Fraser River may see commercial fly-fishing
May 23, 2008
Mitch “Mo” Kirwan and his brother Henry Kirwan are seeking a license from the Fraser Board of Trustees to give guided wade fishing trips on the Fraser River.
The Kirwans own Mo Henry Trout Shop in Fraser and Granby.
“We get lots of people who want to be guided on the river,” Mo Kirwan said.
They hoped to get the town’s approval May 21, but the town needed more paperwork.
“It’s basically been ready since last meeting we just didn’t know they needed it,” he said.
Darren Dines of Tabernash wrote in a Sky-Hi Daily News letter to the editor that he is concerned about the impact this will have on the river.
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“The potential addition of commercial fishing seems to inescapably lead to the tragic degradation of our magical and alluring river nestled in the upper valley,” he stated.
“All of Colorado’s other towns fortunate enough to have a free-flowing river meandering through them know that the greatest challenge of taking caring of their river ecosystem is avoiding ‘loving it to death.’ I hope the Fraser Town Board knows this too.”
Kirwan said if they take an educational role in the way that people use the resource, it will benefit the river.
“The addition of guiding fishing does not mean more pressure,” Kirwan said. “It just means responsible and educational fishing.”
He said people are going to fish the river whether they’re with a guide or not.
Kirwan said some community members are concerned that only guides will be able to fish the river.
“That’s absolutely not the case,” he said.
He said they want to give tours on the river because of the attention the river is getting.
“Our intent is to be able to offer all sorts of trips in different characters,” he said. “We basically like to spread everything out and let our clients experience different aspects of fly fishing.”
He said it is all catch and release.
“There is a certain amount of mortality,” he added. “The more conscious you are the lower that mortality will be.”
Kirk Klancke, president of Colorado River Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited, supports the tours as long as they follow a list of contingencies.
He recommends that the Kirwans give brochures to the people they take on the river.
“That could be really good for the river to have guides educating their clientele,” he said.
Trout Unlimited also recommends catch and release fishing through the Cozens Ranch Open Space Park. This is to allow the DOW to see “what type of fishery develops naturally, which will help them to establish the regulations that they will eventually be applied to this section of river.”