On the Fly column: Get ready for a wet and wild summer
On the Fly
Mother Nature has thrown many blessings and challenges our way this spring. This is a very interesting year for those of us who watch snowpack totals and river flows. Many livelihoods depend on the valley’s most precious resource; water fuels our ski industry, agriculture, fishing, and plenty of recreational pursuits like white water rafting. Nothing will change the fact that the west is in an aridification trend; our friends at the Roaring Fork Conservancy say the word “drought” doesn’t quite convey the changes that are happening here in Colorado and westward.
Obviously we couldn’t have two more vastly different water years than this one and 2018, and personally I’m excited to see how it all shakes out as we head into summer. Cool and wet weather has prolonged an already historic snowpack, but hopefully we start to see more water let loose with the warmer week on deck. Runoff historically has begun here mid-May, and obviously we aren’t quite there yet.
The most important silver lining will be the improved health of our fish, rivers and reservoirs. We never really got our “spring flush” last year; this year the rivers will get a good scouring for sure. The hot water woes of last summer will be a not-so-distant memory this time around, which will make for some happy fish. Seeing Ruedi and other reservoirs filled up to the brim will be a welcome sight, too. Hopefully everyone will take these “no drought” headlines with a grain of salt and continue to conserve water.
Safety should be paramount going forward with everyone out there enjoying our rivers. The water will get higher and faster than many of us have seen in quite a while. Keep an eye on your young ones around the water, think safety first while boating and SUPing, and choose your battles according to your experience and ability levels. Runoff will linger until later in July this time around, so let’s get ready for a wet and wild summer.
This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or taylorcreek.com.
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