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Fellow flyfishermen,

I recently watched "The Hatch" and am now very interested in taking a trip to the Gunny this upcoming summer. Any strongly-held opinions out there about whether to float the river or, instead, use the "billy goat" technique and walk/wade on a particular stretch for a couple days?

Thanks much.
 

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A multiple day float would be great but you or I would need a qualified guide to negotiate the many rapids. I have walked most of the accessible water that a wading man can reach but there is so much more that can only be fished by using some type of flotation. It's a great river with quality fish to be caught even in the accessible water that I have been able to reach.
 

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After the huge fish kill this summer I would stay away, probably better to avoid most WS waters, the "HATCH" has ruined what used to be a good time for a few of us locals, I make it a point to drive the other direction during that time now!!
 

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FLYFISHGEEK said:
After the huge fish kill this summer I would stay away, probably better to avoid most WS waters, the "HATCH" has ruined what used to be a good time for a few of us locals, I make it a point to drive the other direction during that time now!!
caughbullshitcaugh
 

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FLYFISHGEEK said:
After the huge fish kill this summer I would stay away, probably better to avoid most WS waters, the "HATCH" has ruined what used to be a good time for a few of us locals, I make it a point to drive the other direction during that time now!!
Really?

The Hatch probably did more to raise awareness about the external pressures facing that river than many other efforts combined. Yes, you may have more people fishing those waters these days but you also have far more supporters who will come to the rivers defense when push comes to shove.

The small band of locals who got their "good time ruined" wouldn't be able to fight off big water interest (which will continued to look for new sources by the way - no river is safe) alone. You have to build a base of supporters that can be called upon to rally when cherished places come to the chopping block.

You need to step back and take a look at the forest because the trees are crowding your elitist, short-sighted view.

This review of the movie has a very terse message regarding your attitude:

Beyond the big bug/big fish/big canyon story line, there is a solid conservation message: rivers need friends. You can complain about the johnny-come-lately anglers who have hijacked your solitude and your secret hatch. But if you're the only one who knows about the river and its hatch, some soul-less industrial concern will turn your secret into their asset. And you and your ass(ets) will be fenced-out/submerged/bulldozed into oblivion. Eternal vigilence is the price of good fly fishing.
 

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BO DUK, our water is safe as long as the ESA exists, the endangered species act mandates minimum flows and even now the water may be owned downstream but they can't have it because of the ESA. I will continue to call in and report catches of the protected species in the canyon and the government will keep the water in the canyon.
 

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FLYFISHGEEK said:
our water is safe as long as the ESA exists
I applaud your efforts to help the NPS monitor the T&E species found in the canyon. That's honorable work.

However, you're essentially insisting that it would be a terrible thing to have others support, appreciate and fight for "your water", particularly if they actually fish it once in a while to foster that appreciation.

Hanging your hat on legislation that is a constant target by certain special interest is shortsighted and foolhardy.

You should study your conservation history. There is much to be learned from the passage of the Raker Act. Had the valley had more supporters and champions, it may have been saved.
 

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3 day float during the hatch if you have the money would be ideal. It is difficult to get a guide for those days, we are bucked up during June with return clients.

If you just want to fish, a one day float is amazing.
 

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GEEK- what species is protected under the ESA in the Black Canyon? I don't know of any trout other than Bull Trout in parts of Montana and a lot of Columbia River Basin Steelhead that are protected...those minimum flows come as a result of the Black Canyon being a National Park. National Park's water right trump even the most senior rights holders, and National Parks/National Monuments/Wilderness Areas are allowed a minimum water flow to reach their management objectives in the NP. I'm not trying to be an @$$hole, but I just took a whole semester of Natural Resources Policy so I gotta look smart and use it somewhere ;)

On the topic- I did a 3 day float through the Gunnison Gorge this summer, which is west of the Black Canyon (downstream). Pretty sweet float, but we didn't do it during the "hatch". The Black Canyon itself is extremely technical, but if you are looking for the same kind of experience, I'd say the Gunni Gorge is the way to go. Guides are reasonable down there and its really not a bad hike in. When we fished it, it was 600cfs and it was tough to bring anything but stocker fish to the surface. As a result, I fished streamers for 3 days. I'm not complaining, it was awesome, but there were really no HUGE fish that I expected. In my opinion, I think the hatch brings those big fish up, so hitting the hatch on the Gunni Gorge has got to be pretty sweet. Plus, I've heard it's less of a technical float at a higher flow. 600 was kind of a B!tch
 

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DuckHunt said:
...those minimum flows come as a result of the Black Canyon being a National Park. National Park's water right trump even the most senior rights holders, and National Parks/National Monuments/Wilderness Areas are allowed a minimum water flow to reach their management objectives in the NP.
Not quite. There had been an ongoing 30 year dispute over water in the river and the NPS wasn't upholding minimum flows. While the NPS may trump other water rights holders, they weren't exercising their rights in this case which were granted in 1978 by the "water court decree", giving the US Govt. "an absolute and conditional water right for the Black Canyon."

