Yesterday I took a run down to the South Platte River, just south of the Denver city limits. My good friend Jon Emert in tow, we were ostensibly seeking carp.
The South Platte River is considered a dirty place – people don’t expect to see fishermen there, particularly not fly-fishermen. Par for the course, we were repeatedly (and quite rudely) mocked by passing cyclists. Not just any cyclists, but seemingly die-hard professional racing types, at least according to appearance (denoted by their carbon fiber bikes, sponsor-laden jerseys, and Christmas dinner flab hanging over their ballet tights). If those loft-dwelling, latte-sipping, bluetooth-toting, faux-environmentalists only knew. Actually, some of us would rather they didn’t.
We spotted just two carp all afternoon. Yearlings, maybe ten inches each, scooting across the skinny water. Could the Water Quality Control Commission, who gracefully denied a petition to keep the cold water designation on this section of river, be right?
Unfortunately, there are now at least two [more] anglers that know for certain they’re absolutely wrong. The brown trout pictured here was caught January 10, 2010, on the urban section of the South Platte River, by Mr. Emert. Brown trout are unquestionably a cold water species. This particular brown trout was colorful, muscular, and completely un-scarred. Its fins were wholly intact, unlike the fish you occasionally see who have to fight hard for their meals. It seems clear to us that it had found a way to adapt to its surroundings (foul-mouthed cyclists notwithstanding), and with vigor.
The fish spent a minute or so in and out of the water, while we carefully removed the Rainey’s Carp Teaser it had engulfed deep and snapped a few photos. Not a drop of blood was shed, and upon release it shot back into the pool from whence it came like nothing had ever happened.
Maybe the DOW snuck in while we weren’t looking and stocked the river with a supply of five year old brown trout. But…I doubt it.
Cesspool worthy of nothing but warm-water scavengers? Blech.