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SPRING Winter 2020

1919

COLORADO TU CELEBRATES 50 50 YEARS YEARS

OF CONSERVATION CONSERVATION

Yellowstone Lake

LANDON MAYER

ON HIS NEW VIDEO

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SPRING 2019 VOLUME 16 • ISSUE 2 MAGAZINE CONTENTS 07

Q&A WITH LANDON MAYER

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STILLWATER SURE THING: YELLOWSTONE LAKE

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24

28

30

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High Country Angler • Spring 2019

BY FRANK MARTIN BY BRIAN LA RUE

PAINT BY NUMBER FLY FISHING BY PETER STITCHER

YOUR GUIDE TO ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK BY ANNIE SMITH

DRY FLIES IN FEBRUARY BY HAYDEN MELLSOP

MINTURN ANGLERS BY MARK SHULMAN

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HCA Staff P U B LISHER S

J ac k Tallo n & Frank M ar tin

C O NTENT C ONSU LTANT L ando n M ayer

EDITO R IAL

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50 YEARS PROTECTING RIVERS

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BY MIKE LEDGER

Frank M ar t i n, M anagi ng Editor f rank@ hc am agaz ine.co m Landon Mayer, Editorial Consultant Ruthie Mar tin, Editor

CORPS, EPA PROPOSE CLEAN WATER ACT ROLLBACK

ADV ER TISING

40

48

52

54

58

BY DAVID NICKUM

BY COLORADO TU STAFF

B r i an L a R ue, S ales & M a r keting b r ian@ hc am agaz i ne.co m D i rec t : ( 714) 944- 5676 K andily n M ar t i n, Ad S ales k andi ly n@ hc am agaz ine.com Cell: ( 719) 432- 8317 M ar k Shulm an, Ad S ales Cell: ( 303) 668- 2591 m ar k@ hc am agaz i ne.co m

ANGLER’S ALL

DESIG N

PUBLIC LANDS: BEST. IDEA. EVER. BY COLORADO TU STAFF

BEHIND THE FIN WITH DAVE TAYLOR BY COLORADO TU STAFF

TU AND THE BIRTH OF COLORADO INSTREAM FLOWS BY COLORADO TU STAFF

David M ar tin, Creative Direc tor & Graphic D esigner aisthetadesign.com

FIT TO BE TIED

BY JOEL EVANS

P HOTO G RAP HY

Frank Martin, Landon Mayer, Brian LaRue, Angus Drummond

STAF F WRITER S

Frank Martin, Landon Mayer, Brian LaRue, Joel Evans, David Nickum, John Nickum, Peter Stitcher, Jeff Florence

Copyright 2017, High Country Angler, a division of High Country Publications, LLC. All rights reserved. Reprinting of any content or photos without expressed written consent of publisher is prohibited. Published four (4) times per year. To add your shop or business to our distribution list, contact Frank Martin at frank@hcamagazine.com. D i str i buted by H i gh Countr y Publi cati ons, L LC 730 Popes Valley D r i ve Colorad o Spr i ngs, Colorad o 809 1 9 FA X 719-593-0040 Published in cooperation with Colorado Trout Unlimited 1536 Wynkoop Street, Suite 320 Denver, CO 80202 www.coloradotu.org

ON THE COVER: Photo by Landon Mayer

TOC PHOTO: Brian La Rue

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Spring 2019 • High Country Angler

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High Country Angler • Spring 2019

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Q&A with Landon Mayer

by Frank Martin www.HCAezine.com

Spring 2019 • High Country Angler

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first met Landon Mayer back in 2003, when we were preparing to launch our first issue of High Country Angler Magazine. He was an up-and-coming young guide on the South Platte River, and we contacted him to see if he wanted to advertise in our new fly fishing publication. He bought a small ad and offered to write an article for us. He’d never written anything before, but we were looking for good content, so we agreed. We were so impressed, that we asked if he’d like to write a regular column for us. Since then, Landon has become an ever-present staple in the magazine. In fact, he’s the only writer who has appeared in every issue of HCA since we first launched in the Spring of 2004. In many ways, Landon has become the “face” of HCA. It’s a relationship that we hold dear, and we couldn’t be more thrilled about having such a great ambassador for our publication. Today Landon is one of the most sought-after fly fishing speakers and writers in the industry. His knowledge and skill of fly fishing, along with his endless enthusiasm for the sport, is as contagious as it is informative. When he is called on to speak, you can plan on standing-room-only crowds to show up. Some years ago, my business partner, Jack Tallon, and I

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High Country Angler • Spring 2019

were fortunate enough to help Landon produce his first fly fishing DVD. We formed a company we called Mad Trout Media, and spent over a year chasing Landon and his good friend and mentor, John Barr across the country with an HD camera, doing our best to keep up as they stalked trophy trout in streams and rivers all the way from Colorado to Upstate New York. We titled the video Landing The Trout of Your Life, and the year it was released, it became the 2nd best selling DVD in the industry, outpaced only by Trout Bums. It was an exhilarating—and exhausting—experience. And during that time, I learned just how good a fly fisher Landon is. I’m convinced he could cast into a mud puddle and pull out a 13-pound brown. And afterward, teach a class on how he did it. Landon has a new video out this week titled Mastering the Short Game. It’s as visually stunning as it is informative. It should definitely be on your short list of things to buy before you hit the water this Spring. We’ve published several Q&A’s with Landon through the years, but none that we looked forward to as much as this one. Landon’s expertiser in fly fishing grows with each passing season, and this newest project highlights that fact in a powerful way.

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Spring 2019 • High Country Angler

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HCA: Congratulations on your new video. Where did you get the idea for this exciting new project? Landon Mayer: I was discussing with Jay Nichols of Headwater Media Group an observation that a lot of anglers feel comfortable casting and fishing at longer distances (20 feet or more) when you can load the rod with the weight of the fly line. When they only had 10 feet to make a cast, even the most advanced anglers were challenged, because you had to adjust when the fly line is not in play. That is when we both realized that the tactics used in shorter presentations could be an interesting project benefiting anglers of all skill levels.   HCA: It looks like you fished a lot of different areas in the film. What are some of the more notable waters represented? Landon Mayer: Boy did we ever. It started as a project that would be filmed locally—for ease of travel and budget—in Colorado on the South Platte basin. We decided to expand, because it would help display to the viewer that these techniques can work worldwide. As they say the proof is in the pudding! The next location was in Pennsylvania, on small waters like Fishing Creek. Thanks to George Daniels and other great anglers, we had a chance to hunt some great waters in really tight quarters. Following that was an amazing adventure to Patagonia with Andes Drifters, coordinated by Kevin Landon, Kevin Howel, Gastavo Hiebaum, under the guidance of Gonzalo 10

High Country Angler • Spring 2019

Flego. Stalking the small creeks and rivers was a true eye opener in terms of stealth: 20- foot leaders were not easy! Lastly, the streamer game was completed on the South Holston in Tennessee while fishing with Blane Chocklett. Watching giant bows track huge Game Changers to within inches of the boat was amazing. HCA: In the video, you state that most trout are caught within 20 feet of the angler. Describe some of the techniques you use to keep from spooking fish at that short distance. Landon Mayer: That is a great question, and one that I think would benefit so many anglers in preventing the trout from detecting them. To start, I recommend evaluating the section of land and water you want to fish before charging in. I like to think it as a game of chess or checkers: you have to anticipate your next move. In the video we cover this by giving the option of

