October 1, 2013
Author: Will Rice
The Aspen Daily News is reporting potential issues on the Fryingpan River near Basalt, CO and a multi-pronged assessment by the Roaring Fork Conservancy to better understand what is going on. The initial alarm was raised by fly fishing guides on the river.
“When the first reports started to trickle in about something unusual on the Fryingpan River, Sharon Clarke thought a few fishermen were simply having bad days on the river. The hatches were occurring below the Ruedi Reservoir dam, but there was a lack of the insects in the mid-river portion above Basalt. The Fryingpan for about four months last year flowed only at 39 or 40 cubic feet per second (cfs), the minimum instream requirement, compared to a winter average of 70 to 100 cfs. Low winter flows impact rivers in two ways, Clarke said. It leads to the buildup of anchor ice that, when it breaks free, “basically scrapes the bottom of the river,” she said. That can damage aquatic vegetation and the survival rates of the insects, which, in turn, can be detrimental to fish.”