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The extraordinary water, scenery and privacy of this 785± acre fishing property are complemented by exceptional accommodations and a convenient location within easy reach of Vail Valley amenities and airport.

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612± acre premium retreat, 1.5± mi. riverfront, trophy architecture, outstanding privacy and abundant wildlife. Home, club house, river pavilion and restored historic barn make this the most significant offering available on the river.


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Sharing five miles of boundary with the national forest along the Flat Tops, this diverse 2,784± acre ranch is known for its excellent big game hunting but also features trout streams, ponds, privacy, scenery and a hunting lodge.

Located near Ennis, MT, with 2,156± acres (1,196± deeded) fronting on approximately 1.5 miles of the Madison. Potential for wetland development and creation of an owner’s compound with inspiring views of the Madison Range.

Panoramic views of surrounding peaks complement stream fishing and abundant wildlife on this scenic 463± acre holding. Bordering national forest and 8.5 miles from Pagosa Springs. Colisted w/ R. Horton Company.













Dedicated to Land and Landowners Since 1946







With over three miles of frontage on the Yampa River complementing expansive rolling pastures and farmland, this 4,500± deeded acre (6,650± total acre) ranch stands out for its excellent hunting and livestock grazing opportunities.

South of Alder within the national forest, featuring comfortable and attractive improvements and two+ miles of both sides of the troutrich Ruby River and immediate access to thousands of acres of user-friendly mountain country.

Twenty-eight miles NW of Telluride lies a world class fishing property situated along three miles of a key stretch of the fabled San Miguel River. A lodge, home and guest cabins are tastefully designed to create an ideal family retreat.


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Reduced to $7,950,000







This 41± acre property is highlighted by a beautiful stretch of the coveted White River and a nicely finished newer home with shop/storage garage overlooking the valley. Located 30 minutes east of Meeker.

Located just 45 minutes from Breckenridge Ski Resort, this scenic 830± acre high mountain ranch features 1.3± meandering miles of trout-filled Tarryall Creek set against the peaks of the Continental Divide.

One of the finest privately owned fishing ranches in North America. Located in the Eastern Sierras with 8± miles of trout stream on 2,000± acres and only 25 members. Membership includes the right to build one cabin.

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Live in Buena Vista, Near Colorado’s Newest Gold Medal Trout Waters Of the Upper Arkansas River

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$69,000 to $169,000 The Reserve is a 100 acre development (41 lots) with 30 acres of greenspace along one mile of Cottonwood Creek, set aside as a permanent nature sanctuary protecting the Creek and its wooded wetlands. Fly fish along the Creek or in the four private catch and release trout ponds. 10 minutes from the Arkansas River. The covered pavilion provides a social venue for families and the community. A hiking/jogging trail goes along the Creek and around the perimeter. The Reserve has city sewers; lot owners drill their own well, augmented for outside watering. The Reserve has been created with consistently high architectural, ecological, and aesthetic standards which will contribute to and ensure the quality of life for current and future generations.

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$374,500. Imagine your own private 15.95 acre mining claim and cabin surrounded by the San Isabel National Forest; 25 minutes from the Gold Medal Waters of the Upper Arkansas River. The 2 BR, 1 Bath 1090 sq ft. cabin has been well maintained; a 260 sq ft screened porch and bonus room adds extra space for relaxing or sleeping. The 930 sq ft wrap-around deck has views from the Collegiates to Buffalo Peaks. Vaulted ceilings with skylights, custom milled pine floors. Solar; generator for well pump. Two car detached garage. Extensive fire mitigation for insurance. Hunting, hiking, biking, snowmobiling, 4-wheeling; badminton, rifle range, and horseshoe pits on the property. Deer, antelope, elk, wild turkey, and Bighorn sheep roaming. Located in the Bassam Park area, less than 10 miles from US 285/24; within 16 miles from Buena Vista. Direct TV Satellite reception. Propane stove, refrigerator and water heater; stove also has wood burning capability. Assessor’s office shows 2 BRs; there are 3, each with closet and window/s. Closest neighbor is Elk Mountain Ranch.

Mountain Living Near the Arkansas River Custom built home in Buena Vista, CO; 15 minutes from Gold Medal Waters of the Upper Arkansas River. Unobstructed views of the 14,000 ft peaks of the Collegiate Range and Sangre de Cristo Range, San Isabel National Forest and the Arkansas River Valley. 3 BR and bonus room; 3.5 baths. 4,820 sf living area, plus sunroom. Upgrades and interesting designer touches throughout. Large decks, partially covered, for relaxing and entertaining. Property includes a detached 1,760 sf workshop/garage with wood stove and oversized doors. Oversized 2 car att. garage; storage above via staircase. Includes chef’s kitchen, sealed porcelain tile, hand crafted wood trim, custom hickory cabinetry and five panel doors throughout. Security system with five remote accessed cameras. ICF and added insulation maximize energy efficiency. Extensive fire mitigation practices. Landscaping plan has been implemented to complement the natural beauty. Beautifully maintained; looks nearly new. Direct access to the adjacent national forest.


Call Dan Cooper for Details and Private Showing 4

High Country Angler • Summer 2016


IT’S SUMMER, AND YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS! Come to KREMMLING, Colorado for Some of the Best Fishing in the Rockies

Drift Boats & Fly Fishermen Welcome!

• The Upper Colorado by Parshall • Gore Canyon • Pump House • Radium • State Bridge • The Blue River • Williams Fork River & Reservoir • The Muddy Creek • Wolford Reservoir

Navigate the waters yourself or hire an experienced fishing guide


Summer 2016 • High Country Angler



J ac k Tallo n & Frank M ar tin

C O NTENT C ONSU LTANT L ando n M ayer


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


B r i an L a R ue, S ales & M a r keting b r ian@ hc am agaz i 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 Cell: ( 719) 432- 8317


David M ar tin, Creative Direc tor & Graphic D esigner w w


Frank Martin, Landon Mayer, Brian LaRue, Angus Drummond


Frank Martin, Landon Mayer, Brian LaRue, Bill Edrington, Joel Evans, David Nickum, John Nickum

Copyright 2014, 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 719-265-4082, or email 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 T E L E P H O N E 7 19-265-4082 FA X 719-593-0040 Published in cooperation with Colorado Trout Unlimited 620 Sixteenth Street, Suite 300 Denver, CO 80202


for more great content and features


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ON THE COVER: Landon Mayer

Find High Country Angler Magazine on

TOC PHOTO: River Mayer

Summer 2016 • High Country Angler


Leading the Rise

by Landon Mayer 8

High Country Angler • Summer 2016


t is hard to beat the thrill of watching a giant trout roll onto the water’s surface like a whale to consume an adult insect. In river settings, the fish will wait for the current to deliver the top water treat. In still water, the fish are on the prowl and will eat on the surface as they move. This can be frustrating for anglers, because you can’t cast to the ring left after a rise; you have to lead the rise to ensure the fish will see your dry. Below are some helpful tips that will increase your top water odds for reservoirs, lakes, and ponds.

First things first: when rigging for still water dries, remember that these fish are twice as strong as resident river fish, because they are built for constant movement and speed. Leader and tippet sizes of 4x or greater are a must. To prevent the leader from sinking, use monofilament over fluorocarbon; I prefer long leader and tippet lengths of 10 feet or greater. This prevents disturbance from the fly line landing close to a cruising trout, and also helps to keep the fish from detecting a light or colored fly line.

Summer 2016 • High Country Angler


Seeing the Direction In preparing to deliver dries to moving targets, you need to see the path of the feeding trout. Look to see if it’s moving left to right or right to left, toward the bank or standing, or away at an angle. The best visual—the fish’s head— can be the hardest to see because it will re-submerge immediately after the rise. I prefer the tail that slowly slithers below the surface, shaped liked a forward triangle pointing in swimming direction. Some fish will sip or suck the adult off the water without exposing any part of their body. In this situation look for a wake in the ring left after the rise. With the target so close to the surface, the dorsal or tip of the tail will leave the wake again forming an arrow in the direction the trout is hunting its next meal. And last but not least is the Hail Mary cast—you know, the one when you simply have no clue in what direction the fish is moving. In this frantic state you will need to pick a side and hope you are ahead of the action.

Overshooting Zone



It is difficult to land the fly directly in front of the cruising target, especially at longer casting ranges. To ensure the imitation will be seen, I prefer to overshoot. This will give me breathing room to move the fly into position to intercept the trout and its viewing lane. In some situations, the extra distance will not make a difference with fish heavy on the feed. After you land the fly, the next decision is how to move the bug into position. There are so many ways this can be done—including skating, twitching, or popping. I am a fan of skating the dry to mimic the moments of a natural caddis, as it is less startling. This technique can be accomplished very easily by simply applying a large mend to the fly line. Matched with a size #14 Goddard Caddis, you are now ready for action. Lastly, the most important part about moving a fly is not always the act; it is the pause in between. This lets the trout know the food source is not going to escape or that it is injured.



Landon’s books and DVDs are available for order on his website

W W W. L A N D O N M AY E R . C O M 10

High Country Angler • Summer 2016

Make Like a Rock Just like the Chevy Truck commercial “like a rock,” you want to remain calm and still for at least two seconds when the fish slurps in your dry. Large trout are lazy by nature, not wanting to expend energy, and boy that can certainly be true with dries! The pause will allow the fish to re-submerge its head below the surface, making sure the fly sticks in the corner of the jaw. One thing I have realized in the last five years is that the hook set should be performed with the thought that the fish is going to immediately bolt. Fish in still waters are particularly notorious for displaying burst of speed so fast it is impossible to physically react. If you raise your arm with the rod, performing a convex bend, the fly will stay in place while the rod is pointed forward with the bend, and the reel can do its job as it screams from the initial run. This leaves the issue of what to do with slack line at your feet when the fish runs. I learned to defeat slack line issues in my twenties while Tarpon fishing in Florida. The guide on my first trip chasing spikes taught me the circle of trust—haha, yes, similar to Meet the Fockers. To perform the circle after the fish takes your fly, release the trigger index finger on the hand holding the rod, and then with your noncasting hand, perform a circle with your thumb and index finger with the line inside. Don’t pinch down all the way with the circle; keep some tension and lift you hand up while the line is feeding out the guides. This prevents fly line from jumping in the air and wrapping on everything it can.