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each step toe first like a Great Blue Heron stalking fish on the rivers edge will get you closer to each target. The best tips are honestly found in the rigging sections for dries, nymphs, and streamers. The editing team of Nick and Kami with Two Fisted Heart, and Nathanael Leater went to great lengths and spent hundreds of hours making the graphics. They are the best I have ever seen in video. multiple angles positions to cast from: A, B, or HCA: How does your technique and approach C—many of which are done from above or be- change when chasing larger trout, as opposed to low the trout. Having the choice of the section smaller fish? to deliver from helps you make better decisions on the river. Landon Mayer: With average or smaller-sized trout, I tend to target more conventional waters The next tip is to watch how you wade: if pos- like deep runs with mid seams, and tail outs with sible, try not to wade at all; you want to walk less concentration on stealth. The fish are more like a bird—not a chicken. This stealth step ap- than likely holding in numbers, and not spread proach is a great tool in preventing the trout out independently. Large trout tend to be more from seeing or feeling your movements. Diving

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independent by nature, and will hold individually in locations like the edge of the river near an undercut bank, around boulders scattered in between deep runs, and logs or log jams, and the head of a run in the riffles. These areas are more exposed and require a slow thoughtful approach by foot or boat. HCA: In the film, you say it’s important to learn to fish “from the bottom to the top” of the water. Describe what you mean by that.

like to stay close to the banks, or tube away from the shore a bit? Describe your best strategy. Landon Mayer: I think both approaches from boat and shore are effective. Normally the year starts off at ice off by shore, followed by hunting from my Fly Craft boat when the fish concentrate in deep water, with less vegetation in the early part of the summer. Then, when the vegetation starts to grow and food supplies like damsel flies begin to move into shore, I will hunt by foot again. I think the best approach is to become comfortable fishing by boat and foot, and most importantly, learning how to present in both shallow and deep waters effectively. The video does a great job breaking down rigs for shallow and deep water. HCA: Do you have any projects planned for the near future that our readers can look forward to?

Landon Mayer: That is a great question! The natural motion for a trout to feed is to lift most of the time. The vision of a trout is like an ice cream cone on top of their head. You do need to get deep with your flies at times for the trout to take the presentation. It is a better approach to hit all of the water levels from the bottom up, because this gives the fish a chance to lift if it wants to feed, and prevents going too deep too fast— causing the trout to spook, or running the risk Landon Mayer: I am happy to say that I do! My of foul hooking it. It also forces you to think of book Sight Fishing for Trout (Stackpole Books) different ways to deliver to each level. will be rereleased this August as the second edition. It has 7,000 new words and 40 images, and HCA: Do you have a secret weapon when hunt- I am honored to have had Ed Engle write the ing large trout at a short distance? Maybe a fa- new forward. I think it will be a great addition vorite fly or rig setup? for all trout hunters! Landon Mayer: I have two, the Mayer’s Mini Leech and the Mini Leech Jig. I think the best food source for selective and large trout are leeches, because it is a non-escaping meal that can be found any season in still and moving waters. Not to mention you can dead drift a leech, swing it at the end of the drift, and if needed, twitch it to make it appear as a small trout or sucker fry. The nymphing and streamer chapter shows numerous techniques for using these weapons.

About The Author Landon Mayer is a veteran Colorado guide and author of several books, including the recently released The Hunt for Giant Trout, from Stackpole Books. He has co-produced 2 fly fishing DVDs with John Barr, both available from Mad Trout Media. Visit Landon’s website at www.landonmayer.com and follow him on Instagram @landonmayerflyfishing.

HCA: When fishing lakes and reservoirs, do you 12

High Country Angler • Spring 2019

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PLAY TRAILER

Veteran Colorado guide Landon Mayer covers close range tactics with nymphs, dry flies, and streamers, and teaches you how to control your cast, make accurate presentations, and feed fish with precise drifts. This exciting new instructional video, with epic hook ups and fight scenes, features footage from Mayer's home waters in Colorado, as well as public water in Pennsylvania and Argentina, and will be sure to take your trout game to the next level.

Order your copy at landonmayerflyfishing.com www.HCAezine.com

Spring 2019 • High Country Angler

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Stillwater Sure Thing

Yellowstone Lake by Brian La Rue

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High Country Angler • Spring 2019

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Spring 2019 • High Country Angler

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T

he hardest part about writing these destinations features is not writing about a fishery that can be easily overwhelmed, while still interesting folks in giving a new spot a try. Thus, I don’t write about small waters, creeks and rivers that are easily accessible or easily over-fished—or still off-the-grid and somewhat undiscovered. So, this issue I’m leaving Colorado and falling back on one of my favorites, a place that I grew up fishing and still find myself fishing at least once a year—Yellowstone—and more specifically—Yellowstone Lake. Yellowstone Lake is the heart of the park. As the largest body of water in the park and the largest lake above 7,000 feet in North America, it has seen its share of challenges over the past 25 years, but like a famous watch marketing line, it can take a licking but keeps on ticking. With 110 miles of shoreline and 136 total square miles, the lake offers cutthroat, and of course, the infamous lake trout, but it’s the cutthroat that bring anglers to its cold water every season. They aren’t known for their fight, but in early season action in particular, they will hit flies with a vengeance. There are a handful of ways to enjoy the lake. A few take a bay boat or small ocean-worthy boats out onto the massive lake. Some take canoes or smaller

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High Country Angler • Spring 2019

pontoon-style boats to get on the water. My favorite is to access the lake by foot. Something I’ve yet to do: take the shuttle across the lake and spend a half-dozen nights in the Thorofare, and fish waters in the Southeast that rarely see fisherman at all. Who’s in?

Shoreline Access

Throwing on a pair of waders in any one of the many pullouts and walking down to the beach can be a great way to access Lake Yellowstone and quickly get into some cutthroat. As with any lake, any location with a fresh inflow, a deep drop-off, or a peninsula where you can get out a bit for casting room and access some deeper water is going to be key. I typically do well at the picnic area just down from Bridge Bay. Taking the shoreline drive will bring you along a road with large chain and post road markers near the water. Then you find yourself in a small forested area with parking. Walk out onto the large sand spit to where it cuts the cove off from the wave action, and you’re at a great starting point. This is the kind of access you’ll find around Bridge Bay, the north and up the eastern side of the lake before the main loop road turns away from the last trailhead access. The trick is to find access and be willing

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to wade out a bit simply to get casting room. Some use floattube-style personal boats and pontoons, but Yellowstone is very cold and can turn nasty much like Pyramid Lake, claiming lives of canoers or small boaters yearly. Shoreline access isn’t hard to find. Take a look at topographical maps of the lake, and you’ll see many options with inflow or

easy beach access. There are areas that are well marked and off limits due to thermal activity with hot springs and geysers, particularly near West Thumb. Grant Village is another popular boat launching area from which you could launch your ground game, as well. I have spent hours in Bob Jacklin’s Fly Shop talking about bugs on the water with Bob and his

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team. He always suggests a handful of callibaetis and smaller leech, bugger patterns, and I have to be honest with you, until I see a lot of surface action, I’m happy chucking a sink-tip on my 6 or 7 weight, much like the Pyramid approach, with a black with purple/red flash smaller size 6 to 8 skinny leech/woolly bugger type of streamer. I have never been disappointed and never made it to slinging callibaetis. One of my best days, I used one of Bob’s skinny black and red flash buggers with a small bead head on my 7 weight with a Scientific Anglers 15-foot sink tip, and pulled in a dozen fish over 18 inches in about 1 1/2 hours. I was fishing the slight wave action on the edge of the same sandy point near Bridge Bay. There was no surface feeding, and I did not want to indicator fish, so I tried stripping the streamer—casting the sink tip maybe 20 yards into the deeper water on the windward side of the point. About my third cast, I hooked a 24-inch cutthroat which I quickly landed, photographed, and released. In the next hour and 10 minutes, I pulled another 21,

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High Country Angler • Spring 2019

22, 19, 18, 21, and they just keep coming. I had walked a quarter mile back and forth and it was one of those bites, where you get bit back where you started, and you just keep walking back and forth, another fish, another fish.

