West of Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Oct 2003
Alto Alto - Fishing Club Low down - Good News
Alto Alto Paddlers,
I visited the Lincoln Hills Fishing Club and meet with Cody DeGuelle, Fisheries Manager/Senior Biologist last Friday regarding us paddling through Alto Alto. After some concerning comments from locals and seeing their expansion, I wanted to find out their position on paddlers.
First off, Alto Alto is not a high quality run to most paddlers, but it is fun and close for us in Nederland and Gilpin. We paddle it a few times a year, when it is flowing. For anyone considering the run, it is a shallow, sharp rock, fast, class III+ along a railroad with one shallow IV/IV+ at normal flows. The IV rapid is in a cool, but short canyon. After the IV, it is class III for a mile or so of nicely designed fish drops, a natural rapid here and there, and then finishes up with a mile or so of creeky III character.
It is important to understand that these folks are as serious about their fishing, as we are boating. The club and members, I believe are very wealthy, C level execs, dignitaries, public figures, guides, etc. who want a high end, private fishing experience. They have spent a bunch of money and have done a lot of work to restore the land, river, fish, and ecosystem from the mining, ice hauling, gravel, railroad, and DWB damage over the years.
Cody was very nice and accepting to us paddling through during runoff. He is okay with us scouting, portaging, and running safety for the bigger tunnel rapid. He was also cool with us portaging, if a tree comes down, as well as us getting out on land to help any swimmer in an emergency situation. He asked that we do keep moving, donít fish, be quite, and be polite to anyone fishing. Try to avoid them as much as possible and of course do not hang out in eddies and surf, if there are fishermen around. Also, they have removed the drop and bridge debris at the main entrance bridge. This was a problem last year as rocks from the bridge were pulled off in high water and were cutting boats open, so no need to get out and portage there this year, just keep moving down stream.
They own or lease land from the firehouse in Pinecliff up to above Rollinsville/highway where you go under the railroad. There are also other private property owners on this stretch. In terms of put-ins, I am not sure if we can still use the Rollinsville highway bridge, or the bridge past the railroad under crossing? Our crew usually uses the Jumbo Mountain put-in further upstream to extend the trip. If we start to see no trespassing signs at the lower put-ins, use the Jumbo Mountain put-in.
The take-out that we typically use is below Isle of the Pines, where the yellow sign with the fire truck on it is. They do not own that property and it may be private, but no one has ever said anything to us. Do not go below that as there are no other takeouts before that ugly bridge. I do not think it is okay to pull out anywhere further upstream including by South Beaver Road, but I do not know for sure?
As with all sensitive stretches of river, do the right thing and we should not have any problems.