Read the court ruling from the '06 case here: http://www.cotrout.org/Portals/0/pdf/Order on Dispositive Motions.pdf - start on page 12 for the "Analysis of Arguments"

In 2003, Trout Unlimited, through the Colorado Water Project, worked with other conservation groups to challenge an ill-conceived agreement between the State of Colorado and federal agencies that would have resulted in a Black Canyon water right lacking in any meaningful protections for the river's ecosystem. TU and others challenged the federal-state agreement on four grounds:

1. Violation of the preservation obligations in the Park Service and Wilderness Acts
2. Failure to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act
3. Illegal disposition of federal property
4. Illegal delegation of federal agency responsibilities

In late 2006, the federal court issued its decision with conservation interests winning on all four counts. The decision set aside the federal-state agreement and ordered the Department of the Interior to take action that will satisfy its obligations to protect the Gunnison River through the park. That 2006 victory set the stage for the negotiations that led to the final settlement on flows to protect the Black Canyon.
 

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Bo Duke said:
In late 2006, the federal court issued its decision with conservation interests winning on all four counts. The decision set aside the federal-state agreement and ordered the Department of the Interior to take action that will satisfy its obligations to protect the Gunnison River through the park. That 2006 victory set the stage for the negotiations that led to the final settlement on flows to protect the Black Canyon.
Correct. And what TU won was not just minimum flows. They successfully showed that to maintain river health it was also necessary to maintain "peak and shoulder flows," i.e., something resembling historical high water patterns. And so that is what the final agreement calls for.
 

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RTHunter - I have floated and wade fish the stretch several times the last few years. Floating it is a awesome experience. Didn't pay for a guide, got the skills to get down the river myself. Hitting the hatch while floating it is somewhat of a crapshoot at least the few times I went. Putting it all together and getting down there not as easy as said, weather, bodies to help haul gear down chukar, etc. seems to take more planning. I guess paying the coin makes life easier but I honestly can't justify the cost when you can do it yourself. We caught plenty of fish on adult stones but we would really kill them on caddis in the evening. Wade fishing you have more flexablity on getting to the river at the prime time. The hikes down are not too diffcult (depending on physical status). Ute is long but fairly easy with Duncan/Bobcat being more diffcult but shorter. While wading I have hiked from Ute all the way up to Bobcat. One cliff face between Ute and Duncan that might present a challenge to some. Depending on river flows the river can be crossed to fish river right. All said, if you float and hit the hatch right it could be a trip of a lifetime. The canyon in itself is beautiful. But wading it can also be great.
 

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DuckHunt said:
what species is protected under the ESA in the Black Canyon?
X2 ???
Would pretty much have to be one of these unless some aquatic species has been added recently:

FISH

Bonytail Gila elegans FE, SE
Razorback Sucker Xyrauchen texanus FE, SE
Humpback Chub Gila cypha FE, ST
Colorado Pikeminnow Ptychocheilus lucius FE, ST
Greenback Cutthroat Trout Oncorhynchus clarki stomias FT, ST
 

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I have actually caught 2 of the T&E species near the North fork confluence, and when I got home I called in and reported it. Of course I have also seen pike as high as the powerline hole
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Muddler, BlackCanyon, SSoren: thanks fellows for the useful responses. They have convinced me to visit the Black Canyon for a couple days this summer, by raft and/or foot. If y'all know a decent guide, I'd be obliged for a PM.

For a few of the other respondents, I respect your passion. However, I would suggest that y'all not presume that I am ignorant about the value of habitat and flyfishing the right way (by the rules) - I suppose that presumption is just one of the weaknesses of this communication method.

"The Hatch," while overall a darn good piece of film, contains some of that "locals-only" attitude that makes some flyfishermen seem like spoiled surfers. And, that's too bad.

RTHunter
 
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