In August, the Bagley wildfire took aim at California’s iconic McCloud River. The blaze consumed more than 46,000 acres before it fizzled, including old growth forest within an unburned river canyon. CalTrout’s Craig Ballenger reports on the effects of the fire on angling and the fishery.
While the McCloud seems to have survived the fire with little damage, the upcoming winter and spring seasons will see the biggest impacts.
According to Stroud, the worst-case scenario involves a large rainstorm, which would wash newly available sediment right into the river, both clouding it and strangling some of the McCloud’s excellent habitat.
The best case scenario involves a series of small storms; just wet enough to wet the burned soil and grow vegetation.
Fortunately, the Forest Service is already attempting to mitigate the impacts of their firelines, and because water quality studies have been conducted at the Preserve for years, it’s possible to measure the impacts on the river (a testament to the value of long-term monitoring programs on our trout waters).
Tom Bie is the founder, editor, and publisher of The Drake. He started the magazine in 1998 as an annual newsprint publication based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He then moved it to Steamboat, Colorado (1999), Boulder, Colorado (2001), and San Clemente, California (2004), as he took jobs as managing editor at Paddler, Senior Editor at Skiing, and Editor-in-Chief at Powder, respectively. Tom and The Drake are now both based in Denver, Colorado, where The Drake is finally all grows up(Swingers, 1996) to a quarterly magazine.