More bites in the Blue River? | VailDaily.com
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More bites in the Blue River?

Brad Odekirk / Summit DailyBoulders are being rearranged in the Blue River in effort to make more trout habitat.
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SILVERTHORNE ” Fly fishermen Paul Trottnow and Mark Whittaker have been casting their lines into the Blue River in Silverthorne since the early 1980s, a time when they say it was next to impossible to catch a fish in town.

The Denver anglers say they’re pleased about a project that began Monday meant to improve the living conditions for trout in 4,000 feet of the Gold Medal river, thus increasing the odds for fishing fanatics to feel that familiar tug on the line.

“Anything that’s going to improve the fish habitat is a good thing,” Whittaker said Sunday morning as he donned waders and prepared his fly rod for a sunny afternoon of fishing behind Silverthorne Town Hall.



“They’ve done pretty well so far (with past projects), so I can’t really complain too much,” Trottnow added.

Golden-based Ecological Resource Consultants began a four-week project Monday morning meant to improve fish habitat in a section of the river behind Silverthorne Town Hall and a larger portion a few miles downstream.



“We’ll have a large excavator working in the river … to try to make the channel a little more meandering or sinuous than it is now,” said Troy Thompson, president of the company.

The goal is to create a series of riffles, pools and glides to boost the food supply for the fish and create a wintertime refuge for trout when the water is lower. The changes also should encourage fishermen to spread out along the river.

Thompson’s team will install steps to make walking down the river easier, stabilize the slope and revegetate sections of the riverbank.



The fish will be displaced for the duration of the project, and while the work will put some stress on the trout, they’ll return when the work ends, Thompson said.

The project was originally supposed to include a third stretch of river near the pedestrian bridge at the Nike outlet store, but town officials changed their minds because of a proposed kayak park in the vicinity.

The project is the result of a $120,000 Colorado Division of Wildlife Fishing is Fun grant the town of Silverthorne received earlier this year.

Whittaker and Trottnow agreed that the fishing in Silverthorne has vastly improved in the past two decades. Even if they have to find a new fishing hole for the short term, the project is not going to stop them from spending their weekends at the Blue.

“The fishing’s good up here, and the sights are even better,” Whittaker said.

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