Hiring A Guide

There are a handful of operations that offer guiding on the lake. My first and only experience with a guide here was when I was 11—just before I jumped headlong into fly fishing some 34 years ago—yikes I’m getting old. We booked a half-day trip with the main concessionaire in the park, and we took a GradyWhite 22-foot boat across the lake to the Southeast. Between my dad, brother, and I, we caught and released 52 fish in about 3 hours of fishing crystal clear water while tossing a good ol’ Jake’s Spin-A-Lure. Of course, with the “illegal introduction of lake trout,” those huge numbers days are gone, but strides are being made and a variety of sizes of cutthroat are showing again. Ask any Yellowstone angler, and they will

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tell you that signs of progress are showing yearly as smaller cutthroat are being caught, and more of them. That’s good and bad I guess? Why do I say “illegal” lake trout plants with quote marks? Because if you talk to any long-time resident, especially some of my friends who work with Trout Unlimited in Cody, they will tell you that lake trout were actually raised in the hatchery on the lake long ago, right alongside of the cutthroat. So maybe the slightly dry, warming weather pattern the past 30 years just saw the existing population get rolling? This is also the theory on declining moose numbers, as they were declining (not to mention the 1988 fires) long before the big bad wolf. The after-effects of the fires also have created sediment “dams” which make it hard for returning fish to spawn. So, there are numerous factors. One key to the bite whether you book a trip with a guide or hoof-it along the shoreline: fish the early season! The best time for numbers and size in my experience is early after ice out for about a month. As the water slightly warms, the cutthroat move to deeper water. The season on the lake recently started opening with the general opener on Memorial Day, but sometimes that means a frozen lake on colder years. Average years it is ready to go by early June. From the Memorial Day weekend opener/ice out, until about Mid-July is best. Keep in mind the tributaries do not open until July 15, and you cannot fish within 100 yards of them until then.

Hatches And Care

About The Author High Country Angler contributor Brian La Rue enjoys giving fly fishers ideas of where to go for an adventure. Feel free to reach out to Brian at Brian@hcamagazine.com if you want your lodge or guide service featured in an upcoming promotional marketing plan.

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When it comes to hatches, if you must try callibaetis, mid-July through August is your best bet. Try patterns like callibaetis duns, nymphs, and emerger patterns. Sparkle duns and some locally tied patterns will produce, as well. If you find yourself on the water on a calm day, target risers with any of these patterns, and you’re in for a good day. Mid-day fishing can be good, but if the weather is a challenge, indicator fishing will work anytime. Obviously, when it comes to Yellowstone’s native cutthroat, anglers are asked to fish with artificial flies and catch and release only. Please handle these fish as little as possible. Between sediment runoff issues from the fires of years ago and the lake trout problem today, these amazing fish need all the help they can get. Be sure to check with park regulations before wetting a line. There are numerous other regulations to regulate fishing on all of the park’s waters, and of course, if you hook a lake trout, you have to kill it. Good luck, enjoy my favorite playground, and if you are planning a trip soon, feel free to reach out for some help on where and when to fish many of the park’s waters— I’m glad to help. Reach out to me at Brian@HCAMagazine.com.

Spring 2019 • High Country Angler

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Paint By Number Fly Fishing

M

atching the hatch is really a two-part process. The angler must first observe the insects in, on, and around the water and be able to identify which family of insect and life cycle each falls under.  Secondly, they need to be able to go into their fly box and choose the fly patterns that are closest in size, profile, and COLOR to the insects sampled.  For many fly fishers, it isn’t the lack of knowledge that prevents them from effectively matching the hatch, but the need to take out a second mortgage on their house in order to purchase the diversity of fly patterns in different COLORS needed to match the various hatches on the water.  Fear not!  Your fly fishing therapist is here to bring financial harmony to you and your significant other and relief to your besieged wallet!  With a handful of Sharpie markers and a few key fly patterns, you can MULTIPLY your fly selection without stepping a foot back in the fly shop!  Welcome to Paint by Number Fly Fishing!


Identifying Characteristics Fly patterns with light dubbing or thread bodies, and white wings or tails, are like a blank canvas for the innovative fly fisher willing to think outside of the fly box. With a few key fly patterns such as the Beadhead Flashback Hares Ear, Light Cahill, Parachute PMD, Buckskin, Miracle Midge, and White Mercury Midge, you can match ANY mayfly and midge with some creative coloring and a few permanent Sharpie markers.  Equipped with red, orange, green, brown, and black markers, you can quickly turn a Parachute PMD into a Red Quill, a Light Cahill into a Hair Wing Green Drake, a Gold Ribbed Hares Ear into a Damsel Fly larva, and a Miracle Midge into one of the nearly 17,000 midges found in our waters.


Range & Habitat Here are the 3 steps to help you Paint by Number and multiply your fly selection:

1.

Collect a sample of the bugs in and around the water you are fishing.

2.

Match the size and profile of the natural insect with the closest "Blank Canvas" fly patterns in your box.

Parachute PMD

3.

Use your different sharpies to color the wings, body, legs, and tail to match!

Families Imitated: Mayfly, Midges

We’ve all heard that the pen is mightier than the sword. Well, for the creative fly fisher, the pen can also be mightier than the (fly) vise! Here are a couple of our favorite “Blank Canvas” fly patterns that you can use your sharpies on to match the hatch.

Sizes: 12-22 Life Cycles Imitated: Mayfly Dun or Spinner, Adult Midge Best Sharpie Colors: Black, Brown, Green, Grey, Pink, Purple, Yellow

About The Author Peter Stitcher is an Aquatic Biologist and owner of Ascent Fly Fishing. Originator of the Biologist Crafted Fly Selection, Peter and his team build their clients’ fly selections specific to the bugs in the waters they fish, when they fish them. You can contact Peter or restock your fly box at: www.ascentflyfishing. com.

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High Country Angler • Spring 2019

Buckskin Sizes: 12-20 Families Imitated: Caddisflies, Midges Life Cycles Imitated: Larva Best Sharpie Colors: Black, Brown, Green, Red, Orange, Yellow

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Beadhead Flashback Hare’s Ear Sizes: 10-22 Families Imitated: Mayfly, Stonefly, Damselfly Life Cycles Imitated: Nymph, Larva Best Sharpie Colors: Black, Brown, Green, Grey, Purple, Yellow

Light Cahill Sizes: 12-22 Families Imitated: Mayfly, Midges Life Cycles Imitated:  Mayfly  Dun or Spinner, Adult Midge Best Sharpie Colors: Black, Brown, Green, Grey, Pink, Purple, Yellow

Miracle Midge Sizes: 20-24 Families Imitated: Midges Life Cycles Imitated: Larva Best Sharpie Colors: Black, Brown, Green, Grey, Red, Orange, Blue

Mercury Midge (White) Sizes: 20-24 Families Imitated: Midges Life Cycles Imitated: Larva Best Sharpie Colors: Black, Brown, Green, Grey, Red, Orange, Blue

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Spring 2019 • High Country Angler

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How Rocky Mountain National Park Came to be and Your Guide to Fish it

by Annie Smith

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High Country Angler • Spring 2019