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I encourage you to not only try these techniques the next time you are fishing your favorite lake or reservoir, but to explore the still waters that are littered throughout the US. These bodies of water offer the chance for an angler to hook into the fish of a lifetime, and some of these giants are willing to rise!

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About the Author.

Landon Mayer is a veteran Colorado guide and author of several books, including 101 Trout Tips: A Guide’s Secrets, Tactics, and TechniquesStackpole/Headwaters Books. He has co-produced 2 fly fishing DVDs with John Barr, both available from Mad Trout Media. Visit Landon’s website at

Stop by or visit online: Dave Scadden Paddlesports 303-674-5100

6949 Highway 73 | Suite ME-3 | Evergreen, CO 80439 Summer 2016 • High Country Angler


East River Appetizer or Main Course?


oloradoans have lots of “extras” to fly fish. These are t¬he waters most pass over due to a more famous river in the region. That’s fine by me because sometimes a fishery someone might consider an appetizer, is truly a main course in somebody else’s eyes. That’s the way I feel about the East River as the Taylor and Gunnison steal the thunder in the greater Gunnison and Crested Butte area. The East River is a surprising fishery, adding fire to the Crested Butte/Almont/Gunnison area with great fishing for a variety of trout—and they are willing. My personal experiences with the East have always been exciting with good averages and great numbers of fish. My first experience on the East came during the inaugural 8 River Rodeo, a fun 2-day, 8-river fishing event aimed at raising money for great causes. The goal of the event is for you and a partner to each catch fish on four rivers a day, totaling sixteen fish and qualifying for a chance at some bragging rights. It was a fun time mingling with fellow anglers, but it was the East that made the event for me. My partner and I drew the East as our first river to fish. We ran over to the Roaring Judy Fish section, and despite there being limited public water, we had the place to ourselves and proceeded to each catch scoring fish. The crazy thing about the river and the short one hour I spent there was, I caught and released about fourteen browns running 11 to 20 inches. They all fell for a Lil’ Rainbow Stanley Streamer. All this happened in about three bends with two pools and about six riffles. Since then I’ve gone back only a handful of times. I still found the place deserted, and fish were willing as ever. As for fish, I’ve already mentioned browns, but the river that runs from above Crested Butte down to Almont to join the Taylor to power the Gunnison, is also home to rainbows, cutthroat, brookies, and kokanee. Kokanee fishing can be fun. For those who have never chased after these bright-colored, land-locked salmon, action can be good on streamers. Here the fish run up from Blue Mesa in the fall and can be quite fat—pushing over 3 pounds if you catch a large one. You will have to release any you catch, but you’ll enjoy the fight they offer as well. Kokanee in the system also means big browns and rainbows. Don’t count out an egg pattern or a kokanee-colored streamer; you never know when a big trout is waiting for a 12

High Country Angler • Summer 2016

by Brian La Rue

substantial meal under a cut bank. This kokanee fun typically gets hopping in late September. This time of the year is also when Patrick Blackdale from Willow Fly Anglers said they saw a 25-inch brown hit an egg last year! Focus—let’s pick up the bug report from July since my calendar says July 2016! Jason White at Crested Butte Angler is seeing great hatches of stones, PMDs, green drakes, caddis and then BWOs will follow in late summer and into fall. The summer and the fall months are when you will see other anglers on the river, but there are other options to find some more space. This public section of the river is considered Wild Trout Water, so that means a bonus for you and me, as action is only for fly fishermen. Though there isn’t much public water to fish, if you team up with a local guide or outfitter, they have permission from land owners to take clients to lessfished, private water and don’t count out the ponds with youngsters! Do you have little guppies in tow like myself? The Roaring Judy ponds offer some great fishing for kids in a safe environment. Located just a few miles north of Almont, they are easy to find and close to the amenities of both Almont and Crested Butte. Upstream of Mt. Crested Butte, the upper East River offers miles of beautiful small-stream fishing. The alpine setting here is sure to wow any angler, and browns and brookies are plentiful and eager to take dries most of the year. Back at Willow Fly Anglers and the Three Rivers Resort in Almont, I finally asked about private access. Blackdale says they have access to the Trampe Ranch water located in Crested Butte behind Crested Butte Mountain. Though I’ve yet to try my luck personally, Patrick says the scenery is only matched by the epic fishing. July and August are great times to book this trip, but don’t count out the fall, when the golden leaves of the aspens are only topped by this wild trout fishery offering plenty of willing trout. In addition to this tremendous private water, the Willow Fly team can also take you on the East River Anglers Club. This water is just a mile or so north of the shop, and you can enjoy great weekday action here for some of Colorado’s fattest browns, plump rainbows, solid cutthroat and hard-fighting cutbows. This fishery is one of the shop’s most popular destinations during the season, and is often a

Photo Courtesy Crested Butte Anglers

Summer 2016 • High Country Angler


Photo Courtesy Three Rivers Resort

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High Country Angler • Summer 2016

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per-dropper proposition. If the public water and these private water offerings aren’t enough to get you out of your easy chair, the East also offers the Veltri Ranch private water. This water is located adjacent to the Trampe Ranch behind Crested Butte Mountain and offers easy fishing access for all levels of fly fishermen. This section of the East River has an abundant population of rainbows and several big, wild browns. “Come see our area, and you’ll see it is the most beautiful destination in Colorado with world class recreational activities and a real small town feel,” said Jason White at Crested Butte Angler. “It is not easy to get here, but well worth it. Our fishing variety would have to be our biggest asset. Float fishing, wade fishing, high mountain streams, lakes, we have it all without the masses of people you’ll find other destinations. Plan a trip soon.” Still not convinced? Well, Blackwell added, “Gunnison Valley is a trout fisher’s paradise, but its allure goes beyond angling alone. The Gunnison val-



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ley is home to friendly locals who are happy to show you and About The Author. your family a great time. The scenery here ranges from rolling High Country Angler contributor Brian La Rue enjoys giving green hills, lush valleys, and cottonwood ranchland in Gunfly fishers ideas of where to go for an adventure. Feel free nison to massive snow-capped peaks in Crested Butte. Rest to reach out to Brian in person if you travel to Jackson Hole. assured there will be something for the entire family to enjoy; Swing by Orvis in Jackson, or simply contact rafting, biking, hiking, fishing, camping, or just sit back and La Rue at relax in the fresh mountain air.” So there you have it, great fishing and — Cody/Yellowstone Premier Flyfishing Outfitter — a couple of invitations from my friends. When planning a trip to this beautiful place, reach out to our friends at Almont Resort and Three Rivers Resort for a room. Willow Fly Anglers, Almont AnProfessionally Guiding Anglers glers, and Crested Butte Anglers would for more than 30 Years! be the go-to-guys for guided fishing in Full & Half Day Guided Trips Walk-ins Welcome the area as well. As always, share your Great Hatches/Wild Trout Fish Year Round photos with us on our Facebook page Certified Professional Fly Shop since 1984 or tag us with a #hcamagazine or @hcaOrvis Endorsed Outfitter/Guide & Authorized Dealer magazine on Instagram.

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High Country Angler • Summer 2016

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Summer 2016 • High Country Angler


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Throwback a Fly to Yesteryear


very so often, some product or event has a throwback campaign— a return to the past. Professional football will occasionally bring out their uniforms from past teams. Soda pop has special editions with real cane sugar. Classic muscle cars have returned This is an actual used fly from my Dad’s collecwith a body line tion. Look closely and you will see the thread very similar to their first model on the head coming loose. It is a Rio Grande years. Ever yone King, commercially tied, from the 1960s. I has a past—some have a number of them. When Dad used a fly just longer than others. My past and caught fish, he would “retire” it and put it includes a fly on a felt board that I have to this day. pattern that for a time—at least

Not that fish are smart, but particularly in some heavy pressure public access, they do become selective. So one way to counteract the selectivity is to change patterns. If the fish hasn’t seen that pattern, then maybe there is a greater interest as it floats by. Not that the change has to be to a historical tie such as a Rio Grande King, but why not? These traditional wet flies were fished downstream on the swing as an emerger. But they are also effective in an upstream dead drift, particularly on a tight line with the ability to lift the fly during the downstream drift. For tying the wings of the Rio Grande King, either dry or wet, the traditional material is duck quill. This could still be used of course, but synthetics are easier to tie and much more durable after a fish or two or three. One advantage of these patterns is they can be scaled small to large with no change in the recipe, just the proportions. So try it out this way: put a few Rio Grande Kings in your box, dry and wet. Then one summer day, on a small stream with some active fish, use them and judge for yourself. Then another day, when your modern patterns aren’t producing, give the fish a history lesson. The contrarian principle could just be the answer.

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

Yellow hackle tail, gold tinsel tag, black chenille body, brown hackle, white duck wing.

in the trout streams of the Rocky Mountains—was a favorite, a best seller, a standard. Dad and Clifford used a Rio Grande King until the wings fell off. Whatever is the best selling commercial pattern today, I expect the Rio Grande King was sitting on the throne in my formative fly fishing years of the early 1960’s. I know Fothergill’s fly shop in Aspen sold a ton of them to my Dad and others. The pattern then was generally fished in two versions, either a dry or a wet. In those days, a wet was the equivalent of today’s emerger. With a Rio Grande King, and other patterns such as a Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear, the primary difference between a dry and a wet was an upwing versus a downwing, with the body of the pattern mostly the same. So, should we just let the past be the past? Or could there still be value in the patterns of yesterday? The answer is an emphatic yes—these patterns caught fish in their prime days, and can be just as effective today. Maybe, I would argue, more effective today than some of the more modern patterns. Why? Because of the contrarian effect of fly patterns.

