Vail Valley fishing report
When is too much pressure too much?
Fish are like any other animal. They become habituated to humans the more they come in contact with them. Unlike bears and dear, which equate humans to food, fish equate humans as danger. The more a fish has been caught the spookier it will be.
I recently floated the Blue River from Green Mountain Reservoir to the confluence of the Blue and Colorado. The majority of that stretch of river is privately owned and aptly nicknamed Jurassic Park for the abundantly large amount of freakishly abnormal sized trout.
It is not uncommon to catch fish in the 30-inch range that require two hands to hold. These fish seem so out of place. If it were not for the landscape and the small river, it could easily pass for Alaska.
Fish in this stretch are so used to seeing human activity that a raft passing over them won’t even frighten them or cause them to move.
With the recent water levels only being high enough to float for the last week and every person who can row a moderately straight line floating this stretch of water; the fish have put up their guard and become increasingly harder to entice to eat a fly.
The question I bring to the table is – have these fish seen too much pressure? And should anglers take a backseat and give them a rest?
For those of us who know the history of Jurassic Park, which in short, is that it’s a private ranch that has had millions of dollars dumped into stream improvements and been stocked full of non-native species of trout. And for whatever purpose, other than the owner could and did, this stretch has become one of the best fisheries for exotic large trout.
If this river were full of wild species of naturally reproducing brown and rainbow trout, I would be a big advocate for limiting the pressure on this river. But, because it’s not, and it is full of big dumb fish you can’t find anywhere else, which is the reason why so many people float it. I say let the people have their cake and eat it too.
It’s not my dime. And if you’re going to purposely put in drop dams and weirs to keep people off what would have been a navigable river most of the year. Every one who can float this river should and does. The owner might own the land on both sides and underneath the river, but he does not own the water.
The water is a natural resource that is shared by everyone. And the day land owners claim rights to the water flowing through their property is the day outdoor enthusiasts, recreational lovers, and anglers alike will die.
Therefore, we should use the water as it is meant to be used and if that means catching someone’s pet rainbows, catch em’. I am not saying to abuse the land and harm the fish. You should treat it as if it were your own property.
Miles Comeau is a guide for Alpine River Outfitters. He can be reached at 970-926-0900.