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n Colorado, there are many public waters to across Colorado – and it is still our most valuable fish, and some of our favorite spots can be and limited resource. found in Rocky Mountain National Park. This In the second half of the 19th Century, homearea is treasured by Coloradoans and serves as a steaders made their way to Colorado in hopes of magnet for outdoor recreationists from across creating a new future for themselves. From 1860 the country. But how did this famous landmark, to 1890, the population of Colorado went from which attracts more than three million people a 34,000 to over 400,000. By 1900, Theodore Roosyear, come to be? evelt, Gifford Pinchot, and John Muir were leadRocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) can ing a nationwide movement about land conserbe described as picturesque and the embodiment vation. People were looking at areas they wanted of the Rocky Mountain range. Fun fact: the Rock- to protect, and after extensive local advocacy led ies are relatively young in comparison to other by naturalist Enos Mills, RMNP became the 9th ranges found across the US. An easy way to tell National Park, established on January 26, 1915 is just by looking at them. If you were to look by President Woodrow Wilson, who signed the at the Appalachian mountain range, found along Rocky Mountain National Park Act. Another inthe eastern coast of the US, you would see that teresting fact: RMNP was not the first National the tops appear to be rounded, like someone took Park in Colorado. Mesa Verde, an area filled with sand paper and smoothed off the tops. In com- over 4,000 archeological sites of the ancestral parison, the Rocky Mountain range features tall, Puebloan people, was founded earlier, on June 29, prominent, and sometimes jagged peaks that can 1906. reach 14,000 feet above sea level. When looking As time went on, management and regulations at those two characteristics, the Rocky Mountain changed to accommodate the growing number range is much younger (over 55 million years) of visitors. Today, we as visitors, anglers, hikers, because erosion has had more time (over 300 campers, etc. can enjoy responsible recreation in million years) to wear down the tops of the Ap- this area. Many anglers enjoy the opportunity to palachians. So yes, our beloved Rocky Mountain fish the park’s high-altitude lakes and streams. range is quite young! Whether you have fished there before or not, it is A fair amount of time passed since the forma- always handy to have some sort of guide to help tion of the mountains until we see the earliest you get the most out of your visit. Steven Schrecord of humans entering the area, which was weitzer’s A Fly Fishing Guide to Rocky Mountain about 11,000 years ago. From then on, the Native National Park is a great book-length resource American Ute tribe inhabited the area until the late 1700s. The land Helping You Keep Your was later acquired by the US as Eyes on the Big Ones part of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. Then, from mid to late Full Service 1800s, the Gold Rush attracted Fly Fishing many new settlers out west in Pro Shop & Guide Service hopes of making it rich; what they found instead was a beautiSchedule a Trip Today! ful landscape with plains fit for 970-944-2526 cattle and some crops. Water beLake City, Colorado came the sought-after resource The Sportsman Outdoors & Fly Shop www.lakecitysportsman.com

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Spring 2019 • High Country Angler

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highlighting RMNP’s extensive fisheries. But when you are on the go, a full book isn’t always the easiest and most portable reference. Enter the new second edition of the Angler’s Guide to Rocky Mountain National Park by Les and Kimball Beery. A compact guidebook that you can easily slide in with your hiking and fishing gear, it provides all the information you need to get yourself fishing in the right places in RMNP, with all the recommended gear, locations, flies, and more. Not to mention it’s a compact waterproof guide that can stand up to your outdoor adventures. The layout of this book features the most popular lakes and streams for anglers with notations on the length of the hike to access it, a picture of the location, a custom topographic map highlighted with the best areas to cast from, the type of trout present and current regulations, along with a “tips from your guide” section with specific advice for each lake or stream to help anglers catch RMNP’s beautiful wild trout. There are also pages detailing the “fly and bubble” technique for spin fishing, catch-and-release tips, fly fishing techniques, hiking equipment, and a section on greenback cutthroat trout recovery. Some things to keep in mind before you head up to RMNP for a fishing trip: 1. The park features four species of trout: brown, brook, rainbow, and cutthroat, and only 48 of the 156 lakes have reproducing populations of fish. Any supplemental stocking is done only to restore native species. 2. Only artificial lures or flies are allowed, and bait is pro26

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hibited. Some waters are catch-and-release waters only, so be informed about those restrictions before you fish the park. 3. Make sure you have a valid Colorado Fishing license! 4. Keep a reference handy, like the Angler’s Guide to Rocky Mountain National Park to help you locate great fishing locations in the park as well as recommended flies/lures and techniques. 5. Make sure your gear is clean, sanitized, and muck-free before you enter the park to help prevent the spread of harmful invasive species. Fishing season in the high country is right around the corner! Anyone who purchases the Angler’s Guide to Rocky Mountain National Park and enters “CTU” in the donation code box, will be giving $2 back to Colorado Trout Unlimited and our work to protect our rivers and coldwater fisheries. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Colorado’s rivers and trout thank you! Order yours today and don’t forget to put “CTU” in the donation code box.

Learn More about RMNP “Brief Park History” “10 Fun Facts about RMNP” “Plan Your Visit – Fishing RMNP”

More Information If you’d like more information about this book, email Les and Kimball at authors@anglerpocketguides.com or head over to their website. www.HCAezine.com


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A GUIDE’S LIFE

BY HAYDEN MELLSOP

Dry Flies in February

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reviously busy owing to a series of islands, braids, and riffles, here the river settled into a long expansive glide, the current slowing as the flow merged from several narrow channels into one. The wind that had until now sent dark grey clouds scudding across the tops of distant mesas suddenly calmed, and the river’s surface became like glass—a mirror of the ochre-and-olive checkerboard of the sandstone-and-cedar countryside, and of the sky above. For the first time that day, not another angler was in sight, as if the slow-moving, seeming featureless water held little promise or interest. Several low outcrops of bedrock—some studded with brush and long since worn smooth by the elements—broke the water’s surface, or lurked as dark shadows just beneath. I shipped the oars and leaned back in my seat while Kevin continued to drift the nymph rig through the silent water. Twenty yards ahead, the rings of a rise form dimpled the otherwise pristine surface, and then, a moment later, a

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second—each on opposite sides of the river. “A couple of risers ahead,” I reported. Kevin continued to fish with the nymph rig, which had taken fish consistently through the braids. There were three more scattered rises—the last of them close enough for me to catch sight of a dorsal fin and tail as the fish turned on a bug just beneath the surface film. This time of the year, the river was not renowned for its dry fly fishing, but it seemed too good an opportunity to pass up. “Mate, put down the nymph rig. Let’s have a go with a dry.” I dropped the anchor and we sat mid-stream and watched. For the four hundred yards of the glide, intermittent rises could now be seen all over. Without the benefit of current seams concentrating in the feed lanes, there was little discernible logic or pattern to the feeding. One fish would rise in the middle, then another off against the left bank, a third a couple of minutes later to the right.

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Kevin shrugged. “What the heck. Pass me the rod.â€? At the downstream end of the glide, a low sandFor the next hour there ensued a slow motion game stone bluff curved out into river, providing the perof dry fly whack-a-mole. Such was the randomness of fect harbor to drop anchor and shelter from the wind, the rise forms: we’d wait for one and then cast to it, which had stirred again, bringing with it the dark knowing at least one fish fed in the general vicinity. grey clouds and a scent of snow flurries in the air. We Another fish would rise, and we’d cast there on the next looked back upstream at the glide. The wind had put drift. The slow current meant ample time for a fish to paid to any further rises—the hitherto mirror-like inspect the fly for signs of tippet or drag. Ample time surface now a chop of green and grey. Still not another too for mind games between the ears of the angler; angler in sight. ample time for soul searching and rising tension that “Timing is everything, I guess,â€? I remarked, as we sometimes resulted in hair trigger hook-sets to spoil opened the cooler and assembled the makings of a the measured, languid approach and take of the fish. late lunch. On occasion, the angle of the light would permit us to “Dry flies in February,â€? Kevin agreed. “Can’t argue see into the water, and with it the approach of the fish, with that.â€? the slow inspection of the fly followed by the take, or else a turn of the head and refusal. Other times, the glare off the water prohibited Hayden Mellsop any insight into the world below. Fly ďŹ shing guide. Real Estate guide.

