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River: Clear Creek

Fishing Clear Creek in Clear Creek County in Rafting Season

Post By: KrisKelly      Posted: 7/5/2019 5:13:40 PM     Points: 0    
Curious if anyone can chime in here with personal experience. Or better yet, if anyone has legal knowledge that would be great.

I grew up fishing Clear Creek from Georgetown down to the bottom of the canyon. Every summer for the past few years I've ended up finding a nice deep, calm pool to throw a line into, and almost without fail as soon as I find some trout the rafters come. Last week was a particularly frustrating incident as I had a nice cutbow hooked and they just stomped ashore and draged their raft over my line. Caught the 14"er but it was hectic! The pullout is on public property in the canyon below Idaho Springs.
I'm curious, do the rafters have any responsibility to accommodate me since I was there first? Do they have some legal right of way I'm unaware of just because they're rafters? Seems to me that in sharing public land there should be some respect for a person who was standing there before you came along.

I'm not particularly vindictive but I live in the are and have a number of friends and family that have had similar run-ins with rafters. I've got half a mind to get a dozen of us and set up folding chairs along the whole calm, deep bank and cast out, and refuse to move when the herd shows up.
 Reply by: bron      Posted: 7/5/2019 6:13:02 PM     Points: 43732
I was up there today. Can you fish parts of Chicago Creek just above the rafters and avoid the chaos?
 Reply by: solidwarrior      Posted: 7/6/2019 7:15:43 AM     Points: 110
not the point.. chicago creek is fine.. but the "rafters" do need to acquire some COMMON SENSE.!
 Reply by: Abel1      Posted: 7/6/2019 7:42:23 AM     Points: 206
They may argue that they were there first. As in the launched up above and planned that area to be their take out. Were they just stopping to rest or were their vehicles parked there? I know its frustrating but when I fished there my line was never out so far that I couldn't pull it in so they could pass. I was drifting flies and they were constantly rafting through. I still had a good time and caught several. Try to get along because there will never be enough rules/laws to accommodate all and even if there were they would be broken by both sides. Work together. You may run into them again and next time things might work out in your favor.
 Reply by: fishMA      Posted: 7/6/2019 9:04:34 AM     Points: 110
That area is basically a boat ramp and the commercial companies are paying fees to use the area as well as being one of the more productive industries in clear creek county
 Reply by: hookemhogs      Posted: 7/6/2019 5:08:12 PM     Points: 356
I have no problem sharing the river with kayakers and rafters and other fisherman but just because the rafters pay a fee that doesn't mean they get extra rights on public waters anymore than a guide would just because he has a client with them. If you are fishing a section of the river they should do their best to give you room to fish and on the same note you should not fish in a spot that is a put in or take out spot. Often time there is a hazard or higher class of water below a take out spot that may make it dangerous for the rafters to continue.
That being said I have had issues on clear creak with rafting group where a guide told his clients to splash me and make extra noise when they came by me. That guide got pulled from his raft so we could discuss sharing the river and respecting others that were using it. I have little patience for poor manners especially by those who are guiding others.
 Reply by: richw88      Posted: 7/6/2019 6:28:17 PM     Points: 23
Most rafters aren't anglers. Most PEOPLE aren't anglers. Non-anglers don't understand enough about it to know when and how they're disturbing your enjoyment. (Cripes, a lot of anglers don't seem to know, do they?) To them you're just another user on the creek.
Throw in the "group mentality" that dictates if the other 15 people in the rafts don't think what they're doing is rude, why should I? Should I speak up and try to change the plans of the whole group just because you look peeved?

I would NOT hold a sit-in and prevent their use of the rest stop, or whatever it is. First, there are probably 100 rafters on the creek for every angler this time of the year. Second, if they were forced to drift past and someone, exhausted and sore from paddling, fell in and was lost just downstream, you and your friends would get some hard questions from the authorities.

Just accept that conflicting activities are going to have conflicting priorities and practices. You don't live in a wilderness - you're forced to exist with others every day, and this is just one of your burdens to bear. It may not be right, but it's life.
 Reply by: skiman      Posted: 7/6/2019 8:12:12 PM     Points: 2572
I live very close to the Arkansas, and if I want to fish it, I get on it at sunup and fish before the rafting companies get going for the day. No problem.
After Labor Day, things really slow down and I donít have to deal with the crowds. This year, the snow melt and run off is epic, so folks are really into the river.
I guess what Iím saying is adapt, improvise and over come. Lifeís too short to be uptight about situations you canít control,
 Reply by: Bubba02STi      Posted: 7/6/2019 11:24:38 PM     Points: 515
To answer your question on legalities the answer is no. They have the same right to use the water as everyone else. They donít need to accommodate you. The only time you would be able to take legal action is if someone were to come over to you and start harassing you about fishing. Early example of a guide telling the rafters to splash the angler or after shoring proceeding to interfere with your fishing.THAT we are very much protected on.

