Calling all fly fishers: Granby opens untouched section of fishing beats
July 18, 2017
The anglers of Middle Park have plenty of choices when it comes to dipping a line within Grand County. Most of our seasoned casters have favored spots and honey holes whose often-secret locations they jealously guard.
But soon enough they will have a new option when seeking out their slippery prey. This May the town of Granby plans to open a mostly untouched section of the Colorado River to anglers with the opening of the fishing beats within the larger Shorefox property.
Anglers will be able to pay a reservation fee for a day pass to one of five sections, called beats, of the Colorado that will be open to public fishing by permit access. Town officials are still working out some of the specific details but Granby Parks Supervisor Peter Butrymovich said the town hopes to have folks begin fishing on the property by mid-May.
"There are still a few things to finish out there," said Butrymovich. "Our signs just came in. I will probably be out there next week putting them up on the river."
According to Butrymovich the river will be broken down into five different beats for anglers. The beats will be open on a rotational basis and a schedule will determine which beats are open which days. Each beat will be available to anglers for two days, and then will go into a two-day rest period before being reopened for fishing.
Butrymovich explained the rotation policy is meant to, "decrease pressure on the fisheries," and ensure quality fishing opportunities can be sustained long-term. The unique nature of the five beats and two-days-on two-days-off schedule means either two or three beats will be open for reservation on any given day.
To fish on any of the open beats anglers will need to go to the Granby Town Hall to pay their reservation fee and to receive their receipt/permit that allows them to legally fish on the property. Granby has created a two tiered fee schedule for fishing on the property. Citizens with a Granby P.O. Box will be able to reserve a beat $25 while anyone who is not a resident of Granby will be charged $60 for the reservation.
As the program gets up and running the town plans to provide an online Internet option for reserving beats. Once completed citizens will be able to reserve and pay for a beat online and then print their receipt right from home.
Butrymovich noted that until the online options are up and running anyone interested in reserving a beat over the weekend will need to stop in to the Granby Town Hall to pay for the reservation before the start of the weekend. If you wait until Saturday or Sunday to try and make your reservation you will find the Town Hall closed and you will be unable to fish.
Each beat can be reserved only once per day and each reservation grants up to two anglers five hours of time on the river.
The town worked with local fly-fishing guide Jeff Ehlert to determine the exact size and contours of each beat. According to town officials the sizes of the beats all vary but they are all designed to have roughly equivalent levels of fishing quality.
"Our goal was to have quality water for two people for five hours," said Butrymovich. "We said, 'let's make these beats with those criteria in mind and also take into consideration low water and high water."
The Shorefox fishing beats will be for catch and release fishing only. Anglers are restricted to using lures and flies and barbless hooks. Additionally any anglers using the Shorefox beats must adhere to all Colorado State fishing regulations and must have a valid fishing license. The Town of Granby only provides access to the River and does not provide any equipment or license options for potential anglers.
According to Butrymovich the amount of fish within the Shorefox section of the Colorado River is high enough to technically qualify the section for Gold Medal fishery status. However, Butrymovich said when the town looked into getting the designations officials from Colorado Parks and Wildlife informed the town the section is too short to qualify for consideration.
In closing Butrymovich added the entire fishing program for the property is in the first year trial phase. “We are trying to preserve this very good fishery. We want to preserve the river. We will make changes to keep it that way. This is an evolving thing."