About The Author Hayden Mellsop is an expat New Zealander living in the mountain town of Salida, Colorado, on the banks of the Arkansas River. As well as being a semiretired fly fishing guide, he juggles helping his wife raise two teenage daughters, along with a career in real estate.

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Recreation, residential, retirement, investment. 5IFEJĂľFSFODFCFUXFFOMPPLJOHGPSZPVSTQFDJBMQMBDFBOEmOEJOHJU 1JOPO3FBM&TUBUF(SPVQ4BMJEB 0ĂśDF]$FMM XXX)PNF8BUFSTDPN INFMMTPQ!QJOPOSFBMFTUBUFDPN

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by Mark Shulman

Minturn Anglers

A Colorado Treasure

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olorado is home to some of the finest fly fishing in the country. Stands to reason that Colorado produces some of the finest fly shops and guide services found anywhere, and for more than a decade, Minturn Anglers has been regarded as one of the best. With two locations, Historic Minturn in the Vail Valley, and Lone Tree, Colorado, Minturn Anglers provides fly fishing experiences to satisfy the first time novice, experienced experts, and everyone in between!

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Two Great Locations Stop in the beautiful chalet shop in Minturn, and talk to manager Joe about what the browns and rainbows are taking on the Eagle or Colorado River, or maybe learn about stalking brookies on lesser- known Homestake Creek. Like to cover a lot of water in one day? Check out the float trips on the Roaring Fork, Eagle, and Colorado Rivers. Minturn Anglers is known for creative and unique fly fishing adventures, like horseback excursions to fly fishing locations few people get to experience. Minturn Anglers’ private water trips are considered some the best in Colorado—destinations like Boxwood Gulch, Long Meadow Ranch, and all Rocky Mountain Angling Club properties. Or how about 18 miles of secluded private water on the Savery Creek, in southern Wyoming? That’s a trip you’ll talk about for years!

Front Range anglers will enjoy the convenient Lone Tree location near County Line Road and I-25. Store manager Tyler Banker loves to talk fly fishing and is ready to help you with river condition reports and fly selection. Minturn Lone Tree guides the Dream Stream, Deckers, Clear Creek, and Bear Creek. Private water trips include Boxwood Gulch and Rainbow Falls. Minturn Anglers offers half-day, full day, and even ¾ day guide trips! Overnight camping and fly fishing sound fun? Minturn Anglers will float you on the Colorado River in places not accessible by foot! Want to combine a “corporate retreat” and fly fishing for your business? Call Minturn Anglers, and they’ll put it together.

About The Author Mark Shulman is an avid fly-fisherman and longtime TU member from Centennial, Colorado. He is also a Marketing Representative for High Country Angler magazine. You can contact Mark at Mark@HCAmagazine.com. www.HCAezine.com

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Minturn Anglers shops offer a broad selection of professional quality gear and apparel. They carry rods from Scott, Hardy, Reddington, and Fenwick, and reels by Ross, Hardy, and Lamson Waterworks, plus a great selection of both men’s and woman’s clothing and outerwear, along with wading gear and boots, in all the top brands you’d expect, like Patagonia, FishpondUSA, Hatch Outdoors, Scientific Anglers, and Umpqua. Expert advice, great gear and apparel, and a 32

High Country Angler • Spring 2019

warm and welcoming place to talk fly fishing— that’s Minturn Angler’s. In the words of Minturn GM Dave Budniakiewicz, “Most fly shops sell pretty much the same stuff; what makes us special is our service.” Service to meet the demands of the Vail Valley vacationer, or the hardworking anglers on the Front Range. Exceptional service that means your fly fishing experience will be unforgettable!

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And of course, when a fly shop talks about service, it’s all about the Guides! Minturn Anglers is proud of their reputation for providing top quality guides who are skilled at their craft and com-

mitted to making the fly fishing experience fun for every angler, beginner, or expert. Minturn guides share their passion for the outdoors, and help their clients become better anglers.

Commitment to Community, the Environment and Education Minturn Anglers brings the meaning of full service to a whole new level. For those new to fly fishing or just thinking about getting started, the Minturn Fly Fishing School is the way to go. The Introduction to Fly Fishing Class is an on the water, full day class, taught by Minturn professional guides. This hands-on experience will get you started on fly fishing the right way! Great for kids or adults! 34

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In the Spring, Summer, and Fall, Minturn Anglers operates KIDS CAMP! A morning or afternoon program for ages 6-12. Explore Vail Valley and learn fly fishing from the pros. Minturn Anglers Wade Guide Class is a 5-day school designed for those who are interested in becoming a professional fly fishing guide. Learn from some of the best in the fly fishing industry while enjoying the beautiful Vail Valley. www.HCAezine.com


More Information For experienced wade guides who want to expand their repertoire of service, consider the Minturn Float Guide Classes. This 5-day curriculum of instruction and oar time will provide the participant with the Colorado state requirements to become a float guide. Own a float boat or thinking of getting one? Minturn Anglers Two Day School is perfect for anyone looking to improve their skills on the water. Rowing basics including navigation of up to Class 3 whitewater. Minturn Anglers proudly supports the community and environment through participation in groups like the Eagle Valley Land Trust, Eagle River Watershed Project, and Habitat for Humanity. Minturn Anglers sponsors river cleanup project, and donates thousands of dollars to local schools, clubs, and non-profits.

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Minturn Anglers owner Rick Hayes, General Manager Dave Budniakiewicz, and shop managers Joe Hullbaric and Tyler Banker are committed to providing the fly angler the best experience on the water or in their stores. Give them a call or stop by their shops; they’re always happy to talk fly fishing! Minturn Shop Location 106 Main Street, Minturn, Co 81645 970.827.9500 Denver Shop Location 8353 D Willow Street Lone Tree, Co 80124 720.851.4665 To learn more about Minturn Anglers please visit their website, minturnanglers.com

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50 YEARS PROTECTING RIVERS AND WE'RE JUST GETTING STARTED! by Mike Ledger, CTU Member and Director at Large, Chair 50th Anniversary Workgroup

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very once in awhile, you need to stop and take a look back. To take inventory. To measure your successes. To celebrate your accomplishments together, as a group. Colorado Trout Unlimited’s 50th Anniversary officially kicked off January 1 of this year, and now is exactly the time for us to showcase our accomplishments. As you read this, keep in mind all that you have done together with your fellow members. Think about everyone else that has created so much in each of the 49 years before this one. In August of 1969, a small collection of visionaries gathered in Vail and formed Colorado Trout Unlimited with this mission statement: To Conserve, Protect and Restore Colorado’s cold-water fisheries and their watersheds. We now boast approximately 12,000 members statewide who participate locally in 24 chapters. How does that compare? Colorado has the second-highest number of Trout Unlimited members in the country, second only to Pennsylvania. We are committed to carrying on the mission, and to inspire other visionaries to join us. In 2018 Trout Unlimited in Colorado invested more than $4,700,000 towards our mission. In addition, we have organized 45,000 hours of volunteer service, conducted more than 100 youth education programs and events, 60 36

High Country Angler • Spring 2019

conservation projects, and 40 veterans’ service projects. You did that. Each of you. You are a positive force accomplishing our mission. There are countless stories of our positive impacts. Some are high-profile efforts like the “Save the Fraser” campaign, or the defeat of Two Forks Dam. Some go largely unnoticed – except by the trout that benefit. Some are as simple as picking up a piece of trash as you peacefully walk stream side. It all goes to the common good. As a part of our celebration, we invite you to submit stories and pictures to share from your TU experiences. Now is the time—share your passion, your excitement and your accomplishments. Big or small, we welcome your submissions (coloradotu.org/ submit-your-story). We will be showcasing them throughout the year—our 50th anniversary year—with members and nonmembers alike.   You should be proud of yourselves. Our accomplishments  are something to be shared. Capture the positive energy and share the TU story with somebody who might not know about us. The next visionary might just be in your network. The next new member is waiting for your inspiration. Thank you for all that you have done and all that you will do in the future. The next 50 years starts with you. CTU’s next chapter continues with your passion. www.HCAezine.com


