Water Conditions Rio Grande Basin

Today we took a drive up the Rio Grande to Antlers Lodge near Creede.  Paula had some work there and I got to see the lodge with the Rio Grande passing by the deck of the restaurant. It was a beautiful day and The sun felt good on my face.

I had discussed previously about the ash problems in the water. There are many problems this can cause including, warmer water, loss of insect life, change in the pH of the water and large amounts of sediment in the stream and others.  

The water in the main river was better than I recall last week and I think this is due to the number of clear streams which flow into the Rio, diluting the ash flows.  

After Paula's meeting, we drove on up the valley to Road Canyon Reservoir to inspect the conditions there. The water, while green with algae and maybe turning over some with the summer heat, looked normal to me. A man fishing on the dock with a rapala said he had been having good luck there after work and both he and the kids had caught plenty of fish over the weekend.  

The fires near there really stayed away from the lake and the shorelines remain clear and clean of any fire damage. There was one fold a boat on the lake fishing at the time but I didn't see them catch anything in the time we were there. We didn't have our poles due to being on a working trip and the water was full of too much algae for me to fish anyway. In all the years I have been fishing here, I can honestly say that Road Canyon didn't look any different that in other years. Having said that, the ash flows may still be coming down and will eventually reach the lake but for now, fishing is still very active there.

The Rio Grande is murky with the runoff from the streams to the south of the river. But the other feeder creeks such as Deep Creek and others feed in clean water to the river from the west and north and this helps dilute the dirty water from the affected areas. So while it is dirty, its not to the point where the fish are going to start suffering or dying.

I look for fishing to get better than its been in a long time as soon as the monsoon rains stop. The fish will not have been fished for in the river for a month or more by then and it should be fantastic as the water clears somewhat.  

I was also at Big Meadows but only for about 30 minutes. People were catching fish and the boaters who were trolling seemed to be catching fish on a regular basis. My dad and I had gone into Million Reservoir and found it so full of algae that it was just no fun. We had no bites there and so went on up the road to Beaver Lake. Its getting lower now and in a week or so will be down where it was last October.  

The access there is too hard for my dad and I so we just had a good look around, enjoyed the sunshine and the lake view and came on home. Its not always about catching fish but about the journey.  

We are all on that journey in life and if you miss out on the sights along the way, you end up without memories to tide you over in later years. Go out and enjoy the mountains while you can as they are all here for our enjoyment.  

Logger Days in South Fork

This morning marks the annual Logger Days in South Fork Colorado which is a tribute to the men and women who established the mountain regions and supplied the nation with the lumber needed to make it what it is today.

We often forget that everything we do and have comes from the earth in one form or another. From the plastics and gas and metal that makes up our cars to the lumber and other products that build our houses to the food that graces our tables, it all comes from the earth. Much of it like the agriculture and forestry is renewable. If properly managed, we can make it produce over and over again and oftentimes at a much higher rate than was previously done thereby providing for more people per acre in production. In 1950 the average farmer fed about 29 ppl worldwide. Today that same farmer feeds 155 people. The same is true of the timber industry. With the advent of the timber farms in the nation, lumber companies can produce more wood products than ever before with far less waste. One company in Georgia is even using the leftover branches from logging for sugar production. So we see that progress has definitely changed even this old industry. 

Today, we celebrate the methods used for many generations with crosscut and axe competitions and I sure appreciate how hard the men must have worked in the past harvesting trees.  

Recently, Paula and I were up on an old road in the mountains here and found an area that had been cut probably 30 years ago. The new growth was spaced out more than what was previously there and there was a lot of grass and other browse for the elk and deer and other animals. Also, there was no beetle kill in this area. This is a huge observation as some of the forest here is approaching 100% kill from those beetles. That makes a forest virtually worthless for any use including wildlife and also is a real factor in snow melting faster without the shade from the trees and faster runoff due to the dead trees not using any water. By not cutting out the dead trees when it started, we basically are going to lose an entire forest.  

That is what caused the fires of late and will continue to be an issue for the next 20 years I believe.  

So come celebrate with us those men and women who helped to build this nation, eat some great food and buy some superb crafted items at the booths there. The day is gorgeous with Rocky Mountain blue skies and light breeze.  

The hungry logger carving withstood the fires and is a reminder of the hard work that built America.