On The Fly column: Learning lessons about protecting streams | PostIndependent.com

On The Fly column: Learning lessons about protecting streams

Scott Spooner
On The Fly

Local angler Eddie Yost fishes the Fryingpan River.

As another fishing season begins to wind down in the Roaring Fork Valley, there is a lot to process. This summer was trying for just about everyone and every fish, especially those swimming in the lower Fork and Colorado. Drought conditions brought people together with a plan for preserving our fisheries, which was impressive to witness.

With leadership from the Roaring Fork Conservancy, Roaring Fork Fishing Guide Alliance, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, most outfitters and plenty of concerned anglers, a plan was executed to voluntarily cease fishing anywhere riverwise below Carbondale in the afternoons, when water was warmest.

As restrictions have lifted down low with the cooling water temperatures, many anglers are out there fishing a little later, although taking it easy on the fish is a little more ingrained in all of us now. Most of us have learned (or have been reminded) how precious and fragile a trout stream (and the snows that feed them) can be, and have taken away some valuable lessons on how to treat these waters and vital fish a little better.

Voluntary 24-hour closures are still in effect on the Crystal River from Avalanche Creek to the confluence with the Roaring Fork. Misinformation abounded about closures this summer, especially where they were in effect, but good intentions applied in most of these situations.

Many of you might have noticed the Fryingpan running a little higher lately; flows are currently holding around 350 cubic feet per second after some incremental increases. This flow rate gives some anglers a case of the vapors, but the fish and bugs seem to take things in stride.

On the sunny side, Basalt has some of the coldest water around, it's lousy with fish and insects, and the Pan essentially is a swamp cooler for the Roaring Fork. Tourism is the engine of this valley, but we're glad local anglers and guides pumped the brakes a bit this summer. Let it snow.

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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.