Native cutthroat plan being unveiled

July 7, 2011
By Dale Rodebaugh
Herald Staff Writer

Trout Unlimited heartily supports the cutthroat restoration plan, Ty Churchwell, the organization’s backcountry coordinator, said Tuesday.

“Few locations are as perfect for such a program as the headwaters of Hermosa Creek,” Churchwell said. “It’s important to note that the mainstem of Hermosa Creek below Hotel Draw will remain a multispecies, catch-and-keep fishery for 20-plus miles to its confluence with the Animas River.”

Playing cutthroat

March 10, 2011
By Dale Rodebaugh
Durango Herald Staff Writer

The Colorado River cutthroat, nearly driven to extinction by ravenous early-day miners and generations that followed, is regaining a foothold in its ancestral home.

The recovery, started in 2002, is being helped along through April at the state Division of Wildlife’s fish hatchery in Durango, where pure-strain Colorado River cutthroat eggs are being fertilized by hand. The resulting hatchlings are raised for release in lakes, rivers and reservoirs.

Colorado River Float

December 22, 2010

As an example of my lameness, I realized that I had neglected to post a trip report on my really great trip on the Colorado River with my buddy James Stevens and Uber-guide Jack Bombardier of Confluence Casting.

James and Jack – loading up and leaving Sweetwater

The trip is a full-day float from the sleepy ‘village’ (read: couple of trailers and a general store) of Sweetwater down about 13 miles or so back to the Confluence Casting shop, which sits on the left bank of the river.  Its a full day, as the gradient of the river is reasonably flat, with only a few splashy rapids over the course of the day.  The river is wide and slow, with plenty of back-eddies and small nooks to drop the boat in for 10 or 15 casts.  There are plenty of spots to get out and wade, enjoying knee-deep water and plenty of holding spots.

Given that the trip is a full day, there is ample time for reflection and discussion, and Jack is certainly a very knowledgeable guy, with plenty of information on fishing, but on the current and future conditions on the river, if things continue to go the way it looks like they may (e.g. more pressure on taking water out of the Headwaters).

Jack and James reflecting on the condition of the Mightly Colorado

As the day glides along, and the sun starts to dip – the true colors and grandeur of this hidden canyon are revealed.  Since this section is north of I-70, and only has a rarely used dirt road bordering the stream, you really feel like you are out somewhere special, that few have ever seen or explored.

James casting in the waning light

Jack enlightened us with knowledge of some great camping spots – where nobody would find you in a week, let alone an afternoon…

And finally, we pulled into Jack’s shop after the sun had set and a chill had cast itself over the river.  A quiet night after a great day on the water.

Sunset is passing on the Colorado River

Biologists and hatcheries give Colorado fish a helping hand

November 22, 2010

By Bruce Finley
The Denver Post

The kokanee operation here is one of many. Across Colorado, state biologists introduce 76 million fish a year into rivers and reservoirs.

Most of the fish in Colorado lakes and reservoirs, said Division of Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton, are non-natives that require human management to survive.

Artificial spawning and stocking “is an important tool, but it is not a substitute for having healthy habitats and healthy trout,” said David Nickum, director of Colorado Trout Unlimited, an ecosystem advocacy group.

Colorado River, greenback and Rio Grande cutthroat trout are the only native game fish in the state. Other native fish include razorback suckers, the humpback chub and the Colorado pikeminnow, bottom-feeders that need the warmer pools that form along free-flowing rivers.

“We want to make sure there are good, healthy native populations, especially of those cutthroats,” Nickum said.

Read more: Biologists and hatcheries give Colorado fish a helping hand – The Denver Post

Carson Lake’s lure

August 10, 2010
Grand Junction Sentinel
By Bill Haggerty

Carson Lake has long held a soft spot in my heart. Maybe it’s because Carson is a lovely, pristine mountain lake. Or maybe it’s because Carson Lake is so close to town, I can beat the heat in about an hour and a half.

Maybe it’s because one of the finest short drives in the West, the Lands End Road, takes you right up to Carson Lake. (Lands End is a spur of Grand Mesa National Scenic Byway!)

Most likely, however, it’s because I can catch lots of wild, fat brook trout there.

The road is in good shape, and the trek around the lake is an easy hike, except for the bog near the inlet (wear appropriate foot gear!). It’s also a spotless recreation area and we can thank the local Grand Valley Anglers chapter of Trout Unlimited for adopting this lake and keeping it so clear of litter.

Sportsman’s watchman

June 7, 2010
A tribute to outdoorsman/journalist charlie meyers

By Karl Licis
Special to The Denver Post

On Saturday, the property through which the Dream Stream flows will be dedicated as the Charlie Meyers State Wildlife Area in his honor.

Following, in random order, are some shared thoughts from people with a connection to the stream of dreams.

* * *

“Completely sated.” Roger Hill is an expert angler, innovator and author of “Fly Fishing the South Platte River: an Angler’s Guide,” the first insightful book addressing the Dream Stream. He lives in Colorado Springs and is credited with procuring 12 miles of barbed wire for the Cheyenne Mountain chapter of Trout Unlimited for fencing the property in order to keep out the cattle.

“It’s always been a challenge, but also very rewarding. It’s had great hatches and demanding fish, but when you were on them it was incredibly good. I have many fond memories of days when the fishing was so good I would leave the river completely sated by the early afternoon.”

* * *

For future generations. Sinjin Eberle is board president for Colorado Trout Unlimited, which has been involved in every aspect of making the Dream Stream what it has become. Eberle has limited Dream Stream experience, but he coordinated CTU’s Buffalo Peaks project in the upper South Platte drainage. There he met Meyers.

“I was telling him all about the project and he was listening, but he also was observing every mayfly and every rising trout. He was fully in tune with every bit of the nature that was all around him, and that really drove home the point to me about why we’re doing these things — the need to pass it on for future generations.

“The Dream Stream, along with two or three other rivers in Colorado, is widely known nationally and internationally, and he was a big part of making it what it is.”

Thompson Valley students spawn successful Trout in the Classroom program

May 14, 2010

By Carl McCutchen • Loveland Connection

Wednesday was a new day, a day to let go as the first year of the Trout in the Classroom program at Thompson Valley concluded.

Hewson and Carlson stood by Hunter as he prepared the fish for the move, as did wildlife biologist Dan Stubbs.

Even Sharon Lance, president of the Trout Unlimited Cutthroat Chapter, who sponsored the Trout in the Classroom project with the Division of Wildlife, was on hand to see the fish move on.

Lance said that because of the program’s success, Hewson and his students showed this year, she plans on launching five more Trout in the Classroom projects in the fall.