Fishing Trip Packing List: waders & boots water bottle  sunglasses & sunscreen rod and reel my epic 50th anniversary loaded fly box, hat, buff, and performance tee

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Get yours today! Click here. www.coloradotu.org Spring 2019 • High Country Angler

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50 YEARS PROTECTING RIVERS

Corps,EPA Propose Clean Water Act Rollback Speak Out for Trout! Comments Due by April 15 by David Nickum

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he Clean Water Act is one of America’s bedrock environmental laws and has led to dramatic improvements in water quality nationwide since its adoption in the 1970s. Spurred by serious water pollution problems – in a famous and highly visible case, the Cuyahoga River in Ohio literally burned – Congress set forth a national goal to secure fishable, swimmable waters by restoring and maintaining their chemical, physical, and biological integrity. Now, the Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency are considering a new rule to sig38

High Country Angler • Spring 2019

nificantly narrow the scope of protections of our nation’s streams and wetlands. Intended to supplant a positive, TU-supported 2015 rule, the replacement rule would eliminate Clean Water Act protection from intermittent (rainfed) streams, and the Corps and EPA are further considering dropping protection from ephemeral (seasonal) streams as well. These smaller headwater systems are the feeders of our larger rivers and streams, and whatever other laws may be changed, EPA and the Corps cannot change the law of gravity. Pollution and habitat destruction upstream will make its way downstream. If www.HCAezine.com


AND WE'RE JUST GETTING STARTED!

we wish to protect our rivers, we need to start from their source. The 2015 Clean Water Rule recognized that common-sense fact, and incorporated protections for those intermittent and ephemeral streams that feed into downstream rivers; the replacement rule would roll back those protections. Similarly, it would strip protection from millions of acres wetlands – estimated to be as much as 50% of our nation’s wetlands – harming those critical pieces of functioning watersheds that play a key role in groundwater recharge and pollution filtration. The replacement rule puts millions of stream miles at risk nationwide – streams that contribute to the drinking water supplies of 117 million Americans and provide essential fish and wildlife habitat that support a robust outdoor recreation economy worth $887 billion. In Colorado, approximately 70% of our stream miles are intermittent or ephemeral – as shown in the pictured map. By eliminating Clean Water Act protection for these streams, the replacement rule would deregulate a host of development activities, such as pipeline construction that will, over time, degrade hunting and fishing opportunities nationwide. It is the underlying Clean Water Act protections that have www.HCAezine.com

been the basis for securing river-friendly decisions like temperature protections on new water projects in the Colorado headwaters and the 1990 veto of Two Forks Dam. The replacement rule dramatically scales back the reach of those protections. You can help by speaking out for strong Clean Water Act protection. We need to move forward with progress in cleanup up our nation’s waters, not go backwards. The proposed Replacement Rule should be rejected. You can learn more, see an in-

teractive map showing at-risk waters in your area, and submit your comments online by visiting standup.tu.org/cleanwater.

About The Author

David Nickum is the Executive Director of Colorado Trout Unlimited. You can contact him via the Colorado TU website at www.coloradotu.org

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50 YEARS PROTECTING RIVERS

Browns Canyon National Monument

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Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Area

High Country Angler • Spring 2019

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AND WE'RE JUST GETTING STARTED!

Congress Passes Landmark Public Lands Legislation In February, the Senate and House passed the Natural Resources Management Act, a historic package of bills that includes permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). At this writing the package is on its way to the President’s desk for signature.

by Colorado TU Staff

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resident Theodore Roosevelt said of the remarkable natural resources and public lands of the United States, “We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune." Over the past 50 years, Trout Unlimited in Colorado has worked toward doing our part to protect that public land legacy - through campaigns ranging from partnering with landowners and local governments to protect the Thompson Divide, to establishing the Hermosa Creek basin as the first national Watershed Protection Area. Collected here are photos from Trout Unlimited’s Joshua Duplechian of some of Colorado’s remarkable public lands that TU has worked with our fellow sportsmen and women and conservationists to protect for future generations.

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For more than half a century, LWCF has used a portion of federal offshore energy revenues — at no cost to taxpayers — to conserve our public lands, water, and open spaces and protect the outdoor recreation opportunities they offer. LWCF has invested over $268 million in Colorado, helping to secure access and conserve special places across the state, including the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area, Great Sand Dunes National Park, and Preserve and boat launches on the Colorado River.  Also included in the package were numerous provisions protecting public lands with important fish and wildlife habitat, including mineral withdrawals in Washington’s Methow Valley and the upper Yellowstone in Montana, a special designation to conserve wild steelhead habitat in Oregon’s North Umpqua watershed, new Wilderness in Oregon and New Mexico, Wild and Scenic River designations in Utah, Oregon and California, and a unique collaborative plan to protect water quality and quantity in Washington’s Yakima Basin. Significant to Colorado, the act extends the authorization of the Upper Colorado Endangered Fish Recovery Implementation Program, a partnership between local, state and federal agencies, water and power interests, and conservation groups working to recover endangered fish in the Upper Colorado River Basin.  Spring 2019 • High Country Angler

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Thompson Divide

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Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness

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South Park

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Roan Plateau

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Gunnison Gorge

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50 YEARS PROTECTING RIVERS

Behind the Fin with Dave Taylor

H

igh Country Angler had the chance to sit down and interview Dave Taylor, formerly the Executive Director and later the Board President of Colorado Trout Unlimited. Read on to hear some of his thoughts on TU past, present, and future.

How long have you been a TU member?

I joined TU in the early 1980s, with the Boulder Flycaster Chapter, when I was in graduate school at CU. A few years later I became a life member.

Why did you become a member and what chapter are you involved with? I moved to Colorado in 1980 and became a rather fanatical fly fisherman, so I began attending Boulder Flycaster meetings after reading their newsletter in the local fly shop. I quickly got conscript-

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High Country Angler • Spring 2019

ed by Bruce Hoagland to be the Newsletter Editor, and a couple years later became chapter president.

What is your favorite activity or project you have done with TU?

I have done so many projects it is hard to determine a favorite. Certainly our work to save the South Platte from Two Forks inundation and our West Slope work to squash the AB Lateral project on the lower Gunnison are at the top of the list. Few today realize that we also purchased some key land along the Dream Stream section below Spinney Mountain Reservoir that helped maintain public access. We turned that final parcel of land over to the state to ensure permanent access and state property status. We did the same thing on a small piece of land on the Roaring Fork as well. Good stuff, indeed. www.HCAezine.com


AND WE'RE JUST GETTING STARTED!

You were a central piece of the fight against Two Forks. How did you overcome the odds and beat the ‘2000-pound gorilla’ that was Denver Water? I thought it was 10,000 pounds? And don’t forget the Metropolitan Water Providers! It was a tremendous cooperative effort between a large coalition of conservation and environmental www.HCAezine.com

groups. We also took a very intelligent approach. Thanks to agreements when Denver built its Foothills Project, we had a seat at the table for Two Forks. Technical experts such as Bob Weaver and EDF’s Dan Luecke helped build out a highly intelligent and viable series of alternatives that were cheaper, less destructive and could be phased in over time. We were able to point out several, ultimately fatal, flaws in the Two Forks proposal. It Spring 2019 • High Country Angler

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was a brave call by the EPA, but it was the right call. Many of the alternatives we proposed have actually been enacted, including conservation measures. No one in Colorado is without water today because Two Forks was vetoed. Intelligence prevailed. It’s nice to witness such a thing.

