Conservation

There are many issues facing our fly fishing waters and these posts chronicle important happenings in the world of fly fishing conservation.

Colorado Voluntary Fishing Closures

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has issued two new voluntary fishing closures around the state. They are asking anglers to stop fishing from noon through 6:00 am for the Conejos River and the Arkansas tail water below Pueblo Reservoir.

Extremely low flows combined with overly warm temperatures has raised the water temperatures in each river to dangerously high levels for trout survival.

Any time a river’s water temperature reaches 68 degrees and above that is the threshold to where all anglers should cease trout fishing. It is at that point that there has been too much oxygen dissolved in the river for a trout to be successfully released. Carp, bass, walleye and other warm water species are still good to be targeted but catching a trout at that water temperature will likely end in their death.

Voluntary closures remain in place in the following rivers: The Eagle, Roaring Fork, White River, Colorado from State Bridge to Rifle, Fraser River, Crystal River, Tomichi Creek, and Rio Grande River.

Please stay tuned for the latest updates on all rivers.

Fishing The Big Thompson River

Anglers please beware, as of this writing, the water temperature measured on the Big Thompson river is peaking at 71 degrees. We want to give notice to the entire Colorado fishing community that the river is reaching critically hot water temperatures. Please do not fish this river, or any river, once the temperature reaches 68 degrees and above.

As we reported earlier in the month, monitoring the water temperature of your river is very important in these types of conditions. The fact is, Colorado is in a severe drought so there isn’t a lot of water flowing through our rivers and the current heat wave we find ourselves in is exacerbating the situation.

When the river does reach the breaking point, 68 degrees and above, it does not mean that you have to hang up the rod. High alpine lakes and small creeks are still great options, with half of the angling pressure to boot.

For the sake of our river’s entire eco-system, thank you for your consideration.

Animas River Fish Kill

The 416 Fire, which up to this point has burned nearly 54,000 acres in the Durango area, reared it’s ugly head again this week. Massive rains hit the area on Tuesday causing mudslides to hit the river and fill the beautiful Animas river with ash, mud, and all sorts of debris. This has sparked a massive fish kill in the Animas River as rainbow and brown trout, along with flannel mouth and blue head suckers, struggle to find oxygen in the depleted river.

The affected section of river spans 15 miles north of Durango all the way down into New Mexico.

The fish of the Animas River are fighting for every breath they take right now

At this point, biologists are estimating the kill to be in the thousands of fish, but a clearer picture will not be available until the river’s flow subsides and clarity returns– which could be as late as September.

The cause of the 416 Fire is still under investigation but this travesty is the result of a wildfire in a very dry part of the state. Unfortunately, we are seeing way too many of these wildfires in our beautiful state. From one Coloradan to another, heck, from one human being to another– please do not have any camp fires this Summer and please exercise extreme caution when in Colorado’s outdoors this Summer. There is too much on the line for every one of us that live here, and our wildlife included, for reckless and irresponsible behavior.

When is too warm to fish for trout?

The guys over at Colorado Trout Unlimited produced this great chart showing when is a good time to fish for trout and when its just too hot. We have been experiencing very warm temperatures across the state and we have been seeing scary warm water temps. Please buy a thermometer if you don’t already have one and measure the water temperatures throughout the day. A great alternative is to hike up to a high mountain lake or chase some warm water species. Give the trout a break!

Poached Mountain Goats

CPW is investigating the poaching of two young male mountain goats near the summit of Quandary Peak. The animals were killed at approximately 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3. Investigators are hoping someone on the popular trail has information that can lead to the person or persons responsible.An up to $1,000 reward is available for information that leads to an arrest or citation of those responsible. If you were hiking in the area July 3 and saw anything unusual, or have any information that may help investigators find these poachers, please call or email Operation Game Thief at 1-877-COLO-OGT or game.thief@state.co.us. You may choose to remain anonymous.

High Temperatures Along the Front Range

Temperatures along Colorado’s Front Range are soaring well into the 90s and in some cases into triple digits. This is 100% having an affect on our trout population in our local streams and rivers, in particular the South Platte river.

A combination of very low water and hot outside temperatures has the water temperature of the Deckers and Cheesman Canyon stretches of the South Platte reaching 66 degrees Fahrenheit. That is right on the border of where we should not be fishing.

Warmer water contains less oxygen so trout are already stressed. When we hook them and put them through a good fight they have a much tougher recovery ahead of them because of the lack of oxygen in the water.

Please avoid fishing mid-day when the water is at its warmest. Rather, fish Deckers and Cheesman Canyon in the early mornings and late afternoons when the water is colder so we can have a healthy trout population when the flows come back up.

