CU & Boulder
Officials: Anglers can resume recreational use of Boulder Creek after flood
Boulder County fishers, cast your lines
10/24/2013 09:22:57 PM MDT
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The water in Boulder Creek is lowered and the cloudy sediment has settled out of the currents.
Officials said fishers can resume recreational use along the streams of the Front Range and Estes Park, after Boulder County's historic flood last month.
Randy Hicks, manager at Boulder-based fly shop Rocky Mountain Anglers, said the state of the watershed is hurt, but not to worry: the streams are coming back, slowly but surely.
"The reports keep coming back about how good the fishing is," Hicks said, noting that one man reported catching more fish than ever and yet another catching the biggest fish of his time. "I know people lost touch with Boulder Creek, but guess what? It's open back up. You can't dwell on it being hurt. Be positive about it, because I am expecting good fishing into the first few weeks of November."
Hicks said Rocky Mountain Anglers' loss of business was not the issue that had the biggest impact, but the lack of access for fishing that did. He said that after such a dramatic impact on ecology, it was fair to assume that anglers had thrown in the towel for the season, calling it "closed."
"We saw our sales almost drop off to nothing, but what was surprising to me is that — even in a time of tragedy — people still wanted to go outside," Hicks said. "That's who we are as Coloradoans, we like to go outside... So what you do, is, after being cooped up and not fishing for a while, you go out there and beat it up a few times and remember how fun it is."
Rob Kolanda, a guide with Boulder's Front Range Anglers said he wants to get the word out that there are still fish in the local rivers.
According to anglers, Colorado is one of just a few states to have native species of trout swimming in its streams and rivers. Boulder Creek boasts the greenback cutthroat, which is one of the four native subspecies found in the Rocky Mountains.
"Good news is, there are a lot of fish in there and it really is miraculous that those fish made it through the flow of water that came through that canyon," Kolanda said. "The water is clear, some people still think its muddy, but the water is fishing excellent."
Efforts are being made to repair some damage, Kolanda said. Anglers have been flipping rocks to reseed the beds of the streams below with bugs and larva. Plus, financial contributions by Front Range Anglers are assisting the recovery process of Boulder Creek through proceeds from guided trips by local chapters of Trout Unlimited.
"If there are areas of (Boulder) Creek that aren't doing so well, it's our due diligence to let those sections rehab a little bit," Kolanda said.
Officials have been addressing concerns for affected bodies of water, as well as adopting rehabilitation plans — like one of Colorado's largest natural tourist zones, Rocky Mountain National Park. Kyle Patterson, the park's public information officer, said the park is open to all visitors and anglers.
"We encourage visitors to recreate and experience the park on its own terms — even after natural events, such as heavy rains or snows," said Patterson. "There are a few small areas in the park still closed due to damages from the flood, but they are not close to any popular fishing areas."
Patterson warned that trails may still be impassable or damaged from the flooding, but visitors are still welcome, pending advisories.
He also said that fishers should be aware of high waters at usually easy stream crossings, as well missing water bars and steps, which direct flowing water on an inclined path to prevent erosion.
To help with the regeneration of Boulder Creek and other rivers, visit any local angler shop, or visit Colorado's local chapter of Trout Unlimited: coloradotu.org/donate.
Contact Gavin B. Griffin at firstname.lastname@example.org.