As for the guide (in hopes) he is concerned about the people on his raft and also like stated he was probably using that particular shore to pull out before any more serious water down river. Or it could very well be a break spot. If you have ever done any rafting or kayaking you would understand how difficult it is to pull out in fast moving water. Now as for being a guide they end up doing about 90% of the not-so-fun labor on their own. Add in how ridiculously high the flows are right now, which makes for some epic kayaking and rafting, and all the people that have been killed this year, the pilot of that raft is more concerned about the safety of HIS/HER people and running into you where they are trying to shore before being worried about you losing a fish.

I know itís not what you want to hear, and I get it, it sucks. However it is that time of year and WE have to share the water. IMO go talk to the rafting companies and ask them about their routes, where they put in/pull out, take breaks etc. Bring a map so they can show you, and just explain that you are wanting to make sure both parties are staying out of each otherís way as much as possible. Or just hit smaller rivers that arenít raft/kayak friendly until the flows die down (which will probably be fall at this rate).
 Reply by: Luke the Dog      Posted: 7/12/2019 9:33:13 AM     Points: 37
You could fish somewhere else for the 4-6 weeks the rafters are really thick and avoid the drama...
 Reply by: Ajax5240      Posted: 7/12/2019 10:55:27 AM     Points: 34841
Somewhere on a rafting forum there is someone likely making a post about a fisherman that would not get out of the way when they were trying to land the boat on the one spot they are able to land in stiff currents.....

If you believe the fees and tax money they generate for the local economy there would not play into the decision from local enforcement... You would be wrong.
 Reply by: ScottyK      Posted: 7/12/2019 4:03:47 PM     Points: 316
Skiman has it right usual.
 Reply by: brookieflyfisher      Posted: 7/12/2019 5:34:29 PM     Points: 6168
It's all been said at this point: don't fish at put-ins or take-outs, rafts are supposed to avoid you but that's really tough on a little creek like Clear Creek, and the responsibility to avoid one another is a two-way street.

Here's what I'll add:
I tend to treat floaters and boaters as a part of the scenery. They're things you have to deal with, like the weather. Unlike the weather, I've noticed they rarely kill the bite...I've caught plenty of fish during heavy "tube hatches".

It's also important to be pleasant with the people floating sure to say hello, ask them how their day's been, etc. Be an ambassador for our sport!

That said, I don't hesitate to report littering, inebriation, or other illegal activity. The chances of an enforcement action are pretty slim, but reporting those things to local law enforcement or *more importantly* the appropriate federal agency (likely USFS for Clear Creek) can make a difference when agencies put together their short- and long-term recreational use planning studies. That tends to happen every few years. Reporting conflicts can help agencies create solutions that can help reduce future conflict. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
 Reply by: esoxrocks      Posted: 7/12/2019 10:40:52 PM     Points: 2505
Rafters are gonna raft and yakers are gonna yak. They canít magically hover in the middle of a class 4 rapid to wait for your drift, and they will always eddy-out at the bottom of the drop, right in the pool (aka eddy).Thatís just how it works. We can choose to get worked up about it or not...but it wonít change anything. Personally if I want to stream fish, Iíll take a day off midweek, go very early, or go off season because if paddlers arenít the problem, the crowds will be.
 Reply by: Mr MVP      Posted: 7/24/2019 3:01:06 PM     Points: 55
Interesting answers, all good. I had the same problem last year where a guide took the opportunity to have a few of his clients leave the boat to experience a dunking right in the deeper pool I was fishing. I could do nothing about it beyond telling him that was a bit rude. His response was it was everybodys river. One jerk among the 8-9 boats that came thru that day. Most were friendly and some actually apologized for the intrusion. But he was right in a way. It is public access and we all need to get along. Those raft companies do add more to the immediate economy than I do. Avoid the rafters by frequenting smaller waters. There are a lot along the front range.
 Reply by: VolcanoSteve      Posted: 8/7/2019 9:53:48 AM     Points: 59
I fish the Yampa in downtown Steamboat in afternoons, in the summers. It's a never ending parade of tubes, sups and rafts. The fish have clearly adapted - I've had fish take a fly within 3 feet of kids having water fights on inner tubes. They are having fun, and not always aware of other river users. It's just another variable to contend with while fishing - as others have said, adapt.
 Reply by: Inlandsharpie777      Posted: 8/7/2019 9:14:21 PM     Points: 255
As a rafting and fishing guide I'll tell you right now that's either just them being a jerk, or their outfit having very poor ethical standards. It is common etiquette to give shore fisherman ample room, unless there is no other way around.

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