Trout Conservation

In an ever-changing world where urban sprawl often takes priority over environmental and wildlife habitat, it’s refreshing to see the great work that Trout Unlimited is accomplishing.

The Lahontan Cutthroat’s population is rebounding due to conservation efforts

TU has been given a three year grant from NASA– yep, our very own National Aeronautics and Space Administration– to help fund trout conservation.

With this partnership, the Lahontan Cutthroat was chosen as the first conservation project. Along with funding, NASA has provided space monitored data which has helped researchers study snowpack, stream vegetation, and fire occurrence in relation to the cutthroat’s habitat. All of which have proven invaluable to helping develop new conservation methods that have helped grow the rare cutthroat species’ numbers.

Stories like this give us all hope that conservation efforts in the future for Lahontans, as well as many other different types of species, can produce positive results in the growth of endangered species.

Understanding Redds and Trout Spawning

recognizing a Redd is half of the battle

Whether you’re new to fly fishing or a seasoned veteran it’s important to know what a Redd is in the river. Redds serve an extremely useful purpose– they are spawning beds for trout. In otherwords, the hanky panky us humans get down on in the buy augmentin bedroom is the Redd that trout use for their reproduction. A Redd is a trout spawning bed in the river that is characterized by it’s clean, bright gravel that is typically in an oval shape. Often times a Redd can be seen easily in clean water because the color of it is going to be in stark contrast to it’s surrounding riverbed.

Simply put, the trout that are spawning over their Redds today are going to be the trout we see next year.

Trout that are paired up over a Redd, or trout that are 5-10 feet down river of the Redd should never be fished to because these are the trout that are actively spawning.

Trout that are paired up over a Redd are actively spawning and should never be fished to.

Fly fishing for trout during the spawning season (Rainbows and Cutthroat spawn during the Spring while Browns spawn during the Fall) can be incredibly productive but we must do it in an ethical manner. For the sake of the river and natural reproduction, please avoid fishing to trout on Redds and also be mindful of wading across the river during spawning season. Wading directly upriver of a Redd will throw a lot of sediment into the water and trout need the water to be crystal clean for the eggs to be fully fertilized. And walking over a Redd will, as you can imagine, cause a lot of damage.

If you see an angler fishing to trout over a Redd do not go up to them in anger in a confrontational manner. Chances are that the person simply does not know any better. Explain to them what a Redd is and how vital the spawning process is to the eco-system. Educating an angler goes a lot farther than yelling does.

Denver South Platte River Cleanup Hosted by Colorado Trout Fisher

Colorado Trout Fisher guide Randy Pruitt with the carp on the DSP

Our very own Colorado Trout Fisher guide service will be hosting a river cleanup on Denver’s South Platte on April 7th, 2018. The Denver South Platte is quickly becoming recognized as one of the nation’s premier urban fly fishing destinations and therefore we’d like to do our own little part and help clean up the trash and debris along the banks of the river.

Our long-term goal is to help revitalize and restore the beauty of the Denver South Platte river for anglers, families, and the greater good of Denver because a healthy river benefits all of us. But we also realize that that is a goal which will take a lot of time and effort by our very own citizens. It is one step at a time and it begins with simple, hard work like this river cleanup effort.

There will be drinks, brats, and burgers provided and at the end of the cleanup you’ll get a chance to fish with some of Colorado’s best fly fishing guides!

If you plan on attending please reach out to Matty Valdez at: mattyv@theflyfisher.com or (970) 412-8677

Tight Lines!

 

 

Conserving America’s Fish and Wildlife

Our Nature. Our Nation. Our Future.

The Alliance for America’s Fish & Wildlife is a conservation group aimed at creating sustainable fish and wildlife habitat for future generations of American’s to enjoy. This is a non-partisan effort consisting of members representing the outdoor recreation industry, retail and manufacturing sector, the energy and automotive industries, private landowners, educational institutions, conservation organizations, sportsmen’s groups and state and federal fish and wildlife agencies.

The purpose of the Alliance is multi-pronged: getting America’s youth un-plugged from their mobile devices and back into nature, creating a funding model that will help protect our natural resources and beautiful national parks, and also to conserve over 12,000 different fish and wildlife species and their associated habitats!

the only trout that is native to Colorado is the endangered greenback cutthroat

As it relates to us here in Colorado, efforts to help build and maintain the populations of Canada Lynx, white-tailed ptarmigan, and greenback cutthroat trout are all underway but there is still so much more work to be done to ensure their successful re-introduction into the wild.

It will take a great deal of work and energy to help build a better environmental future for our grand-children but if we as Coloradans, and Americans, can unite behind this singular cause then we can preserve our legacy of this beautiful, rugged land of ours.

Please visit the Alliance’s website for more detailed information on how you as an individual can help participate.