Summer 2016 • High Country Angler


The Good Old Days Are Now for the


Colorado River by Jack Bombardier

t’s tempting to think that things used to be better in the past than they are now, and that if we could only step into a time machine and emerge back into 1969 or 1955 or 1928 or whenever, the world would be a much better place. For some aspects of life, that might well be true. But for one vital resource that’s near and dear to my heart, the Colorado River, I’ve begun to think that the Good Old Days are right now, and not in some distant past. This is now my thirteenth year of living beside what I like to call the “Lower Upper” Colorado River, and I’ve never seen the river in better shape than it is now. Thanks to a wet spring, the reservoirs on the west slope are all full, as are the ones on the Front Range, so water that might have gone east under the Continental Divide are in their rightful watersheds instead. Also, this spring we’ve been catching more rainbow trout than I’ve seen in over twenty years, due in part to Hofers that were planted 20

High Country Angler • Summer 2016

upriver several years ago, and above Dotsero in September of 2012. Many of the ones we’ve been catching are either the same size as those planted or even smaller, which means that these are wild fish, and not pellet-fed hatchery stock. The third thing making me happy these days are the bugs. In the last week or so since the runoff ended, we’ve been having caddis hatches here like we haven’t seen since the big water of 2011. Since that high water year, the caddis have been around but in much reduced numbers. We might have a couple of days of hatches around in May, but would then see hardly any for the rest of the summer. Previous to 2011, the Lower Upper was wonderful caddis water. Like most fly fisherfolk, I prefer to catch a trout on a dry fly to any other method. As much fun as it is to watch a rainbow come up and hammer a hopper pattern, or to see an aggressive, hormonal brown streak out of its hole to chase a streamer, there’s just

nothing like seeing a trout come up out of nowhere to sip a welldrifted fly that is connected to your rod. It is the essence of what makes fly fishing as addictive as it is. And of all the hatches one can be on the water to witness, caddis hatches are my favorite. A fish can be fooled on a dead drift with a caddis, but sometimes it’s putting a little action into your fly that elicits the strike. A caddis will sometimes work better if it’s dragging or skating across the seam, like a female caddis laying its eggs. Sometimes they even work better after they’ve sunk. Since they are so busy and float so well, even a beginner with little concept of line mending can find success fishing a caddis pattern. I’ll often recommend to clients that when they are ready to lift the fly off the water to make their next cast, they should lift it slowly and then accelerate their lift, instead of just yanking the fly out. It’s often just as they begin to pull it out that the fish moves in to strike. And if there are small mayflies such as BWOs or Tricos hatching as well, a caddis makes a great top fly to keep track of the smaller mayfly attached to the bend of its hook. Seeing as many caddis back on the river as we’ve had, with plenty of water to supply our needs for the rest of the year, is making me hopeful that 2016 has the makings of an epic year! I’m a relative newcomer to our fair State, having only moved here thirty years ago in 1986. This was just after Windy Gap Reservoir went online, and long-time locals will point to that as being the main cause of the degradation of the Upper Colorado River that followed. The reservoir created a shallow 400-acre lake, which warmed the water and cut off the connection of the

river to the waters above and below. In addition to diverting water east that should have flowed west, it also had a significant impact on the macro-invertebrates in the river, and by extension, the fish that rely on them as a food source. Windy Gap has had a negative impact on the Upper Colorado, but the good news on that front is that Northern Water has agreed in principle to build a bypass around the fetid reservoir, pending studies that show it to be viable and the money found to build it. As for the Lower Upper (the Colorado River below Kremmling), we’ve been somewhat immune to the compromised water that the upper river gets, thanks to the added flows of the Blue, and of Muddy Creek below Wolford Mountain Reservoir. The beneficial effects of the cold, clear water of the Blue River below Green Mountain Reservoir are well known. Less appreciated are the positive effects that Wolford Mountain has had on the Lower Upper Colorado River. Wolford acts as a huge sediment trap for the turbid waters of the aptly named Muddy Creek. Since the dam was finished in the late 1990s, it’s had the effect of a much clearer river below than there used to be back in the “good old days.” There’s also one more bit of good news this year related to Wolford Mountain: a couple of years ago, it was noted that the Pritchard Dam (which created the impoundment) had shifted more than its engineers had anticipated. A concern arose that if the dam ever failed, it could result in the greatest “natural” disaster Colorado has ever seen, as a huge wall of water would roar down the Colorado and take out everything west of Dotsero with it. My house would probably

Summer 2016 • High Country Angler


end up somewhere in Westwater Canyon, or perhaps Lake Powell. However, this year an independent study was done that concluded that the amount of shifting the dam has done was within safe amounts, so perhaps there is one less thing to worry about after all. So in July of 2016, there is nothing but good news to report from my perch here beside the lovely Lower Upper. I don’t have a crystal ball, and can’t predict what kind of summer it might be in terms of weather (of course even people who are paid to do that sort of thing can’t). But I can visualize a day a long time from now in the future, when Elon Musk’s Tesla Time Machine Inc. is doing a booming business, when someone steps into a little capsule with a fiber optic fishing rod and types “Summer 2016” into the control panel for a visit back to the “Good Old Days!”




Jack Bombardier is ther owner of Confluence Casting in Gypsum, Colorado. He spends his time float fishing and guiding on the Colorado River. You can contact Jack via his website at www.


High Country Angler • Summer 2016



Of Stoneflies And Men


he cab being already full, we created something of a nest in the truck bed, moving oars, dry bags and coolers about, and settled into the crevices between, hunkering low out of the

wind that had picked up from the south. The road stayed level with the river for a half mile before climbing steeply onto a plateau of drab adobe, rounded hills separated by crumbling arroyos. As we gained elevation, the river and surrounding countryside was revealed it for what it was - a thin and fragile ribbon of green cutting through a landscape parched and timeless. The last of the evening’s sun drew forth the yellows and ochers of the sandstone, while several miles upriver behind us, the canyon itself appeared little more than a dark smudge against the darkening sky. It is countryside demanding thick skins and slow metabolism of its inhabitants, where long stretches of torpor and economy are interspersed with brief periods of

cor, survival depending on equal parts luck and tenacity. I took a slug of water and turned toward him. “So, what do you think? What will your tell your fishing buddies back in Pennsylvania?” He scratched the stubble on his chin, eyes fixed on the horizon, and shrugged. “I’m not sure. I’ll show them a few photos, some of the fish we’ve caught, but I’m not sure anything I can say can do this place justice. I guess I’ll just have to tell them they need to get out here and see for themselves.” I nodded. “Unless you’ve been here, smelled it, felt the heat and tasted the dust, there are really no words to adequately describe it. I know I can’t.” “One thing for sure… I want to come back. I wish I’d discovered this place twenty years ago. Not just this river, but the West in general.” I mulled over his words. “I sometimes wonder about that - the timing of life. Where we’re born and when we’re born and what we do with that. There’s lessons I wished I’d learned earlier, places I wished I’d discovered, mistakes I hadn’t made, but then I wouldn’t be here and now, and I can’t imagine being anywhere else.” He nodded, massaging his casting shoulder, still staring off into the distance. “Yeah, I know. Still, when you get to my age, it’s easy to get preoccupied with what is already behind you, left undone. You realize that

list is longer than the one of what you’ve achieved.” I thought again of the stoneflies that had crowded the tree earlier that afternoon, drawn to the cool and the shade to quietly go about their business of procreation, and whether it really matters, what is still on the list and what is crossed off, beyond trying to repair whatever bridges we burn along the way. Ultimately, stonefly or fisherman, the end is the same. “That list will always be longer.” He nodded. The river was gone now from view, just the top of a distant mesa still showing the light of day. We bounced over washboards, the headlights picking out the road ahead, while behind, the dust kicked up by our progress was swallowed in the dusk. Somewhere out there, the stoneflies would be settling into their nocturnal roost, while still others would shortly crawl from the depths where, under the full moon’s glow, they will shed their skins and blossom, briefly, in the canyon that has been their cradle since the beginning of their time.

About The Author.

A native of New Zealand, Hayden has fished and guided both Down Under and in Colorado for over twenty years. He currently resides in the mountain town of Salida, CO, where he still guides, works in recreational real estate, volunteers in local land and water protection, and is in the throes of writing his first book. Summer 2016 • High Country Angler


Trout Unlimited in Colorado

Year In Review

2 015 24

High Country Angler • Summer 2016 Conserving, protecting and restoring Colorado’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds

Our Mission

From the President A series of “Cs” played a big role in Trout Unlimited’s successes in Colorado for 2015.

To conserve, protect, and restore Colorado’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.

Conservation continues across the state through the work of our grassroots volunteers in our 24 local chapters. Combine that with the dedication of our skilled professional staff and active board of volunteer directors, you then have a winning team Combination.

We Get Things Done: We conserve Colorado’s fisheries using four key tactics:

Collaboration.. TU brings stakeholders together in partnership to achieve common goals. We develop projects with landowners, irrigators and government, often resolving diverse and opposing interests.

Focus and Persistence. TU delivers results through multi-year efforts. We helped secure National Monument protection for Browns Canyon and developed the Learning by Doing agreement with Denver Water.

Collaboration is at the heart of many of our efforts, as we teamed with irrigators on conservation projects and flood restoration, engaged with public and private grantors to stretch the impact of our donors’ generous support, and partnered with agencies and water users to launch the cooperative “Learning by Doing” effort to conserve the Colorado River headwaters. The local relationships built by our 24 local Chapters allow TU to be an effective partner with these efforts all over the state. Colorado Water Plan – Trout Unlimited played a key role in development of the Plan by serving on 6 of the state’s 9 basin roundtables and submitting detailed comments and suggested changes on each working draft that was issued. We pressed hard for Stream Management Plans and strong water conservation goals, and these were included in the final Water Plan presented to the Governor on November 19, 2015. Congress - off to Washington D.C. last October to participate in TU’s Clean Water fly-in! I was privileged to represent Colorado in support of proposed Rulemakings for the Clean Water Act. Two days of meeting/lobbying with Congressional delegations resulted in successfully defeating a bill

that would roll back the proposed rules.

Challenges – In August of last year we awoke to headlines and dramatic pictures of an orange Animas River. The deluge of mine wastes flowing down the river channel through several states brought a deluge of responses from local, state and national TU members. The event also energized political entities at all levels to not only remediate the initial impacts, but also to establish long term Good Samaritan legislation to address the westwide problem of abandoned mines. And the biggest C of all – our Contributors. Gifts of “time, talent, and treasure” from our members, volunteers, and donors provide the foundation for all of our successes. Thank you for helping TU make a difference for Colorado today and tomorrow! Marshall Pendergrass Colorado TU President

Leverage.. TU multiplies donor funds and our 10,000 members’ sweat equity through grants from federal, state and foundation sources. Every dollar goes further for conservation. Reliance on Science.. TU builds programs on a foundation of solid science and data monitoring. Good research guides restoration designs and river advocacy.


