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Old 09-14-2013, 03:02 PM
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Default So, is the fishing along the Front Range kaput for few years

Hello all,

I think everyone is aware of the ferocity of the flows and floods in pretty much all waters along the northern Front Range. This is my first experience with flooding of this magnitude since I started fly fishing. I have seen pictures and with my own eyes, the likes of the BigT, Poudre, Clear Creek, South Boulder Creek, etc. I don't think the term "blown out" is very relative........more like "BLOWN UP" I think would be the term to use.

My obvious question is: How will this epic event affect the fishing and the trout? When I see massive water barreling through these little watersheds, I feel so sorry for the little trout (I'm a pretty soft-hearted dude). Can they survive in such a dangerous situation? How do they survive? Where in the heck are their places to survive in a torrents like these?

I have a lot of plans to some good fishing this Fall. By this time every year, I'm usually all fished out (from spending 30-40 nights of the summer in the backcountry fishing my tail off). But I told myself I was going to make the Fall count this year. I especially wanted to hit the Poudre and SBC hard.

And my nearest trip in the future is going to revolve around the Black Canyon of the Gunnsion and some parts of the Taylor. These areas both have controlled flows........how will the heavy rains affect these areas. I don't even really know how the rains affected the western part of the state. But again, my biggest concern is for the Front Range - Poudre, BigT, SBC, So Platte, etc
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Old 09-14-2013, 04:13 PM
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Default Re: So, is the fishing along the Front Range kaput for few years

After seeing those photos on the Midge Manifesto's blog I have been wondering the same thing, as are all the guys that fly fish the Front Range. When you look at a small stream that usually has a flow of 75-150 cfs and blow it up to 6,000 CFS then you know there is going to be major damage to the stream and the surrounding area. Its really hard to imagine all the Front Range streams getting hit this hard all at once.

This afternoon I talked with my son who lives in Milliken and works for the Greeley PD. With all the road damage last night, he couldn't make it into work so they had him volunteer with the Milliken PD, they assigned him a vest and a HumVee and sent him out checking for stranded vehicles and people needing assistance.
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Old 09-14-2013, 04:24 PM
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Default Re: So, is the fishing along the Front Range kaput for few years

Every situation is different of course, but my guess is that fishing will be fine overall. Some streams will suffer, but some may actually benefit from the scouring effects.

When I lived back east, remnants of hurricanes and tropical storms were a way of life and epic disaster floods occurred every few years... water levels and velocities that were unimaginable. Every time it happened I would look at all the damage and think to myself, "well, that's it for this river for a few years"... and then each and every time we would be back fishing 2-3 weeks later like it never happened.
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Old 09-14-2013, 07:39 PM
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Default Re: So, is the fishing along the Front Range kaput for few years

If I know where your talking about, not to worry. Another thread going here but Mom Nature' takes care of her own. To repeat myself, She's been at this for several Billion Years. With luck, you have 100 so don't sweat the process.

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Old 09-14-2013, 08:40 PM
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Default Re: So, is the fishing along the Front Range kaput for few years

Well, yes, Mom Nature will take care of her own. There is a different concern, of course, for the Front Range anglers: roads are gone, i.e, access is nil. That suggests that other, less affected waters will be even more pressured for the foreseeable future.

Or, it might suggest that we all learn to enjoy (and/or consider) other facets of fly-fishing. And that makes me wonder what all of the flooding has done to the lower-lying lakes and their warm-water fish compatriots.
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Old 09-14-2013, 11:00 PM
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Default Re: So, is the fishing along the Front Range kaput for few years

Poudre is probably a river I fish 50-100 days a year. A couple thoughts in no particular order-

In the spring, a couple years ago we had flows around 4500cfs. A lot of water, a big spring runoff but she fished fine after that. Now granted we are talking 9000cfs which is WAY bigger, but to some extent the force of the water itself on a small aqua dynamic object (trout) may not be that different. What I'm hoping is that as the flow goes up, and the river rises the river also gets wider in terms of the amount of water- and so while more water is running, maybe they still find the pockets and edges deeper down behind boulders etc.

I read somewhere that this is good actually in that it will bring all kinds of food sources and structure into the water, and actually forces pressure off the fish which aren't getting fished for a bit.

My big concern is that too much silt will foul up the amount of gravelly trout redd areas, and too much silt ruining habitat. While I think it's a valid concern, I also think of last summer with the High Park fire and all the ash and silt which washed in to the river, and all of the resulting mudslides this summer again washing torrents of ash, trees, and mud into the river. And the fishing has actually been really good this summer for me! I've had to find some new spots, but it's been great.

I even had half a thought that maybe all this flow will blow all the ash crud out of the river? As Fred said, Mother Nature has a way of processes taking care of themself.

In my gut I'm hopeful..hopeful that the fishing isn't trashed. It was for last week and might be for the next couple...but hopefully the browns can still get a good spawn! And a good fall of fishing might still be ahead of us.
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Old 09-14-2013, 11:51 PM
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Default Re: So, is the fishing along the Front Range kaput for few years

Arkansas through Browns Canyon is good to go. High country lakes are still good to go. South Platte in Deckers, 11 Mile Canyon, and Dream Stream are also good to go. Fishing on the West slope Frying Pan, Colorado, and Gunni are also good.

Randy
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Old 09-16-2013, 08:13 AM
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Default Re: So, is the fishing along the Front Range kaput for few years

What is going to be interesting to see is what we may catch in the rivers now. With so many of the lakes and ponds in the area flooded over by the river there is not telling what we are going to catch ie pike, sunfish, catfish, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, etc. Watson was flooded over so I wonder if the river is now restocked with trout! I have surgery on my hips coming up( ice hockey goalie) so I will be layed up for a while, when I am recovered this spring it should be interesting fishing. Can't wait to walk the river when it goes down to see all the new structures and holes, and the ones that were taken out by these floods.
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Old 09-16-2013, 09:15 AM
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Default Re: So, is the fishing along the Front Range kaput for few years


Click the image to open in full size.
We often have terrible floods here....have a look at the video.....the pic was taken last week....at the same place....we caught many fish....so don't be desperate
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Old 09-16-2013, 01:36 PM
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Default Re: So, is the fishing along the Front Range kaput for few years

I know flooding in Southern Minnesota is different from flooding in Colorado, but the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer had a nice article recently about the recovery of trout after a 1,000-year flood. The synopsis is that a year class of trout was wiped out, but the flood cleaned and improved spawning beds leading to a very rapid recovery.

Fishing After the Flood: Minnesota DNR
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