September. Their residence on the flow facing rocks is now replaced with a red hued sludge. The stockers die well before they learn to be trout. A few large browns remain.
DOW completed their shocking this spring finding it no longer deserves gold medal status; the signs remain. Fewer than half the biomass necessary to maintain that moniker exists and the lion’s share of that is of recently stocked fish. I walk the banks without a fly rod now.
In June I had a conversation with a weathered angler on the the Firehole. He was from California. He moved to Bozeman some twenty years ago and said it was between Bozeman and Durango but with the mining up in Silverton, he chose Bozeman. He asked about the Animas. I began to tear.
So it is not without consideration or lament I am absent of this place. Strangely, the Drake still provides solace to me. You guys out; still fishing. Still hitting the water. I find comfort in that. I just can’t attend at the moment. I am more at peace, as my water strangles , knowing yours is well and those casts are still being made. Continue on brothers of the Drake. I’ll return once I’ve reconciled.
…I’ve gotten out in other ways.