Trout Unlimited in Colorado 2015 Year In Review

Summer 2016 • High Country Angler


Flood Recovery

Angler Science Helps Roadmap to Recovery

Floods, Fish, & Teamwork From September 10th to 13th, 2013, multiple days of severe rain pummeled the Front Range, and caused catastrophic floods. The small town of Lyons took the brunt of the storm’s might, receiving more than 17 inches of precipitation. Unparalleled rainfall caused the otherwise tame St. Vrain Creek to rise to around ten times its normal water volume.

leverage initial contributions of $7,500 with state and federal grants totaling $290,000, along with a $30,000 in-kind contribution from the ditch companies. In addition to rebuilding an improved diversion, the project included installation of features to help stabilize stream banks and improve fish habitat.

CTU and our members continued to partner with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) in 2015 to assess and document stream conditions on Northern Colorado forests

In the aftermath of the flooding, the St. Vrain Anglers Chapter and Colorado TU partnered with irrigators on the South Ledge and Meadow Ditches to help them rebuild their diversion structures in a more river-friendly way. Instead of building a dam blocking the entire river channel, TU and irrigators partnered on a project that provided a more natural river channel and maintained fish passage for trout and native fish, while reliably delivering water to the ditch users.

damaged by the 2013 floods. Two years later, there is still debris along the rivers and degraded habitat in many watersheds. More than 70 trained TU volunteers, interns, and staff collected very detailed scientific data at hundreds of river sites to help the USFS

The Meadow and South Ledge Ditch Diversion Reconstruction and Fish Passage Demonstration Project was completed in May 2015. TU helped

develop a plan for restoring more resilient watersheds.

“The team did not simply fall back on obsolete, damaging, and easy solutions, but took the time to explore beyond the traditional, identifying new project designs that support the broad stakeholder community along the South St. Vrain.” – Erik Wilkinson, President, St. Vrain Anglers TU

What’s Next? 2015 Colorado Cane Conclave St. Vrain Anglers TU partnered with South Creek Ltd. to co-sponsor the 2015 Cane Conclave. Proceeds from the event exceeded $28,000 and will be dedicated to restoration efforts at the Button Rock Preserve along North St. Vrain Creek west of Lyons.


High Country Angler • Summer 2016

In 2016, CTU, our local chapters, and community partners are moving forward with further projects in floodimpacted watersheds, including on North St. Vrain Creek at the Button Rock Preserve, restoring an urban reach of Boulder Creek, and designing improvements for fish passage on the lower Big Thompson.


River & Riparian Restoration Lower Creek Flood Restoration Project Iron Fly Grand Valley Anglers and Western Anglers in Grand Junction have paired up to host Iron Fly competitions which are growing in popularity. In this funky fly tying event, challengers compete to tie the best fly under certain restraints such as being blind folded. The Iron Fly events have raised awareness of the local fly shop and attracted new members to the TU chapter.

The U.S. Forest Service and Trout Unlimited partnered to stabilize and restore a half-mile section of flood-damaged stream in the Lefthand Canyon trails area on the Roosevelt National Forest northwest of Boulder. The popular trails system has been closed since the September 2013 flood washed out access roads and primary trails, saturated hillsides and permanently altered stream courses. The area was a former illegal shooting area, so TU’s Mine Restoration team led the project due to their experience in dealing with metals pollution and stream restoration.

Before, during, and after photos from Lower Creek, shot looking upstream at a lone remaining cottonwood tree. Steep, contaminated slopes appear on the left side of the top photos, while stabilized, treated slopes and a developed floodplain can be seen after construction (below). The before photos also show the absence of a stream channel from flood damage, while a developed bankfull channel can be seen after construction.


Trout Unlimited in Colorado 2015 Year In Review

Summer 2016 • High Country Angler


Hodge Honored for Project Partnerships

Restoring Mine-Impacted Streams Partnerships for Leavenworth Creek Leavenworth Creek provides drinking water for Georgetown and supports a brook trout fishery. This remote and idyllic watershed has a rich mining history from the 1860s through the 1950s, at the Waldorf, Vidler and Santiago mines. Today, some of the remnants need to be cleaned up in order to ensure a healthy headwater ecosystem. During mining, a large area of dispersed mill tailings was created via slurry channels stemming from the Waldorf mill. The tailings were dispersed down valley and continue to leach high levels of metals and sediment into the highly braided channel of Leavenworth Creek. The goal of TU’s restoration project was to consolidate runoff and decrease its velocity, reducing the metals running into Leavenworth Creek, and removing the most contaminated tailings away from wet areas. With funding from the U.S. Forest Service, Freeport-McMoRan Inc., and the National Forest Foundation, TU successfully completed construction of 2,500 feet of single thread channel, removed approximately 5,400 cubic yards of mine tailings from the floodplain, and buried the tailings at two on-site repositories. Large boulders and woody debris also were used in the channel to provide habitat diversity and reduce flow in steeper sections of the channel. A ten foot clean-cap floodplain bench was created on both

sides of the channel to promote native vegetation establishment. This buffer zone now acts as a floodplain to slow down high flows associated with spring runoff and summer rainfall events. Also, a large wetland was created using locally harvested willow transplants and sedge mats that will help filter sediment and provide stability for the lower project reach. Combined, these efforts will improve both habitat and water quality in a key tributary in the Clear Creek watershed.

Hodge recently received the U.S. Forest Service’s 2015 Rise to the Future Award in part for his skill and leadership in forging successful partnerships. Hodge works out of Steamboat Springs in the Yampa and White River basins with the primary goal of restoring healthy stream flows and habitat on the Routt National Forest and adjacent private lands. His efforts have restored native Colorado River Cutthroat Trout, raised over $785,000 for projects, and developed many new river restoration projects benefitting recreational fisheries and ecosystem function.

What’s Next? A 2016 TU project will continue the restoration of Leavenworth Creek, tackling metals contamination at the Santiago Mill.

Native Cutthroats Return to the Roan! For years, Colorado TU and volunteers with the Grand Valley Anglers Chapter have worked to protect and restore fish habitat on the Roan Plateau near Rifle, and to allow for native cutthroat trout to be returned to portions of the Parachute Creek watershed where they had been


High Country Angler • Summer 2016

Biologists are often typecast as scientific types whose expertise is critters, not community. But Brian Hodge, an aquatic restoration biologist with TU’s Western Water and Habitat Program, is as adept at organizing people and partnerships as he is at restoring fish habitat – and the fisheries world is taking notice.

“Since he arrived in 2010, Brian has become an integral advocate, partner, and colleague,” said Rick Henderson, Routt National Forest Fishery Biologist. “He has been involved in 19 stream and riparian restoration projects either on or immediately adjacent to the Forest, represented Trout Unlimited on numerous teams, and become a recognized leader in aquatic restoration within the region.”

displaced by brook trout. In 2015, our partners at Colorado Parks and Wildlife completed their first stocking of native cutthroat above a TU-installed barrier on the East Fork of Parachute Creek – marking a major step forward for native trout in this iconic Colorado landscape.


Water Partnerships

Defending Clean Water With strong support from TU and other conservation and sporting organizations, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a new Clean Water Rule ensuring that Clean Water Act protections apply to our vital headwater

“We are the Animas” Mine Spill Brought TU, Community Together

and feeder streams. Built on the common sense proposition that water quality downstream depends on water quality upstream, the Rule restores protections that were in place for decades but that were put into question by more recent court rulings. Hundreds of CTU members weighed in with Colorado’s Congressional delegation, TU contributed articles to regional papers touting the rule’s benefits for water quality, and CTU President Marshall Pendergrass flew to

The images shocked the nation: a cherished Western river turned sickly orange by mine pollution. The Gold King mine spill into the headwaters of the Animas River in August was a wake up call to the nation about the threat of toxic mine pollution to our rivers, streams and community water supplies. The spill, caused by an EPA crew probing a mine opening, sent more than 3 million gallons of mustardcolored heavy metals gushing down Cement Creek near Silverton into the Animas. Hours later, the plume moved through the town of Durango’s Gold Medal trout waters. Fortunately, the spill did not inflict immediate damage to the Animas’ trout population, although the long-term impacts to the river remain unknown. But the incident underscored the urgency

of finding a solution to the scores of abandoned hardrock mines that leach poisons, day in and day out, into the Animas headwaters, stunting aquatic life for miles downstream of Silverton. Trout Unlimited, which has worked for years on the abandoned mine problem, quickly moved to provide leadership in the crisis. TU launched a “We Are the Animas” campaign to engage local citizens with cleanup efforts. And TU is working with Mountain Studies Institute on a two-year study of macroinvertebrates in the river to monitor aquatic bug life and shed light on long-term mine impacts to river health. The spill also shone a spotlight on TU’s campaign for Good Samaritan legislation, which would give TU and other qualified Good Sam groups the

Washington, DC to lobby on behalf of water quality. While Congress ultimately passed legislation attempting to block the rule, the President vetoed the bill and efforts to override the veto failed. Senator Michael Bennet was a key vote in upholding the President’s veto and the Clean Water Rule.


Trout Unlimited in Colorado 2015 Year In Review

Summer 2016 • High Country Angler


Bridging Generations in Gunnison Our Gunnison Angling Society (GAS) Chapter teamed up with Western State Colorado University in Gunnison to hire two Communications Interns to help with marketing, branding, youth outreach, and promoting the chapter’s annual Superfly event. Student interns Philip Conrad and Sara George helped the chapter increase

Photos courtesy of Ty Churchwell, Duranglers, and the Durango Herald.

the visibility of its work in the community and build a stronger connection to the college’s student Trout Unlimited Club, the Sockeyes. John Bocchino who manages the GAS website and chapter communications, is a long time fly fishing guide in the Gunnison valley who currently works for Eleven and Irwin Guides as their Colorado Fishing Manager. John supervised the two interns during their employment. “It was exciting for our chapter to bring on two interns to help us reach the younger generation,” John said. “We realize that we must have a connection to the next generation of TUers if we are to be The public took note when the Animas briefly ran orange following the Gold King “spill” - but a similar amount of metal pollution is released more gradually into the Animas headwaters every week, a chronic problem that TU and its local partners are committed to addressing.

legal protection needed to pursue the costly and complex process of treating mine pollution. After months of behind the scenes discussions with TU and other stakeholders, Sens. Bennet and Gardner introduced bipartisan Good Sam legislation in Congress. What’s more, in early 2016, the town of Silverton announced that it would support 30

High Country Angler • Summer 2016

the EPA in designating the area a Superfund site. Ty Churchwell, TU’s San Juan Mountains Coordinator, called the Superfund plan “comprehensive in scope and impact.” If done right, with sufficient resources and followthrough, a Superfund designation could finally solve the Animas’ chronic mine pollution problem and restore the Animas watershed to its full health and potential.

successful as a chapter in the long term. Phil and Sara were instrumental in making that connection happen and providing our chapter with an opportunity to follow through on our outreach efforts.”

