Carping Around the Democratic National Convention

Carping Around the Democratic National Convention: Story and photos by Tim Romano It's not Cheesman Canyon, but downtown Denver has some outstanding fishing right through town on the South Platte River. There are smallmouth, rainbows, brown trout, and even the occasional walleye. Personally, we're out for the bruiser carp. My friends and I had been eyeing the water flows all summer and they finally stabilized about two weeks ago. One little problem: the Democratic National Convention. It didn't take long to find out that law enforcement isn't too fond of people with backpacks full of "suspicious" fishing gear, rod tubes and cameras poking around sensitive areas. Who would've thought? But there are truly big carp, a stones throw from the Pepsi Center. You get a lot of weird looks when you tell people you're fly fishing for them downtown. Mostly they ask one question: Why?Tim Romano
Will Rice cradles a nice fish taken on a black Wooly Bugger. He swears the glove is so he can get a "better grip" on the fish, and has nothing to do with the water treatment plant upstream. Right.Tim Romano
Some of these carp can weigh thirty pounds, so unless you want to get your ass kicked, bring a big rod. The first time I ever went down I brought a five weight and got a workout to say the least.Tim Romano
The South Platte's water levels can fluctuate from really low (4 CFS) to mighty high (4000 CFS) in a day and a half. When it drops, it leaves trash drying in strainers throughout the river.Tim Romano
Russ Miller hooked up to a carp near a large diversion dam right on the edge of Denver. Coincidentally, this is where law enforcement officials started paying attention to us.Tim Romano
When most people see bloated rats, thousands of pounds of trash, or even human bones (a fisherman I know found a dead body down here a couple of months ago), they immediately run for the hills. But trash-fish aficionados know that big fights with big carp sometimes come best in rough territory.Tim Romano
Waste water effluent makes surprisingly good carp habitat.Tim Romano
Two weeks before the DNC we spotted (and were spotted by) a curious security guard. He trailed us for a couple hours, which we found interesting considering we were clearly on public property.Tim Romano
Just 'cause there's trash around doesn't mean they're eating it. Crayfish make up a big part of a Denver carp's diet.Tim Romano
A good day carp fishing on the Platte would be landing just one of these healthy beasts.Tim Romano
A common barrier in urban fishing. It's funny, and sometimes kind of sad, what you encounter on what is supposedly public land.Tim Romano
In the week prior to the DNC the security became noticeably more intense. Not only were we followed, we were photographed.Tim Romano
One of the best holes on the river happens to be near a bridge serving a waste water treatment plant.Tim Romano
We quickly learned that bridges are like a security guard's deer stand. Sometimes one, sometimes two, sometimes a whole team stood and watched.Tim Romano
Bike Fishing in Denver: Denver is one of the greatest cities in the nation for commuting by bike. The city boasts a bike trail network of over 850 miles. This includes many trails along rivers, creeks and recreation areas. It is especially helpful to ride and fish because you can easily move from hole to hole.Field & Stream Online Editors
Closer to the Pepsi center - the primary venue for the DNC - the number of police on the streets, trails, and river banks increased. We were armed with woolly buggers and water while these guys were packing pepper spray and automatic weapons.Tim Romano
Will Rice hearing the news that an entire SWAT team had been dispatched to the river following a report of two sketchy anglers near "critical infrastructure"... meaning us. To give them credit, rod tubes do look suspicious...and so do cruiser bikes, khaki shorts and sandals.Tim Romano
Downtown Denver during the DNC. While riding around town we found ourselves in the middle of a large group of people on bikes protesting the war and global warming.Tim Romano
Sure, the police presence was intimidating. But dude, is the black hanky totally necessary?Tim Romano
A block from the Pepsi Center, cops stood shoulder to shoulder keeping protesters and people at bay.Tim Romano
This was a common scene. Two serious officers perched above the crowd with sniper rifles and riot shields.Tim Romano
Romano Gets Background Checked: Not many people can say they've encountered the Secret Service at their local fishing hole. This time security wasn't content with just shooting photos from afar, they wanted a full background check and personal property search. I just hope they still let me on airplanes after this.Field & Stream Online Editors