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Flooded-out hatchery sends fish a swimming

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WATSON LAKE, Colo. -- The Bellvue-Watson Fish Hatchery near Ft. Collins was flooded by the storm the super storm two weeks ago.

Dirt and debris from the Poudre River flowed over fields, blew out dams and filled ponds so full that they too sent water into the raceways at the spawning ground for ten inch trout.

Now, as a result of the storm, the fish are in rivers, streams and lakes across Northern Colorado.

“The damage to the facility will take a couple of years to get up and running again,” said Ken Kehmeier, aquatic biologist. “But for the angler, all this means is that there are fish everywhere in northeast Colorado.”

The Fly-Fisher Group is one of the state’s best outfitters, leading groups of up to 80 people on fishing trips much of the year.

Owner, Matt Burkett said while the flood will change fishing in the state, it hasn’t really hurt the industry.

“With all the water running so high, fish are biting, and feeding very aggressively, so that’s a great thing for people who like to fish,” said Burkett. “We hope the weather holds for several weeks so people can get out and enjoy this bounty of fish that got away so to speak.”

More than 300,000 fish are raised in the hatchery each year. Those fish are now swimming to a fishing hole near you.

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