John Bocchino with a beautiful brown.


Youth Education

A Decade of Inspiring Youth River Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Collin Papuga

Grant Burke

Nick Rzyska-Filipek

CTU’s River Explorers program combines multiple learning experiences in watershed science and angling across different grade levels, including raising Trout in the Classroom, water quality monitoring with RiverWatch, angling instruction through the National Fishing in Schools Program, and hands-on science explorations with TU’s “Stream Explorers” curriculum. In 2015, the program expanded into a second school district – Adams 12 – thanks to generous support from our friends at Suncor.

In 2015, Colorado TU – with support from the Purgatoire River Anglers Chapter and Phil Long Toyota – hosted its tenth annual River Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp in the Purgatoire River watershed above Trinidad. Each June, roughly 20 campers between the ages of 14 and 18 spend a week gaining experience in watershed science, entomology, restoration efforts, and angling. The camp focuses on hands-on experiences – conducting water

Elyssa Ridinger

New “River Explorers”


quality and flow testing, learning fish identification, collecting and classifying insects, participating in an on-the-ground conservation project, and of course, fly-fishing. The best way to understand the impact of this intensive camp experience is to see the stories of some of the camp’s alumni.

According to Elyssa Ridinger, attending youth camp opened doors she never could have imagined. When Elyssa arrived at camp she had some experience fishing with her uncle, but “didn’t know much about bugs or conservation.” After camp she returned home to Boulder and armed with new knowledge and hands-on experience, she headed up a project to monitor water quality on Boulder Creek. The “Ecology Stream Team” gathered data that was turned over to the City of Boulder for use in mitigating eurasian watermilfoil, an aggressive aquatic invasive species. When she went on to college at Oregon State University, she landed a job in their Aquatic Insect Lab. “I got the job because of my camp experience” she said. Elyssa moved on to work in perhaps a more important type of lab – a cancer lab at MD Anderson Cancer Hospital.

Nick was interested in fly-fishing from the age of 10, but the 2006 camp provided his first formal casting lesson and introduced him to fly-tying. He returned to camp for two years to help as an assistant counselor. Sharing fly-fishing techniques and watching others successfully land a fish turned out to be something Nick enjoyed, and he went on to guide for six years on the Gunnison River. Guiding helped pay for college at Western State University where Nick majored in Ecology. A recent summer found him working on a native fish study in Wyoming. His goal: a career in fisheries biology with a position in the Rocky Mountains.

Former CTU camper Grant Burke is now completing his fifth year at the University of Wyoming, studying Rangeland Ecology and Watershed Management. Following graduation he hopes to pursue a job in the meat industry or range management, with the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, or a private ranch. He fly fishes every chance he gets on southern Wyoming and northern Colorado waters. “Since attending the TU camp I have become more and more involved in conservation efforts, as well as explaining and educating others on what conservation is,” Grant explained. “I’ve been a proud supporter of many conservation groups such as Trout Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and the Mule Deer Foundation.” Collin Papuga picked up his father’s old fly rod when he was ten years old, and has been hooked on fly fishing every since. Taking part in the CTU Camp was a no-brainer and allowed Collin to deepen his connection with fly fishing and conservation. Today, Collin has relocated to The Last Frontier of Alaska and is living his dream of owning and operating his own guide service, Tightlines Alaska, on the Kenai River. In addition to sharing his love of fly fishing with his clients, Collin has regularly given back through donated trips to benefit TU conservation efforts in his former home waters of Grand County. “Having the opportunity to be a part of the CTU Youth Conservation & Fly Fishing Camp was an opportunity of a life time,” Collin said. “The knowledge and experience I obtained from the camp helped me follow my dreams.”

Trout Unlimited in Colorado 2015 Year In Review Summer 2016 • High Country Angler


Colorado Welcomes Youth Anglers from Around the World Colorado played host to the 2015 World Youth Fly Fishing Championships, based out of Vail. International competitors came to Colorado for a week of competition, camaraderie, and conservation – including a special family angling day co-hosted by Colorado TU at Camp Hale in the Eagle watershed where families and youth from in state had the chance to meet and fish alongside some of the best young anglers from around the world. John Knight from TU’s Eagle Valley Chapter has been the lead organizer for the Championships, and in 2016 will be spearheading the adult World Fly Fishing Championships – also being held in Colorado.

Young anglers from around the world descended on Vail, Colorado for the 2015 World Youth Fly Fishing Championships. Team USA took home the Gold.


High Country Angler • Summer 2016


Protecting Wild Lands & Native Trout

Greenbacks Return Home

Browns Canyon A Monumental Victory

When new genetics studies revealed that only one small population of native greenback cutthroat trout remained in Colorado – in a small stream near Colorado Springs, outside of their native range of the South Platte basin – TU volunteers sprung into action to support Colorado Parks and Wildlife and federal agency efforts for restoring the native trout. The greenbacks’ future looks bright as these partners have returned Colorado’s state fish to Zimmerman Lake in the Poudre watershed, and have prepared several other reintroduction projects for 2016 and 2017.


In February 2015, President Obama designated 22,000 acres of Browns Canyon as a new national monument—the culmination of years of effort by TU and other groups to protect a Colorado backcountry treasure beloved by generations of anglers, hunters, rafters, and hikers. For almost two decades, TU and local residents had been pushing for monument status for Browns Canyon. In the year prior to designation, TU and other sportsmen’s groups worked hard to organize local anglers and hunters to voice their support for Browns. TU staff and members attended numerous local meetings and public forums, where they extolled the canyon’s Gold Medal trout waters and wildlife habitat, as well as its role as an economic driver for Colorado’s $1.2 billion fishing economy and $500 million hunting economy. As supporters predicted, the National Monument status has raised the visibility of Browns Canyon. In the year since designation, tourism visits to the Browns Canyon area have increased by about 10 percent, according to the Chaffee County Visitors Bureau. Thank you to the TU members, supporters, and partners who helped to preserve this special landscape for future generations of anglers, hikers, hunters, rafters, campers, and families. It’s a monumental achievement.

Summer 2016 • High Country Angler


Photos by Joshua Duplechian Senior Producer


High Country Angler • Summer 2016

11 2015 Year In Review Trout Unlimited in Colorado

Water Partnerships

Colorado Water Plan

Collaboration, Conservation, and Healthy Rivers

“Our Colorado River” brings Ag to the table Through its Our Colorado River program, TU helped unite thousands of Coloradans, from anglers to farmers and ranchers, around core water values such as collaboration, infrastructure modernization, and conserving healthy rivers and streams, and urged people to get involved and speak up. TU has a long history of partnering with agriculture and is working to see that farmers and ranchers get the tools they need to pursue innovative new ideas to conserve water. To that end, TU has partnered with groups like “No Chico Brush,” an informal group of Delta-area farmers who are working on projects featuring drip irrigation, no-till and other soil- and water-saving practices. But for these kinds of practices to take hold and grow, Colorado lawmakers need to create mechanisms to compensate producers who modernize their irrigation and, as a result, leave more water in the stream to benefit stream flows. The Colorado Water Plan includes some strong ideas, but actually implementing them will be the true measure of success. “That’s the next step,” said Richard Van Gytenbeek, TU’s Our Colorado River program coordinator. “We’re focusing now on the state lawmakers who can help move this plan from ideas to action.”


On December 14, 2015, Colorado adopted its first ever Water Plan. The final plan emphasized collaboration in meeting future water needs, included strong emphasis on water conservation, and recognized the crucial role healthy rivers play in Colorado’s economy and quality of life. It was the product of over two years of work, hundreds of public meetings across all of the state’s major basins, and thousands of public comments.

and other public meetings; and organized public outreach including the Our Colorado River program, to ensure that trout and healthy rivers have a strong place in Colorado’s water future.

Trout Unlimited was there, every step of the way.

• A strong statewide goal for water conservation.

Our volunteers, staff and chapters across Colorado worked together to provide over 100 pages of detailed comments; took part in Basin Roundtables

• Committed funding to develop “stream management plans” to better understand and address environmental and recreational water needs.

Highlights from the Colorado Water Plan include: • Support for collaboration on multi-purpose solutions that meet needs from cities to farms to the environment.

• Promoting modernization of irrigation infrastructure, like the innovative irrigation projects that TU has worked on with ranchers and farmers to improve water delivery while protecting river flows and habitat. • A conceptual framework to ensure that new trans basin diversion projects only proceed if western slope and environmental concerns are responsibly addressed. Trout Unlimited will continue to speak out as ideas from the Colorado Water Plan are converted to action, through new projects, policies, legislation, and other water management decisions.

Dolores River Anglers go to CAMP Faced with a warming climate that may make some southwest Colorado rivers less capable of supporting healthy trout fisheries, the Dolores River Anglers Chapter decided it needed to bring a systematic and scientific approach to its future conservation efforts. The result has been a partnership with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the US Forest Service, and other local agencies and stakeholders on the Coldwaterfisheries Adaptive Management Plan (CAMP).

CAMP incorporates an ecological “limiting factor” approach that identifies factors and their critical threshold values beyond which habitat would no longer support viable trout populations. Understanding those limiting factors has allowed for a systematic assessment of various climate change scenarios. Taken as a whole, this allows for adaptive

The intent of CAMP is to facilitate a systematic search for trout “stronghold” streams and reaches, particularly those that are most resilient in the face This image shows the GIS analytics underway in the CAMP study area, in this case to identify streams of projected that are greater than 3 kilometers in length (the minimum reach length threshold for long-term, viable changes to reproductive numbers) and are at high elevations (least subject to increasing temperatures). trout habitat due to climate change. Strongholds are those guidance for “best management practices” and waters where habitat conditions can be expected to in-stream and riparian projects within an evolving continue supporting trout in spite of overall changes environment. Dolores River Anglers hopes that its to the ecological conditions through the mountain science-based approach also can be used by other southwest. interested TU chapters facing similar challenges.