Do you have a favorite place to fish or memorable fishing story?

I have a lot of passion for the Madison River and the $3 Dollar Bridge area. Aesthetically, it is about as magnificent a river valley as you will see. The fishing is not bad either. It has gotten pretty crowded in recent years, though. Its recovery from whirling disease makes me particularly happy.

You were at the heart of the battle over whirling disease in Colorado. What did it take to win that battle to reform Colorado’s stocking practices? Whirling disease was tragic in many ways, and personally was a very emotional issue. To see the magnificent wild rainbow populations collapse on the my favorite rivers – the Madison, the lower Gunnison, the Colorado in Middle Park, the South

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Platte and the upper Yellowstone and Yellowstone Lake – still pains me greatly to this day. We have learned much since the start of the WD dilemma, and some waters have recovered, but there is a clear and sobering lesson in WD for all of us to never forget. Catching some fantastic wild rainbows at $3 Dollar Bridge two years ago made me feel a lot better. But then I fished the Yellowstone near Sulphur Caldron last August and landed one fish. In early July of 1980 I hiked into Cub Creek, a feeder stream into Yellowstone Lake. The Cutts were spawning and were so thick in the stream it looked exactly like an Alaskan salmon run. For a kid from New Jersey it was magical to see -- the essence of nature and wild trout. Several years ago, I believe Cub Creek had less than 100 fish in its spawning run. I think tens of thousands were going up the creek in the early 1980s. The careless stocking of lake trout and the WD menace have put those Yellowstone cutthroat on the brink. It is a very sad tale. Forty years ago one could stand in Buffalo Ford on the Yellowstone River and 5 to 10 large cutts would move up into the wake created by your legs when wading. And they were all 100% native and wild. That’s why we need TU.

What does being a part of TU mean to you?

TU has been a large part of my life, both professionally and as a volunteer. When I started in TU, I was one of the younger leaders, in my early 20s. I was a young Chapter President, and from 1986 to 1991 I worked for TU. Later I was chairman of the Natural Resource Council in my early 30s – younger than most other leadership members. I later became CTU President and helped Dave Nickum establish a foundation for what has been a great 20 run of success in CTU under his leadership. And I volunteered to help start the Western Water Project operation in Colorado. For the last 10 years I have not done much work with TU, other than donate to the auction and Century Club. I have been too busy with family and work. Now, almost 40 years after going to my first TU chapter meeting, I am 62 years old and no longer a youngster in TU. I have witnessed great friends and TUers such as Bruce Hoagland, Al Makkai, Leo Gomolchak and Fred Rasmussen pass away. While I don’t look at myself as old, I am no longer a young buck in TU. When I retire in a few years, I will get reengaged on the volunteer side.

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What other hobbies or ac- ment with TU that prestivities do you like to do?  ent-day members ought to I have an affinity for skiing, golf- know? ing and biking, and also from a DIY perspective like to play with electronics and build hi-fi amplifiers and speakers. I discovered that there are too many great hobbies and sports to engage in in life. So I had to winnow it down at several stages of life.

What is the most important thing you learned from your past involve-

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I was born in 1956 and there were 169 million people in the U.S. at that time. Sixty-two years later there are almost 330 million. Pretty easy math. So in my lifetime there are 161 million more people utilizing the same land mass and a finite amount of natural resources, including cold water rivers and streams. To quote Joni Mitchell, “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.” Conservationminded anglers realize, and

know, what we’ve got, and we need to band together and work our asses off to keep and protect it. If we want our grandkids and great-grandkids to be catching wild trout in magnificent settings and wading in clear, cold water, then we better work hard to protect the coldwater resource. If one doesn’t have time to personally dedicate to the cause, I can fully understand and empathize. But that’s when I say give money instead of time, so others can work on your behalf. It ultimately comes down to what something is worth to you, right?

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50 YEARS PROTECTING RIVERS

TU and the Birth of Colorado Instream Flows

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or nearly the first hundred years of Colorado’s statehood, water in Colorado was guided by a simple principle embedded in Article 16, Section 6 of the State Constitution: “The right to divert the unappropriated waters of any natural stream to beneficial uses shall never be denied.” Over those years, that right to divert helped fuel agriculture, industry and cities – but the diversions led many of Colorado’s natural streams to be depleted, sometimes completely. In the early 1970s, Trout Unlimited was involved in the formation of and worked in partnership with the Eagle Piney Water Protection Association, a group based in Vail and led by Roger Brown and Tam Scott, to defend streams on both sides of the Gore Range from the proposed EaglePiney project as well as the Eagle-Colorado and East Gore Canal projects. These proposals by the Denver Water Board were designed to transport west slope water from the Eagle, Piney, and Blue River watershed across the Continental Divide for storage in the proposed Two Forks Reservoir to serve the Denver metro area. “We realized that Eagle-Piney was just a symptom of a larger problem,” explains then-CTU Executive Director Bob Weaver. “We were pushing for larger changes in the water law system and for statewide water planning.” The groups allied to begin pursuing an initiated referendum to amend the state constitution to protect instream flows. As drafted, the ballot measure included two key provisions: expanding the Constitutional right to divert to allow for appropriation of water instream for the protection of the natural environment, and protecting basins of origin from out-of-basin diversions (like EaglePiney) by constraining such transbasin diversion if they would “materially damage existing water 52

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rights or the natural environment of the basin of origin.” The proposal drew attention from many in the water community, including the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), then headed by Director Felix Sparks. Weaver came to greatly appreciate and respect Sparks, saying “We agreed that leaving water in the stream for fish and the environment was a ‘beneficial use’ of water and disagreed on almost everything else concerning water development, but I had such respect for him, and I learned a tremendous amount from him.” While they may have often disagreed, Sparks recognized legitimacy in the concerns underlying the proposed instream flow ballot measure. In a memo to the members of the CWCB, Sparks wrote: “A major and legitimate concern today is that the policy of state water development expressed in the constitution promotes and encourages the destruction of perennial streams and lakes in their natural state.” This reflected Sparks’ previously expressed concern for managing agreements that had been reached with the 1950s Fryingpan-Arkansas project to bypass certain flows to maintain west slope headwater streams below points of transbasin diversion. Sparks was concerned that “there was absolutely nothing in our state law to prevent other appropriators from taking these releases as soon as they left the various project diversion points.” With momentum building behind a ballot effort, some in the water community saw the need to take action through the legislature to address the issue in a less sweeping manner than the proposed initiative – while TU and other conservationists saw the opportunity to establish an instream flow program through the General Aswww.HCAezine.com


AND WE'RE JUST GETTING STARTED! sembly without having to go to the ballot. Sparks helped seize the opportunity to solve a thorny water problem with an innovative solution. While some doubted the measure’s constitutionality – could a non-diversionary right be created without changing the “right to divert” language in the Constitution? – Senate Bill 97 was adopted into law in 1973. The bill was sponsored by Senator Fred Anderson – an unlikely champion, and one who later pushed efforts to weaken the instream flow program he had helped create when it became more robust than some initially believed it would be. The bill extended the definition of “beneficial use” of water, stating: “For the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations, "beneficial use" shall also include the appropriation by the state of Colorado in the manner prescribed by law of such minimum flows between specific points or levels for and on natural streams and lakes as are required to preserve the natural environment to a reasonable degree.” The CWCB was given the authority to appropriate such instream flows. In the years since SB97 was adopted in 1973, the CWCB has appropriated instream flow water rights on more than 1,700 stream segments covering more than 9,700 miles of stream and 480 natural lakes. While the water rights are relatively “junior” – meaning they are satisfied in lower priority than older “senior” water rights – they have become increasingly significant as more water rights are changed. When a water right is changed to a new location or new use, it must protect other existing uses – even those junior to the original pre-change water right. Beyond those appropriations, the program has been further enhanced in law to allow for voluntary acquisitions of senior water rights to be converted to instream flow use, as well as temporary leases that can allow water users, on a short-term www.HCAezine.com

emergency basis, to make senior water rights available to satisfy instream flows. Collaborations have produced more than 35 voluntary water acquisitions by the CWCB, and under the temporary leasing program the CWCB helped secure needed flows on the Yampa River in critical lowflow years including during the hot, dry summer of 2018. Looking back, Weaver describes it simply. While many at the time the law was adopted thought the program would be weak or simply found unconstitutional, “it was constitutional,” Weaver says. “And it was pretty damned effective.”

