Denver's South Platte River rehabilitation plan designed to restore fisheries
South-metro leaders and a growing number of fishermen are pushing to let the South Platte be more of a natural river as it flows down from the mountains through the Denver area.
They're planning to rechannel the river, revegetate and bring in boulders to rehabilitate the wide, shallow waterway into a deeper, meandering river that could sustain significantly more fish. Not just wily big-mouth bottom-feeders — but trout.
Enhancing the South Platte, proponents contend, will lead to a healthier metro economy.
"We are the custodians of the river. It is incumbent upon us to keep that river a viable, healthy source for the ecology of the area, the wildlife, migratory birds and for the community," Littleton Mayor Debbie Brinkman said. "We're not doing this for economic reasons. There may be an economic benefit."
Anglers report healthy rainbow and brown troughs all along the river. And fly-fishing for carp continues to draw people who are following the advice of Chris Santella's new book "50 More Places to Fly Fish Before You Die" to the South Platte.
Fishing guides in Denver say they earn as much as $300 leading outsiders to the good spots.
The South Platte "already has gained a reputation as a carp fishery," said Will Rice, who submitted the recommendation to Santella. "But if the small-mouth species (such as trout) could be introduced, this definitely could be an economic draw for Denver."
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