From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
Flows on the Upper Arkansas River support the most rafted river in the country and gold medal fisheries on a 102-mile reach.
A large part of that is the voluntary flow management agreement that has been in place for 25 years among Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District and other water users.
The Southeastern district board unanimously renewed the agreement [April 21].
“Some of us have concentrated on the rafting, but there’s an awful lot of fishing going on,” said Jim Broderick, executive director.
The agreement maintains flows at Wellsville, just outside Salida, at 700 cubic feet per second from July 1 to Aug. 15 to support rafting. That’s achieved by timing the release of up to 10,000 acre-feet of Fryingpan- Arkansas water from Turquoise and Twin Lakes in Lake County.
“What a backyard we have here!” said Bob Hamel, an outfitter representing the Arkansas River Outfitters Association. “July is our busiest month, so the help you can give us is much appreciated.”
The program also helps fish by stabilizing flows during late summer, winter and spring.
For instance, during the caddis fly hatch which began this week, the flows on the Arkansas River are kept lower than they might naturally be, and even though it might be advantageous to move water in April.
“It’s an amazing balance. All these things are benefiting from the way you’ve been operating,” Hamel said.