North Fork of the South Platte River, Shawnee, CO
Boxwood Gulch is one of the premier private fishing waters in the Denver metro area. With its reputation for holding large numbers of large trout, quality habitat needed to support these fish was a vital concern. ERC was hired by Boxwood Gulch to improve the habitat and holding water for an initial 2,200 foot section of the North Fork of the South Platte River. Variable flows are one of the main challenges facing this fishery. Located below Roberts Tunnel, this reach of water is subject to extreme low flows in winter months when no tunnel releases are made as well as extended periods of high flows throughout the summer and fall months. ERC’s design addressed these flow challenges and the need for significant habitat. Improvements included a wide array of techniques aimed to optimize habitat throughout the varying characteristics of the site. Larger cascade features were utilized in the narrow, steeper canyon sections. Longer riffle and bend pools were created where they fit well into the stream alignment and a deep, meandering thalweg with extensive instream cover was provided throughout. The success of ERC’s initial improvements has led to two additional phases of work being undertaken. Completed improvements provide a great variety of angling opportunities for all types of fly fishing over the full spectrum of flow conditions.