Fryingpan, Other Rivers at Mercy of Water Managers

You’d think that with the surplus of water mentioned in yesterday’s news, classic destination rivers like the Bighorn, Madison, and Fryingpan would enjoy perfect conditions — or at least a measured release of higher water — that would guarantee consistent flows, longer seasons and higher incomes for the locals who depend on fly fishing. All the downstream needs — irrigation and water supplies — would be satisfied and then some. But apparently too much water is just as confusing for water managers as too little — and often makes the cracks in the system more obvious.
Scott Conden describes the disappointment experienced by Basalt, Colorado, when Bureau of Reclamation decisions led to a virtual shutdown of the Fryingpan this summer. “The issue goes well beyond frustrations of wealthy tourists who cannot catch fat fish. Flyfishing on the Fryingpan attracts anglers from throughout the state, region, nation and even overseas. Basalt’s economy was already wounded this summer by the recession. Town officials suspect poor fishing conditions contributed to plummeting sales tax revenues.” In the Aspen Times.

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