Originally Posted by Andy H.
Thanks for your involvement and bringing your knowledge of the issue to MB. Please clarify for us: if we boaters were to get good shoulder flows, would there be a detrimental impact on the river ecology resulting in damage to the fish population?
Andy I don't know. I think it is probably a really complicated question. You kind of have to separate the question of ecology with the question of fisheries management.
The DOW thinks that the fish have to work much harder to feed, spawn and emerge at flows above native during those periods that traditionally would have been low...had there been any fish in the Ark to worry about in those days.
And in my mind that gets to the real issue. Brown trout are an introduced, non-native, sport fish that are managed for the sole purpose of being stuck in the lip with a hook. Now I happen to enjoy fly fishing almost as much as paddling so I am in favor of finding ways that both recreational activities can thrive, but that perspective (that we are talking about two recreational pursuits not protecting some pristine, native species) is important to keep in mind.
Like all things it comes down to compromise. In my humble opinion if there was a way that flows could taper down from 700cfs after 8/15 to around 500cfs and then maintained until mid-September that would give us a month of really quality paddling when the weather still allows and people are still psyched to be paddling. The river is really fishable at that flow. Then maybe have a slow ramp up to run-off in April that would let people get back into the river before run-off. Of course this could only happen on years when water is available in upstream reservoirs and needs to be moved downstream during those time periods.