Colorado Trout Dazed and Confused?
Colorado’s legalization of marijuana in 2012 has pleased not only those looking to openly burn down but also trout found in select waters impacted by the proliferation of marijuana grow farms and processing facilities. A section of Clear Creak located outside of Golden, CO known as the ‘Green Mile’ has recently been heavily targeted by fishermen where a bud processing facility discharges THC-laden effluent into the waterway. Trout on the Green Mile gorge on anything and everything cast into its runs and riffles. Prior to 2012 this section had a modest population of 1,600 fish per mile increasing ten-fold to nearly 16,500 in 2014. The population of rather large and easy to catch trout aren’t spooked by anglers, seem to have no interest in reproduction, and are “stupid easy to catch” according to Fat Sam, a local angler and ganja aficionado.
Similarly, burn pit and compost pile runoff from area marijuana farms has contributed to elevated THC levels in several of the state’s rivers including the South Platte where anglers have been known to have 250 to 300 fish days. Gone are the frustrations of matching the hatch in this stretch as anglers find success with the ’Scoobie Snack’, a brown biscuit shaped fly that trout find irresistible. Trout on the South Platt are often lethargic for days at a time followed by manic feeding frenzies. “Trout reproduction has essentially stopped as they appear to concentrate on maintaining a quality buzz” theorized DNR spokesperson Dr. Joseph Dolan.
Recently, anglers have been found chumming with bong resin, bunk weed, and dried up pot brownie crumbs to fire up a good bite. “Sacrificing my bud is a rough way to catch fish but it’s sick how great it works” noted a local fishermen and area high school science teacher who asked to remain nameless. A recent court decision affirmed the right of trout fishermen to chum with marijuana, a practice known as spreading out the ‘giggle nuggets’ or ‘Willie Nelson-ing’ a run.
On a strange note, some fish in these sections have been found beaching themselves in what is believed to be paranoia-driven suicide. Others are seen swimming in circles or floating around, belly up, in some of the eddies and whirlpools for hours at a time.
Until regulators get a handle on pollution emanating from grow farms, trout in these waters will likely spend their days dazed and confused and quite possibly pondering the meaning of their relatively short lives.