Trout Unlimited in Colorado 2015 Year In ReviewSummer 2016 • High Country Angler



Investing in Colorado’s Great Outdoors Congress Extends the Land and Water Conservation Fund

In 1964, Congress created the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to protect natural areas, water resources, and to provide recreation opportunities to all Americans, using funds generated from royalties paid on offshore oil and gas leasing. In its 50 year history, the LWCF has protected land in every state and helped support over 41,000 state and local parks. However, after 50 years of success, the LWCF was going to sunset unless Congress took action to reauthorize it. Last summer, Colorado TU issued a report, “Colorado’s Great Outdoors,” to help focus attention on the program and highlight LWCF’s successes in Colorado. Over its history the LWCF has invested more than $239 million to protect state treasures like the Great Sand Dunes, Mesa Verde National Park, and

CTU president Marshall Pendergrass with US Senator Cory Gardner In Washington DC.

the Colorado River above Glenwood, as well as supporting local community recreation resources and parks, cultural heritage sites, and working landscapes. In December, Congress extended the LWCF for an additional three years and approved $450 million in funding for 2016 – a $100 million increase from

A Voice for Trout Colorado TU maintains a lobbyist, Jen Boulton, to represent the interests of trout and anglers at the Colorado General Assembly each year. Whether promoting new riverfriendly legislation, or helping to defeat harmful bills that could undo much of our on-theground conservation work, TU provides a much-needed voice on behalf of trout and river conservation at the legislature, as well as working with other state and federal agencies to advocate on behalf of trout and anglers.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund has been shown to have a significant positive economic impact on communities where funds were used. The Trust for Public Land conducted a comprehensive study recently that placed the return on investment for LWCF funds at 1:4. That is, for every $1 of LWCF funds invested, $4 of economic value is generated.

In 2015, Colorado TU addressed key legislation from opposing efforts to transfer federal public lands to state jurisdiction – to helping extend the Healthy Rivers Fund and voluntary tax check-off program benefiting rivers – to supporting new state grant funding for the removal of invasive plants including tamarisk.

the previous year. Colorado’s US Senators, Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner, both were leading advocates for LWCF reauthorization and helped secure its extension and funding.

Keeping Public Lands Public In 2015, legislation was proposed to promote the transfer of 22 million acres of federal public lands to the State of Colorado; yet the State lacks the needed resources to manage those lands and would have little choice but to commercialize access to the lands or sell them into private ownership. Hunters and anglers, including Corinne Doctor (pictured) co-owner of Rep Your Water, descended on the Capitol to speak out for keeping public lands in public hands. 36

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In fiscal year 2015, Trout Unlimited in Colorado invested more than $3.6 million toward its conservation and education programs, on-the-ground projects, and chapter support. These funds included the work of the Colorado Council and its chapters – from legislative advocacy at the General Assembly to an annual youth camp to post-flood restoration projects; as well as National Trout Unlimited programs and staff working on initiatives including river conservation, agriculture partnerships, public land protection, and abandoned mine reclamation. Through the leveraging power of partnerships and grassroots contributions, TU helps make every donor dollar go farther for our conservation mission. TU funds in Colorado were complemented by an additional $1.23 million in “sweat equity” – the value of more than 47,000 volunteer hours contributed through our grassroots volunteers. In addition, we leveraged more than $750,000 in off-budget contributions from grants on TU projects received via our agency partners – further stretching the impact of our donors’ generous support.

Investing in Colorado

Colorado TU by the Numbers 47,452 hours of service contributed by volunteers $545,008 in cash revenue raised by local chapters 97 outreach events hosted in local communities

TU Investment Dollars


$3,345,000 Program Services

232 active chapter leaders

$170,000 Administration

86 conservation projects implemented 110 education programs

$143,000 Development

conducted 160 membership meetings held 158 newsletters published

The vast majority of TU funds go directly into programs for conservation, education, and grassroots engagement. For fiscal year 2015, 91% of TU in Colorado funds were directed toward program services, 5% for general administration, and 4% for fundraising.

Protect Our Rivers Partners River-minded businesses can help Colorado’s rivers through their generous contributions under Colorado TU’s “Protect Our Rivers” program. We would like to recognize our current sponsors:

Rep Your Water offers creatively-designed gear that allows you to show your love for your home waters. They not only celebrate those waters, they give back to them – 1% of sales of Colorado merchandise is contributed to Colorado TU. Suncor is a globally competitive integrated energy company with a balanced portfolio of assets including oil and gas as well as renewable energy. Suncor is a generous supporter of the South Platte River Explorers program connecting Denver-area students with watershed science and fishing. Trouts Fly Fishing in Denver is a premier fly fishing outfitter and retailer with a 3,000+ square foot store boasting two floors of retail goods, as well as a fly fishing education center and outfitting office. Trouts has hosted multiple events supporting TU and the Defend the Colorado campaign, bringing resources and awareness to the plight of our state’s namesake river. Upslope Brewing Company, an award-winning Colorado brewery, knows that healthy rivers brew the best beer. Upslope contributes 1% of the sales of its craft lager to Colorado TU through the Protect Our Rivers program.


Trout Unlimited in Colorado 2015 Year In Review

Summer 2016 • High Country Angler


Your Support Makes the Difference!

Thank You! Trout Unlimited thanks the generous individuals, businesses, and foundations whose support – along with yours – makes our successes possible:

Your generous financial support will keep the great conservation success stories that you see in this report coming, and make fishing in Colorado better. Through grants, sweat equity, and partnerships, we will stretch the impact of every dollar received. Donors can support the work of Trout Unlimited in Colorado through contributions for unrestricted support or for specific programs, projects, or basins. Century Club donors contribute $100 or more each year, while through a contribution of $1000 or more per year you can join the River Stewardship Council (CO) and Griffith Circle (National), and take part in special tours where you can interact with other dedicated conservationists, enjoy outstanding fishing, and see first-hand the difference your support is making on the ground. Please go to or right now, to make a donation to help write the next TU success story. Thank you!


Griffith Circle/River Stewardship Council Donors John Aaron Bruce Allbright Anonymous Chris Striebich and Tanya Argo Mary & Dan Armour Jerry Arnold Marshall Whiting and Richard Arnold Kelly Baldini William Bartels Matthew Bates Judith Baxter Paul Benedetti Bob Biebel James Boak Jon Bruss James Buckler Graham Buggs Cam Chandler Adam Cherry Daryl Coles Robert Collins Steve Craig Gordon Crawford I M Cunningham Michael Dannerbeck Kirk Deeter Michael & Jean Delaney Mark & Katy Dickson David and Michelle DiGiacomo Sam Doyle Michael Duffy Michael Ekblad Terry Escamilla Eli Feldman Tom Fochtman Campbell Frey John & Denise Frontczak Daniel Galhardo Thomas Gargan Kate & Sam Gary Nancy & Sam Gary Caleb Gates Jr. Valerie Gates James Griffith Jr.

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Louis Hegedus Kent Heyborne Larry Howe Bud Isaacs Ralph Jacobson Michael Jefferson Stephen Kandell Jayn Karl Dikran Kashkashian Robert Kendig Randy Keogh Ken Kinsman Mark & Sharon Lance Allan Larson Barbara Luneau Randy Luskey Cam MacMillan R. Joseph Marilley James Marr John McDermott Michael McGoldrick Clif McIntosh Donald McIntyre Frederick and Carolyn Miller Vickie Mitchell Tom Mooney Gerald Moore Marc Nathanson Pat and Carol Oglesby George Orbanek Gary and Ivy Parish Brandon Patterson Ben Peternell Doug Pierce Jay & Molly Precourt Robert Rich Walter Rockwell Dave Rootes Paul Rullkoetter Gerald & Jacqueline Ryan Ray Samuelson Elizabeth Searle Chuck & Molly Shaver Celia Sheneman Kurt & Liz Soderberg George Stark Christopher Stephan Robert Struble Dennis Swanson David Wenman

Charles Whiting Alex Wiegers Ryan Willett James Williams John Wold Alex Woodruff

Major Corporate, Agency and Foundation Supporters 8 River Rodeo African Eyes Travel Alagnak Lodge Anonymous Ascent Fly Fishing Black Canyon Anglers Butler Rents Chevron Humankind Citywide Banks Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety Colorado Nonpoint Source Program Colorado Parks and Wildlife Colorado River Water Conservation District Colorado Water Conservation Board Community First Foundation Costa del Mar Cutthroat Anglers Denver Water DiNatala Water Consultants Distant Waters Angling Adventures in New Zealand Dvorak Expeditions fishpond Freestone Aquatics Freeport-McMoRan Inc. Gates Family Foundation GBSM William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Holland America Line Jack Dennis Fly Fishing

Madison Valley Ranch The Maris Group MillerCoors Mountain Angler National Fish and Wildlife Foundation National Forest Foundation Natural Resources Conservation Service New Venture Fund Occasions Catering Over the Hill Outfitters David and Lucile Packard Foundation Represent Your Water RIGS Adventure Company Rio Grande Vacation Rentals/Wolf Creek Fly Shop Ripple Creek Lodge Rocky Mountain Angling Club Rose Family Foundation Silver Trout Foundation Simms Fishing Products Suncor Sunrise Pack Station Three Lakes Watershed Association Three Rivers Lodge Tightlines Alaska Trouts Flyfishing Upper Colorado River Alliance Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District Upslope Brewing Company U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service U.S. Forest Service Walton Family Foundation Wells Fargo Western Conservation Foundation Wyss Foundation


Trout Unlimited in Colorado Denver 1536 Wynkoop Street Suite 320 Denver, CO 80202

Durango 1309 E. 3rd Avenue Suite 109 Durango, CO 81301

Grand Junction 115 North Fifth Street Suite 410 Grand Junction, CO 81501

Salida 128 East 1st Street Suite 203 Salida, CO 81201

TU in Colorado Colorado TU State Council Officers Marshall Pendergrass, President Cam Chandler, Vice President Larry Howe, Secretary Jay Boak, Treasurer Rick Matsumoto, Past President Mac Cunningham, National Leadership Council Representative Ken Neubecker, Regional Vice President Tom Jones, Regional Vice President Larry Quilling, Regional Vice President Glen Edwards, Regional Vice President John Fooks, Regional Vice President

Colorado TU State Council Staff & Contractors David Nickum, Executive Director Stephanie Scott, Outreach Coordinator Shannon Kindle, Development Director Jen Boulton, Legislative Liaison Chase Moore, Youth Education Coordinator Jeff Florence, Administrative & Communications Assistant

TU Western Water & Habitat Program Staff Drew Peternell, Colorado Water Project Director Brian Hodge, Yampa/White River Basin Project Manager Cary Denison, Gunnison River Basin Project Manager Mely Whiting, Legal Counsel David Stillwell, Office and Internal Communications Manager Jesse Kruthaupt, Upper Gunnison River Project Specialist Richard Van Gytenbeek, Colorado River Basin Organizer Kevin Terry, Rio Grande Project Manager Elizabeth Russell, Mine Restoration Project Manager Jason Willis, Mine Restoration Project Manager

TU Communications Staff Randy Scholfield, Communications Director, Southwest Region Joshua Duplechian, Senior Producer

TU Sportsmen’s Conservation Project Staff Steve Kandell, Sportsmen’s Conservation Project Director Tyler Baskfield, Colorado Field Coordinator Ty Churchwell, San Juan Mountains Coordinator Garrett Hanks, Southwest Colorado Field Coordinator Shane Cross, Western Energy Counsel

TU Development Program Chris Herrman, Southwest Development Director Cover Photos by Joshua Duplechian | Senior Producer Annual Report Design by Lopez Design Group,

Summer 2016 • High Country Angler



Trout Unlimited in Colorado printed by those (like me) who like to read hard copy. We will be contacting TU members to obtain, verify and protect e-mail addresses. You can help: if you aren’t already receiving our Colorado TU emails and would like to continue receiving articles and

news like those we have featured in HCA, you can sign up at Have a great summer – and keep an eye on those critical stream temperatures if this heat wave continues!

