Behind the Fin with Dennis Cook
Join us “Behind the Fin” with Dennis Cook, retired, Rocky Mountain Flycasters Chapter Youth Chairperson in Fort Collins, Colorado.
How long have you been a TU member?
Sixteen years. I joined TU originally on a free TU membership offer from when I purchased a pair of wading boots.
Why did you become a member and what chapter are you involved with?
After the free year expired, in January 2003 I joined as a paid member with Cherry Creek Anglers Chapter when I lived in Parker, a Denver suburb. Ten years ago we moved to Fort Collins and I transferred memberships into the Rocky Mountain Flycasters Chapter here.
What made you want to be involved with TU?
I was enjoying reading the local chapter’s newsletters, and natural outdoors conservation has always held a soft spot in my heart. Plus, I also was looking for a way to connect with other fly fishing people.
What is your favorite activity or project you have done with TU?
At Cherry Creek Anglers I was active on the chapter board, and also served Colorado TU as a chapter development volunteer. Here at Rocky Mountain Flycasters I’ve focused on youth education. My favorite project has been establishing a six-day River Conservation & Fly Fishing Youth Day Camp here in Northern Colorado, that is modeled loosely similar to the state residential youth camp, and that 2018 will be our day camp’s ninth year. Additionally, we have built a solid, overall youth education program, including multiple
years’ success with Trout in the Classroom (high schools), participating annually with three school systems’ elementary school grades Water Festivals, establishing a multi-years relationship supporting Colorado State University’s Environmental Learning Center’s middle school age summer camp programs, and fostering the CSU Five Rivers Fly Fishing Club now in its third year.
I know you won’t tell me your favorite spot, but what is your second favorite place to fish or favorite fishing story?
I’ve fished the Cache La Poudre River for about twenty-five years and it remains my primary fishery, especially the far upper canyon stretches where I also fish some of the small tributaries. Each year I enjoy a few multi-day trips to many of the other great fisheries in here in Colorado, Wyoming and occasionally Montana. All hold remnants as something of a favorite spot, each in its own way.
What does being a part of TU mean to you?
I have a great sense of identity and pride being a TU member, both for what I can contribute…and also for the favorable accomplishments and impacts TU makes nationally in specific conservation advocacy and restorations. The growth of TU’s outreach programs and conservation impact nationally across the sixteen years I’ve been able to observe has been extraordinary. TU does not just talk a good game, it makes really good things happen!
What else do you do in your spare time or work?
In retirement I’ve kind of become a one act pony, enjoying my fly fishing and TU activities. With that, after a part-time job in a retail store’s fishing department, and all the household, yard and activities of a large family, I’m ready to sleep well every night.
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