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Angler’s All Serving Denver Anglers for 65 Years

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by Colorado TU Staff High Country Angler • Spring 2019

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well-known fly fishing institution in Littleton, Colorado, Anglers All is proud of their long-standing history of welcoming anglers into the shop to swap fish stories, celebrate the catches and misses, and pick up the latest equipment, flies or tying material. The Denver metro-based shop, originally opened by Jim Poor, has changed hands several times over the years but has always remained a family business with a focus on equipping fresh and saltwater anglers with the most relevant fly tackle and knowledge available. Since 2009, current owner Chris Keeley has curated a staff of anglers tasked with providing uncompromising service to all who enter the door. If the goal is brook trout on a 2wt or giant trevally on a 14wt, the staff can help you reach your fishing goals 359 days a year through their collective knowledge, in shop fly fishing and fly tying classes, and destination travel. "Ten years ago, when casting a fly-rod for the first time, I never would have predicted that those first few whips in the air with a weight-forward line would lead me here. It's 50 degrees out, rain-

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ing cats and dogs, and here I am on an inflatable boat having the time of my life on a glacial lake in Patagonia. It’s in these moments I feel alive. My own curiosity has led me here, but the logistical support from Anglers All has made it the adventure I always envisioned. I am forever grateful for the introduction to the fly fishing lifestyle and even more thrilled that I get to earn a living, one cast at a time." -Davis James, Anglers All Media Looking back over the years, the list of characters who have “walked the halls” at Anglers All to share in the 65 year history is long and storied. Those include; Dick Mill, Andy Mill, Rim Chung, Greg Garcia, Simon Gawesworth, Heather Hodson, Dec Hogan, and April Vokey, just to name a few.  These  men and women  have gone on to influence the industry of fly fishing in a positive way, ushering in new waves of technology and stewardship.  This growing list of anglers has pioneered  unique tying techniques, created new advances in fly line technology, and have encouraged  the need for conservation, education and outreach.

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“This is the kind of place that shares its history with generations of anglers. Every week I get to listen to customers share their 20, 30, or 60 year history with the shop and stories of their grandfather, aunt, or brother who first brought them through the doors to purchase their first rod or to book a steelhead or tarpon trip. This history doesn’t escape my story, either. 20 years ago I walked across the “casting lawn” with my father to gear up for a trip to the Gunnison River. After many years and countless fish stories, I am back to help Anglers All grow, what would have felt very foreign to Jim Poor back in 1954, an online business” Blake Katchur, Anglers All eCommerce.

April, 20 2019 ushers in the 65th anniversary of the shop. Celebrated by way of the annual “Trout Clave,” this momentous occasion will honor the Anglers All way of consistent service to its customers, and an ever-growing eye on conservation. The event will celebrate the customers, and raise money to help protect our fisheries and preserve our waters for the next generation of anglers. Through organizations such as Colorado Trout Unlimited and the Bonefish-Tarpon Trust, our mission to ensure a suitable habitat for fish and marine life will push forward. You can reach the Littleton Colorado based shop by phone at (303) 794-1104 or online at anglersall.com Anglers All invites all customers, whether you've been shopping with us for years or are brand new to the sport, to join us on April 20, 2019 at the shop for the Trout Clave.

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Argentina Trout and Dorado Specialists Exclusive Lodges

Kevin Landon

klandon@andesdrifters.com Denver, Colorado www.andesdrifters.com

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4/20/19 - 9am-5pm - 5211 S. Santa Fe Dr. Littleton, CO 80120

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FIT TO BE TIED

BY JOEL EVANS

All Rights, No Wrongs in Fly Tying

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ne of the greatest aspects of fly tying is also at the same time one of the most difficult. And I mean that in a good way! Although fly-tying can be an entertaining end in and of itself, mostly we tie in order to fish. And to fish, we try to have a fly that the fish will eat. Not always, but often matching the hatch in some way, sometimes minimally impressionistic, sometimes extremely realistic. Usually somewhere in between, as fish are not the smartest creature, but size, shape, color, and motion all do matter. So we endeavor to carry multiple boxes of multiple patterns, hoping to be prepared with the

right imitation. After all, when it gets down to the fishing, there isn’t a fly vending machine around every bend, so one does have to plan ahead. And inevitably, what we need, or at least what we think we need, is exactly what we don’t have, or exactly what the other guy catching fish does have but you don’t. So that’s what makes fly tying so great, and yet sometimes exasperating. There is no end to the materials and resulting patterns that can be created—no pattern is bad or wrong, and every pattern is right—just maybe not right for our moment at hand. Oh for sure, there are time-

tested standard patterns, as well as new and popular patterns. But you can’t tie or even buy all of them, much less carry all of them while fishing. Even a trip with a boat, even a small boat, has additional carrying capacity, but none-the-less a limited array of patterns. Which leads me to the subject of this article and video—a pattern tied in a series, to minimize the need to carry so many different patterns. The HiRise series is not the end all. It won’t replace your laden fly box with one pattern. Rather, it is a versatile series that is designed to have a common foundation technique and recipe that can be minimally altered to cover a multitude of needed patterns on the water. HiRise refers to a dry fly with

About The Author

Joel Evans is a fly fishing writer, photographer, and long-time member of Trout Unlimited from Montrose, CO. You can contact him via the HCA editor at frank@hcamagazine.com.

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HIRISE CADDIS

(OR STONEFLY OR MAYFLY)

HOOK: #8 3X LONG DRY (8 TO 14) THREAD: 6/0 – YELLOW (BLACK, BROWN, TAN, OLIVE) BODY: 3MM FOAM CUT IN STRIPS – TAN (BLACK, BROWN, OLIVE) WING: 1.5MM FOAM BY WING CUTTER – BLACK (TAN, BROWN, OLIVE) HACKLE: SADDLE – GOLDEN BROWN GRIZZLY TAIL: GOLDEN PHEASANT

PLAY VIDEO ► high floatability, using mostly foam and little else. Series refers to the body being the same for 3 different insect groups, while varying only the wing to make the distinction between the three insects, which are a caddis, a stonefly, and a mayfly. Versatility means changing only foam color and thread color to cover a multitude of insects with one general pattern. Containing only a foam body, hackle, and a foam wing, the materials are very limited. The body is the same for all three insects. However, the foam wing, the exact same wing for all three insects, uses one wing for the caddis, or two wings for the stonefly, or one split and trimmed wing for the mayfly. Easy to adapt to a grasshopper. The video is for the caddis, but the photo has all 3. The foam wing was made with a cutter tool, available in multiple shapes and sizes. The versatilwww.HCAezine.com

ity works well down to about a size 14, after which the foam technique begins to become unmanageable. Leaning to a more impressionistic than a realistic pattern, it works best in fast or

broken water. In other words, keep your size 18 Adams, but try this pattern as a way to reduce the quantity of flies you need to carry.

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May The Hatch Be With You

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