Helping You Keep Your Eyes on the Big Ones Full Service Fly Fishing Pro Shop & Guide Service Schedule a Trip Today! 970-944-2526


OW – it’s HOT! It’s 100 degrees in June across the state, and continued high water run-off levels are making it harder to find a clear, cold river to stand in. Head to the high country and enjoy chasing some cutthroats and brookies! Kudos to a lovely lady and fisherperson, Sharon Lance! CTU just awarded her the coveted “Bruce Hoagland Award for Leadership and Conservation” for her great TU accomplishments at all levels – local chapter, state and national TU. Notable are her initiatives for Colorado Youth Programs. Thanks, Sharon! Look over the “2015 Year in Review” report included as an insert in this HCA issue to see all the great things TU-ers are doing across the state – things that make a difference now and for the future supply and availability of cold water in Colorado. Thank you to all of the volunteers, partners and supporters who make our success possible. “Electronic Communications Are Coming!” High Country Angler established its HCA Ezine, and CTU is now in the process of going electronic on most of our future communications as well. This will be the last HCA printed copy mailed directly to members. Future CTU newsletters will be e-mailed and also available in PDF format on the website, which can be



Lake City, Colorado

The Sportsman Outdoors & Fly Shop



Marshall Pendergrass is President of Colorado Trout Unlimited. You can contact him via the Colorado TU website at 40

High Country Angler • Summer 2016

Summer 2016 • High Country Angler


Investing in Colorado’s Great Outdoors By US Senator Cory Gardner


or over 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has preserved iconic landscapes in Colorado and throughout the country. A program that helps to preserve Colorado’s great outdoors, the LWCF is supported by a responsible partnership between the federal government and private enterprise, and provides funding for conservation, helping to ensure public access to the outdoors. Throughout my time in the U.S. Senate, I have supported efforts to ensure that the LWCF remains on a stable and predictable footing. I’m proud that Congress came together and recently reauthorized the LWCF for an additional three years, because it is common sense policy, supported by sportsmen, hunters, and countless Coloradans and Americans who appreciate our nation’s natural beauty. While a three-year reau42

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thorization was a step in the correct direction, more can be done. I will continue to work hard for a permanent reauthorization of the LWCF here in Congress, which was recently passed by the Senate by a vote of 85-12. In Colorado, the LWCF has helped protect over 5,000 additional acres of a Colorado treasure – Canyons of the Ancients National Monument – an area with over 6,000 recorded archaeological sites. It was also utilized to establish Great Sand Dunes National Park, which protects the tallest sand dunes in North America and welcomes around 300,000 visitors each year.

This type of conservation system, through vital tools like the LWCF, has helped Colorado establish an outdoor recreation economy that contributed over $13 billion of economic activity to our communities, and supported 125,000 good jobs in 2013. I recently introduced the Outdoor Recreation’s Economic Contributions (REC) Act with Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) that would require the federal government to measure the economic impact of outdoor recreation. This common sense policy will allow lawmakers to make informed policy decisions to further enhance the industry by understanding the impact recreation has on our economy. Conserving and protecting the public lands Coloradans cherish, which are some of our state’s most precious natural resources, are major priorities of mine that I will continue to

fight for. Coloradans hunt, fish, hike, and camp on these lands, and keeping conservation properly funded while expanding the public’s access to these beautiful treasures is exactly the sort of goal that I’ve always strived for in policymaking. I’m proud to work towards ensuring that Colorado’s future generations have access to the same natural beauty that Coloradans have enjoyed going back to the founding of our state.

About The Author.

Cory Gardner is the junior United States Senator from Colorado. He was previously the U.S. Representative for Colorado’s 4th congressional district.

Summer 2016 • High Country Angler


Protecting Our Public Lands and Our Heritage By US Senator Michael Bennet


High Country Angler • Summer 2016


or more than 200 years Colorado’s public lands have played a critical role in the development of our history, our economy, and our way of life. Colorado’s recreation industry is a model for other states that similarly recognize the intrinsic financial value in maintaining and preserving natural landscapes. In 2015, outdoor recreation in Colorado resulted in $13.2 billion in consumer spending, supported more than 125,000 direct jobs, and produced $4.2 billion in direct salaries and wages. No matter where we travel in the state, from the Eastern Plains to the central mountains, from the Western Slope to the San Luis Valley, Coloradans talk with us about the many ways our state’s unique and valuable lands shape their lives and communities. That’s why our office has been committed to working with local citizens and the rest of the Colorado congressional delegation to preserve public lands across the state for future generations. Most recently, we visited Camp Hale to meet with World War II 10th Mountain Division veterans and their families. We announced that we would introduce a bill to protect the area in perpetuity. My family first fell in love with this site in 2014, when we took a hut trip to the Fowler-Hilliard Hut, part of the 10th Mountain Division Hut System. Our bill would create the nation’s first National Historic Landscape designation to protect the area from management changes that could compromise its multiple-use and historic character, while restoring the area and educating visitors about the story of the 10th Mountain Division. This measure will likely be part of larger legislation we are drafting to protect more than 58,000 acres of land in the Continental Divide region of Eagle and Summit County. The bill would also enhance outdoor recreation opportunities, such as fishing, hunting, biking, and backcountry snow sports by creating an 11,500-acre Recreation Management Area within the Tenmile Range. We’re also continuing the fight for one of our most successful conservation programs in both urban and rural areas, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Over the past five decades, Colorado has received more than $276 million to protect places like the Great Sand Dunes National Park, Arapahoe-Roosevelt National Forest, and Canyon of the Ancients National Monument. The LWCF, which is one of the rare programs that enjoys bipartisan support, reinvests a small portion of the royalties from offshore oil and gas drilling to conserve our land and water without spending taxpayer dollars. Our office has led efforts in Congress to permanently reauthorize and fully fund LWCF. In the Senate, we secured a permanent reauthorization of the program as part of a bill that

passed in April, but the provision has not yet passed the House. Protecting our priceless public lands is not only important for our environment, wildlife habitat, and our quality of life, it’s also vital to driving economic growth throughout the state. Whether your passion is hiking, fishing, biking, rafting, climbing, or all of the above, we have an obligation to preserve our natural treasures for the next generation to enjoy. Never is that fact more apparent to me than when I have the opportunity to spend time outdoors with my own three daughters. Fortunately in Colorado, whether it was designating Browns Canyon and Chimney Rock as National Monuments or protecting 100,000 acres of the Hermosa Creek Watershed—one of the largest cutthroat trout fisheries in Colorado—conservation work is often bipartisan. Even with complex issues such as the Roan Plateau compromise, Coloradans have always been able to find commonsense solutions that protect our natural treasures. Sportsmen’s groups like Trout Unlimited have been great partners on many of Colorado’s best conservation achievements. With that spirit of collaboration in mind, we will continue working to preserve our public lands for generations to come.

About The Author.

Michael Bennet was elected United States Senator for Colorado in November 2010. A newcomer to politics with experience in business and public service, he is widely-recognized as a pragmatic, innovative and independent thinker driven by a deep-seated obligation to create more opportunity for the next generation.

Summer 2016 • High Country Angler


Collaboration….Anyone? By Matthew Bates and Jon Weimer


t the CTU Rendezvous last spring, one of the featured speakers was Bob Broscheid, Director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). The two main themes in his presentation were: 1) the great outdoors in general, and anglers/hunters, specifically, being under siege from a variety of factors and entities; and 2) the benefits for conservation groups in collaborating to protect wildlife and habitat. For example, he railed against the antihunting/anti-angling activists whom he felt were misleading the public with their claims that hunters and anglers were wantonly and unconscionably destroying wildlife. Broscheid argued that hunters and anglers were among the first crusaders for conservation, and that ethical, regulated angling and hunting are the driving force that maintains abundant wildlife. Through license sales and excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment, anglers and hunters provide funding that allows state wildlife agencies to successfully manage our wildlife resources. Of course, as Broscheid stated, wildlife and their habitats face formidable challenges in an ever-changing world; for example, agricultural expansion, a growing population, water wars, urban sprawl, climate change, and oil and mineral exploration are all potential threats to achieving and maintaining high-quality habitat. If we wish to accommodate wildlife going forward, Broscheid says, conservationists will have to work harder, be more creative, and build more partnerships than ever before. Broscheid is a firm believer that there’s merit in conservation/wildlife advocacy groups working collectively in charting the course for the future of wildlife conservation. But he laments what he feels to be a dearth of collaboration and coalition-building among these various advocacy groups within Colorado. He relates, for example, that at Parks and Wildlife Commission meetings revolving around potential rule-making notices, a spokesperson from one of these wildlife advocacy groups may stand up and give a spiel that focuses on a particular species that this group “represents,” but then leave the meeting immediately afterwards without hearing the concerns expressed by other spokespeople from other advocacy groups. Broscheid thinks this narrow, parochial perspective is not conducive to fruitful collaborative efforts among advocacy groups. On the surface, one might think that collaboration/coalition building would be a logical core tactic among various wildlife advocacy groups. These may be aggrieved groups that feel they lack the power to have their interests represented via conventional means—so, it 46

would make sense that they might seek power by joining with others. Right? Not necessarily, apparently. Although collaboration may appear to have significant advantages, there may be some practical barriers to actually carrying out these potential collaborations. For example, collaboration requires time and resources. Advocacy organizations, in some instances, may be short on staff, volunteers, and funding. Leaders of these organizations are often scrambling to address emergent issues relating to the group’s principal focus area, while attempting to secure funding and maintain the organization. Thus, collaboration may seem like a distraction from more urgent matters. Similarly, leaders of these wildlife advocacy groups may feel compelled to remain focused on the core issues that attracted members to the organization in the first place (e.g., protecting the habitat for a particular species), and individuals who joined a group for that expressed purpose may feel that the organization is spreading itself too thin by taking on issues that may not appear relevant to them (e.g., protecting the habitat for another species). As valid as these reasons for not collaborating may appear, Broscheid feels that these wildlife advocacy groups are remarkably similar in their basic aims and organizational culture, which should be conducive to more collaborative efforts. If you peruse the mission statements of these various groups, a common denominator, regardless of the species for which a group is an advocate, is the position that high-quality, abundant habitat is a key factor for survival. Most of the mission statements emphasize that the conservation of a species is accomplished through habitat improvements, public awareness, education, and land/water policies and programs. In other words, these groups are purportedly in the “business” of conservation as they have

