Blue River Fly Classic

Blue River Fly Classic
A One Pattern Fly Event

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Chronicles Of A Struggling Creek - The Dam

This morning I went in search of an answer to a question that has been heavy on my mind here of late.  With the creek struggling as much as it is and with the flow having ceased in the upper sections of the creek the question, for me, became was something restricting the upstream flow?

For years, I have heard of a private dam upstream but never have I seen it up close.  Using Google I located the dam on satellite imaging.  From the google map it looked to be a nicely done construction.  However what couldn't be determined was whether the builder had included some kind of water release in the structure besides overflow from the top of the dam.

Right after sunrise I entered the creek a quarter of a mile downstream from the dam.  Less than 25 yards upstream, the place this part of the creek ceased to flow was encountered.

Not far upstream the creek suddenly widen to 25 or 30 feet and this run was probably a good 100 yards or better of standing water two feet or so deep.  The water was simply trapped and couldn't flow downstream.

At the end of this long and wide run, the creek skinned down to a stream of two or three foot water and I knew then the dam was just ahead.  As I made a bend, there in front of me stood the concrete testament of a man's work for whatever reason he had in mind.

With my first glance of the dam the question I had in mind was answered.  About half way down from the top of the dam is an eight or ten inch pipe.  This morning there was only a trickle of water coming out of the pipe.  Upstream from the dam the water is stagnant and looks to be a couple of feet below the top of the dam.  This pipe goes through the dam where I imagine there is an elbow with a standpipe. 

So, the builder of this dam deserves credit for incorporating some kind of release.  There does appear to be a rather hefty restriction in the pipe by way of some kind of shrub or small tree that has apparently taken root.  This morning I had no solution as to how to free this obstruction and upon inquiring I have learned the owner of this dam lives in Florida and I have no contact information. 

I don't know exactly how I feel about dams.  On one hand I know they have created a lot of wonderful tailwater fisheries.  On the other hand though I also believe they have changed or altered the natural course of things... and fish and their habitats. 

With answer in hand it was time for me to leave.  Instead of wading back downstream I cut across a pasture and pick up the road for a quicker return to the prairie schooner.  Saving time was important this morning because I hoped to battle just one carp.

Traveling to Charlie's Pasture, where there is still inflow from a confluence, a rust colored Creek Critter of Charlie's hand went out across the flat water to the far bank.  A carp absolutely slammed the fly on the blind and we began a chin-chin.

I'll have to say that for a small young carp this was the toughest fighting fish I've had on the rod in a long, long time.  This little common carp simply would not quit.  Finally I decided to walk-the-dog and took him downstream where he could be gently beached in three of four inches of water.

The thought of staying longer was on my mind, but breakfast with Miss Carol sounded good too.  Miss Carol won out. 

1 comment:

Gregg said...


That dam creates no tailwater, it is simply there for whatever purpose. Here it would serve irrigation, but adequate releases would have to be insured as determined by the IDFG. Do your best to locate the manager on site and find out more. That thing is na abomination.