October 29, 2012
To the Editor:
Back in the ’60s and ’70s I fished the Colorado River often at different spots from Granby down to Troublesome Creek.
The Willow Fly hatch was spectacular and on a par with the very famous Willow Fly hatch on both the Gunnison River before Blue Mesa Dam and on the Madison River in Montana . Both got considerable national acclaim .
The loss of this huge bug and half of the other bug life is a monumental fisheries tragedy and a significant loss to the economic value of this once outstanding fishery .
For those who might not have witnessed it firsthand, let me describe it . Words can hardly do it justice .
The Willow Flies were so abundant in the Sheriff Ranch area that I had to turn on my windshield wipers out on Highway 40 half a mile north of the river . And that only smeared the whole windshield . I even slowed down because the highway was getting slippery .
There were bugs flying as high as I could see with my naked eye with the sun at my back .
And the willows along the river were bending over with so many bugs crawling up to dry their wings .
Trout of all sizes were having a feeding frenzy both on the surface and under .
Sometimes as I was removing the hook a bug or two would crawl out of the fish’s mouth, ready to go back to the water or fly off .
Needless to say the Willow Fly hatch on these rivers was the highlight of the whole season. And the trout’s main food source all year.
It is a monumental fisheries tragedy to lose his once magnificent fishery .
It does not make sense to totally kill off what was one of the very best trout fisheries in the West just to get about 5 percent of the new water the Front Range needs to make up the projected shortfall of 500,000 acre-feet by the year 2050. Climate change is already forcing us to get very serious about how to adapt to hotter and drier soon with water conservation, efficiency and buying ag water .
The Windy Gap Whirling Disease Worm Farm should be bypassed and the flushing flows should be restored to keep this project from totally killing the river and to give the river a chance to return to a biologically healthy river worthy of the name The Colorado River.