High Country Angler • Summer 2016

taken on the responsibility to protect species and their natural habitat. Broscheid said that CPW is willing to serve as a facilitator to encourage and advise these groups on how to present a united voice in communicating science-based wildlife conservation strategies to policy decision-makers. It is also interested in establishing legal safeguards to wildlife, and fighting efforts to roll back environmental protections, as well as recognizing and promoting the public’s right to lawfully use its resources, and finally, in discussing how best to balance private property protection with public rights--issues which are not necessarily specific to one wildlife organization, but tend to apply to all wildlife advocacy groups. No, we don’t expect that all of these advocacy organizations are going to bond together and walk hand-in-hand down Broadway to the Capitol building, singing Kumbaya. However, there are certainly opportunities for these groups to work more closely together to achieve mutually beneficial goals. Our wildlife and their habitat, as Broscheid said in his presentation, are under threat. The opponents to efforts to protect and enhance wildlife habitat are varied and challenging—deep pocketed extractive industries, obstinate or uninformed politicians and, in some instances, an apathetic public. Thus, the old adage that there is often strength in numbers may apply here, in terms of effectively managing our wildlife resources.

About the Author.

Matthew Bates and Jon Weimer are each a Director-at-Large for CTU.

Add your voice to the discussion: where can Colorado TU step up its collaborations with other wildlife organizations? Where is that type of cross-species collaboration most appropriate? Let us know your thoughts – you can email us at CTU care of Jeff Florence:

Sharon Lance Receives Hoagland Award


ong-time Trout Unlimited leader Sharon Lance, who has served with the Cutthroat Chapter, Colorado Council, and National Board of Trustees, was selected by Colorado TU to receive its highest individual honor, the Bruce Hoagland Award for Leadership in Conservation. Named for the late Bruce Hoagland, former Colorado TU Council Chair and chapter leader in both Boulder and Gunnison, the award recognizes those who have not only contributed to coldwater fisheries but to strengthening Trout Unlimited and its chapters while achieving conservation success. “Sharon exemplifies what this award is about,” said Colorado TU Executive Director David Nickum. “She not only improved trout fishing, but she left TU stronger than she found it at every level where she has been involved.” Sharon’s accomplishments include spearheading restoration of the Gill Trail through Cheesman Canyon, establishing TU’s partnership with the RiverWatch water quality monitoring program, helping to launch and sustain Colorado TU education programs, including the annual youth conservation camp and “Trout in the Classroom,” and piloting Colorado TU’s training program for new chapter leaders, as well as promoting similar trainings nationwide in her role on the National TU Board. An even more important part of her legacy: the generations of TU council and chapter leaders that she helped mentor and inspire, and who continue to make a difference for trout and their watersheds through the present day.

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To learn more about this story and Colorado Trout Unlimited, visit,

Summer 2016 • High Country Angler


The Swan River: Taking Flight Again


enerations ago, vast sections of the Swan River – a tributary to the Blue near Breckenridge – were literally turned upside down by mining that dredged the valley bottom and obliterated the river’s channel. Today, local stakeholders are coming together to begin the job of bringing back the Swan River—restoring its stream channel and its riparian community and the fishery and ecological values it can support. The undertaking is enormous – many tons of rock will need to be removed and processed, stretching over more than two miles of river where the channel has been effectively buried under thousands of cubic yards of cobble. With the area restored to grade and excess rock removed, a natural meandering channel can be reestablished along with riparian vegetation and a functional floodplain. Healthy cutthroat trout fisheries already found upstream of the impacted reaches give a flavor for the kind of fishing that can be available through the restored Swan River once work is completed; the connected restored area could create a strong local stronghold and recreational fishery for Colorado River cutthroat. 48

High Country Angler • Summer 2016

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1-800-642-1650 Local (970) 641-1650 In June, Summit County and their contractors started major earthwork on the first Swan River Restoration project site. This work prepares the site for the new stream channel and associated floodplain, riparian corridor, and uplands. Materials are being sorted by size (i.e., boulders, cobbles, sand, etc.) and rock milling equipment is being delivered to the site so that rocks can be broken down and made available for off-site uses. Rock useful for the restoration project itself will be stockpiled on site for use during the later phases of construction. Partners in the project include Summit County, the Town of Breckenridge, the US Forest Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Colorado Water Conservation Board, Blue River Watershed Group, Friends of the Dillon Ranger District, and Trout Unlimited. You can learn more or contribute to the project by visiting:

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First, Define the Goals


The fisheries managers, including hatchery managers, at Colorado Parks and Wildlife seem to put a lot of effort into restoring and maintaining native fish, right down to studying the genetics of small local stocks in tiny geographic locations. Why? What, if anything, do these studies do for our fishing?


Interesting question; a very practical question. It’s really a matter of priorities and goals. Priorities and goals tend to be personal, often based on personal preferences and beliefs. A person who believes that anglers catching a lot of trophy-sized fish should be the primary goal of fishery managers probably will have different preferences than someone who assigns the highest priorities to restoring and preserving specific stocks of imperiled species to the status they held 150 years ago. The value of research projects and management strategies are like beauty. Just as beauty is found in “the eye of the beholder,” the value of research and/or management practices resides in the minds of the observer. Goals are an expected part of fisheries research and/or management projects today; however, this was not always the standard procedure. Goals are expected to be based on established science and to have measurable objectives and results. Various observers, viewing programs from different perspectives may argue whether or not goals are truly science-based and rational, or even specifically identified. Establishing written goals with definite timelines and measurable outcomes allows for evaluation and discussion of the research and management activities that are supposed to accomplish the goals. In the earliest days of American fisheries management, roughly 150 years ago, dams, pollution, and uncontrolled fishing extirpated some fish stocks and reduced others in New England, the Mid-Atlantic States, and the Midwest to numbers that could not support fisheries. There are no records of specific goals for re-establishing the fish stocks, but stocking with hatcheryreared fish, establishing fishing seasons, and limiting the kind of lures and gears that could be used were assumed to be all that was needed. Goals were assumed, but 50

not written. Make it worthwhile to go fishing. Controlling pollution was not a popular option because that would place limits on industries and businesses. Those arguments about pollution control persist right up to the present. Fisheries management goals today are more complex than they were in the 1800s, even more complex than they were in the mid-1900s. Several factors contribute to the complexity. The structure of DNA was not known in 1950, and the Endangered Species Act became law in late 1973. Federal Water Pollution regulations started in 1948, but really did not have substantial effects on fisheries management until 1972, when the Clean Water Act became law. As these laws took effect, the requirements for written management plans, complete with specific goals and objectives, became normal. At the same time, fisheries research plans began to become more formal with funding agencies requiring goals with measurable objectives. During the late 1970s, extending through the 1980s and 1990s up until the present, genetic research began to identify sub-groups, even local populations that showed differences in the makeup of their DNA. Protecting these populations has become a normal part of environmental conservation and fisheries management today. This background information brings us back to the present and such programs as those of the Fisheries Section at Colorado Parks and Wildlife to track specific parental stocks and to test crosses among different populations of cutthroat trout. Research on greenback cutthroats includes an array of studies, each with specific goals and objectives. Stakeholders sometimes feel that the goals of the scientists and fisheries managers do not match well with those of everyday people, be they ardent anglers, occasional fishers, or concerned environmentalists. Based on my personal observations and experiences, I suggest that the managers and scientists share the angler’s goals, but have additional objectives beyond angling that are defined by the goals of their management plans and/ or research designs. Angling success, usually defined in terms of catch rates, is almost always a part of recreational fisheries’ management

High Country Angler • Summer 2016

plans. However, if the primary goal of a project is to restore a self-sustaining population of an imperiled species, angling success in not likely to be included. Research studies at hatchery levels may have goals that are focused on survival and growth in the hatchery and survival in natural environments after the fish are released. Hatchery research goals may include studies to determine the effects of different diets, different feeding methods, and variations in habitat structure, as well as variations in survival, growth, and behavior among different sub-populations. Crosses between populations with relatively small differences in DNA sometimes reveal surprising results with respect to survival in the wild and vulnerability to anglers’ lures. At a personal level, I sometimes have conflicting values about the focus on small variations in DNA from one population to another. On the one hand, these genetic variations can be likened to the masterful works of art; something that cannot be replicated. On the other hand, such differences may have no effect on the survival of the species or even the population. Chance variations in DNA that have no evolutionary significance are common. The problem is that we still have difficulty identifying important differences from those that lack importance. Researchers and resource managers consider all the factors that seem pertinent when they establish the goals and objectives for their projects. Once the goals are established, and the boundaries of the project are defined and systematic, the specific study designs will follow.




John Nickum, is a retired PhD. fishery biologist whose career has included positions as professor at research universities including Iowa State and Cornell University, director of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s fisheries research facility in Bozeman, MT, and science officer for the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Mountain-Prairie Region. He was inducted into the National Fish Culture Hall of Fame in 2008.

Summer 2016 • High Country Angler



High Country Angler • Summer 2016

High Country Angler | Summer 2016  
High Country Angler | Summer 2016