One of my fishing holes has undergone a massive overhaul since I moved to town. Montrose took a great stretch of the Uncompaghre through town and turned it into a phenomenal water sports park. What used to be series of tame drops and pools is now big waves and shockingly large eddies. But the coolest part of our whitewater park is at the edge. We have fish ladders, a space beside the concrete drops where fish can theoretically hop right on up the river. We built a fish-friendly kayak playground.
We went to the Unc’ last Saturday as the rain clouds finally lifted. The sky had unloaded a lot of water, which merged in snowmelt fed creeks and all came roaring into town. The river was a wild brown beast. But those eddies were calm. I put out a line and tried to catch trout swimming out of their ladders and into the quiet. I got a few nibbles, but more hooks lost to flood debris. But it was fun fishing next to the big water.
The sun came out and so did the kayaks-a burst of yellow bobbing deep in the madness, then a blue one spinning like a top on the wave. It has been a concern to see how all river users would play together and I think I saw worry in those crazed wave runners’ eyes that I might throw a line in the eddy they sought for relief from the adrenaline. The thing is, I fish and I paddle. I get it. We are all students of water and should be able to stay out of each other’s way, even on those epic days where there is much the river wants to say to us. My smiles of admiration and their nods indicated we were getting along.
I’m proud of the Montrose Water Sports Park with our fish ladders and waves. I think we’ll all play just fine with each other.