Author: Tucker Ladd
The current situation up in Waterton Canyon has been a hot topic this week. After our post yesterday on the current conditions up in Waterton Canyon, we were contacted by Randy Hampton, Statewide Public Information Officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, as he wanted to fill us all in on what his agency is doing to address the concerns of the angling public. As such, we have decided to give Randy the floor here so to speak, and fill all of us in on what is going on up in Waterton Canyon.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife was alerted by anglers on Monday that fishing was extremely slow in Waterton Canyon over the weekend. This seemed counter to what many anglers had been waiting for and expected after an 18-month closure of the canyon for a Denver Water project to take sediment out of Strontia Springs Reservoir. Upon hearing concerns from several different anglers, our aquatic biologist for the area – Jeff Spohn – headed up to Waterton to take a look on Monday afternoon.
Jeff’s first visit Monday afternoon was to get an idea of the situation. He talked to a number of anglers and did some looking around on his own. Initially, he was concerned because the stories he was hearing weren’t real positive. Anglers were definitely having a tough go of things. He did see some small fish in the water and did talk to some folks who were catching a few smaller fish. It was enough that Jeff decided to head back out on Tuesday to get a better look at the situation.
Here in Colorado we have a ton of fly fishing enthusiasts, and each and every one of them has a favorite stream or spot on the river that provides both the serenity and thought of fly fishing, as well as the thrill of a good catch. But that’s most often on a stream with the current heading in one direction, or on a plains or mountain lake where the only real waves are made by pesky motor boat operators.
For surf fishing, you have to travel to the ocean – the Northeast, the Southeast and Florida, the Gulf Coast, stretches both north and south on the West Coast, or you could go to any number of exotic locations throughout Central and South America, Asia, Australia, Africa, Europe – well, there’s plenty of ocean and beaches throughout the world, that’s for sure. What ties them altogether is the fact that there are plenty of fish in the sea.
Fishing from the beach or jetty into the surf is a time-honored tradition, practiced for centuries by peoples throughout the world lucky enough to live in close proximity to a beach. The reason is simple: small food fish, insects and flies, crustaceans and all kinds of other things that bigger game fish like to prey upon like to hang along the coast and in the shallows. You have your tides, tide pools, surf troughs, rip currents and other anomalies of ocean movement that trap and guide the food sources, and the game fish know this and follow along for the easy meals. You also get migrations and hatchings, in specific places and at certain times of the year - these events too draw the species that anglers most cherish. Fly fishing in the surf offers its own unique challenges – and the usual heightened experience and sense of adventure and accomplishment.