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Old 09-14-2013, 10:22 AM
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Default Boulder Floods: Effects of flooding on future fishing

I wanted to raise a few issues and see if any people with flooding experience have an idea of how the fish will respond in the next few weeks.

Boulder Creek went from a nice late summer 30-50cfs to a 50-100 year flood flow of 5000cfs. Flow stayed up at least around 2500cfs for several days. In some places Boulder creek was about 500 feet wide (normally 20-50' wide). At 75th street in east Boulder, flows stayed above 5000cfs for a couple days. About 4000 people were evacuated downtown near the river. Mountain towns are completely cut off, and several structures have been demolished by landslides. Sections of road that access the canyons are totally missing. Ponds adjacent to the river are now just part of the river.

I know some fish will be pushed up onto flood plains and will die when the water recedes. Is there some hope that a good portion of the population will find cover in the trees and return to their natural spots soon?
Is it more likely that a large portion of the fish get washed downstream?
How much time (weeks, months, years) will it take for fishing to re-stabilize?
To what extent will natural bucket biology play a role (ie, small mouth bass in local creeks?)

As we humans rebuild and recover, the fish will be doing the same. I am hoping they rebound sooner rather than later...

Good luck to all those affected by the floods. Having lost everything in a wildfire, I know what a shock it can be. Praying for all unaccounted for individuals and families that lost loved ones.
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Old 09-14-2013, 11:24 AM
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Thumbs up Re: Boulder Floods: Effects of flooding on future fishing

Not to worry, "Mom Nature" takes care of her own. Will it take time to unwind? Yes, but She has all the time in the world; been at it for 3.5'ish + Billion years.

"Mom" has no wrist watch or time card to punch.

fae
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Old 09-14-2013, 11:56 AM
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Default Re: Boulder Floods: Effects of flooding on future fishing

Of course within those 3.5ish + billion years there have been a lot of drastic and catastrophic changes including extinctions and the break-up of Pangaea. I know these floods aren't anything close to that sort of event. However, it is good to remember that the way 'mother nature' cares for her own is not always our idea of loving and motherly - Tennyson's 'nature red in tooth and claw' and all.

I'm sure the streams and rivers will recover, logs and boulders moved along with other changes. They've been stocked before and surely can be stocked again in addition to natural reproduction. What it means for fishing in the near future is an interesting question. Tbblom was asking about the coming weeks, and it would be interesting to know what next year might look like as well.

For now, there are a lot of people who need help. Currently it is sunny and dry in Denver and from the weather map it looks like the hard-hit areas are clear. Hopefully we'll keep avoiding the rain they were calling for today and tomorrow, water will recede, power and services will be restored, people will be able to get around again, and the clean up can begin.
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Old 09-14-2013, 12:26 PM
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Default Re: Boulder Floods: Effects of flooding on future fishing

Flooding can changes things temporarily, or seemingly forever. The Mississippi flood of 93 recontoured itself, silting in backwaters and destroying some fishing areas. But that's the fertile loam soil of the Midwest. I suspect your hard bottomed rivers and streams will recover to nearly like before soon enough. The fish will repopulate for sure.
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Old 09-14-2013, 12:33 PM
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Default Re: Boulder Floods: Effects of flooding on future fishing

Take a look at these photos that are on the Midge Manefestos site of the water damage, looks like hwy 34 and the Big Thompson took a major hit: The Midge Manifesto

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Old 09-14-2013, 12:42 PM
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Default Re: Boulder Floods: Effects of flooding on future fishing

Earlier this year there was similarly massive flooding of creeks and rivers in Alberta. You could try following the fishing reports from the bow river, near high river and anything around banff and surrounding area to see what to to expect as far as fish returning.
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Old 09-14-2013, 12:48 PM
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Default Re: Boulder Floods: Effects of flooding on future fishing

Looks like it might be a bit...

Did some basement clean-out on thursday, might be doing more cleanup today... just trying to think of something more positive, like fish stocks coming back! Have a few friends that have been evac'd or flooded. Just looking to help out today
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Old 09-14-2013, 01:10 PM
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Default Re: Boulder Floods: Effects of flooding on future fishing

Seems like over the last couple of years, I've heard of several big spills, wrecks, or other pollution/contamination in the Big Thompson river or some tributary.

That stuff is thouroughly flushed out now,I bet!

My worry: The State, Feds, and other groups will all try to "repair" or "improve" on what's been done by cruel Mother Nature.

May we all (yup, me too) have patience.

Easily said from the high ground in Colorado Springs.

CAB

Last edited by cab; 09-14-2013 at 01:11 PM. Reason: Spelling, darnit!
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Old 09-14-2013, 01:30 PM
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Default Re: Boulder Floods: Effects of flooding on future fishing

Quote:
Originally Posted by quijibo View Post
Earlier this year there was similarly massive flooding of creeks and rivers in Alberta. You could try following the fishing reports from the bow river, near high river and anything around banff and surrounding area to see what to to expect as far as fish returning.
I recently fished one of the rivers and its tribs about 6 weeks after it was hit by those floods. Very similar in scale - discharges rose 100X normal levels.

The water, in spots, was unrecognizable. The river has completely shifted by feet in many areas, braids have plugged, new ones created, collapsed banks, new sweepers and log jams everywhere. It took at least a month for water clarity to return to normal. Even now, small rains turn the water silty.

That being said, the fishing was pretty good. The fish were looking up, feeding aggressively and looking healthy.

What surprised me was the nearly complete lack of bugs. Lots of nymphs, but hatches were sporadic at best. should have been prime time for sallies, caddis and pmd's, yet virtually none were seen.
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Old 09-14-2013, 04:02 PM
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Default Re: Boulder Floods: Effects of flooding on future fishing

Back in eastern PA we experienced three (3) once-in-a-lifetime floods over a span of about six (6) years back in the late 90's early 2000's... incredibly high flows, catastrophic damage...

Each time, fishing was back to normal 2-3 weeks later like nothing happened.
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