Voluntary fishing closures across the state

 Headwaters of the Roaring Fork River.  Wikimedia Commons

Headwaters of the Roaring Fork River. Wikimedia Commons

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has issued voluntary fishing closures across Colorado. This is in response to the low flows and high temperatures many of our rivers have been experiencing. When stressful conditions like these are present, trout are more likely to not survive after catch-and-release, even if done properly. 

If you have not yet seen the warnings about fishing when the water temperatures are above 65 degrees, check out our Trout Thermometer to know when it's time to give the fish a break. 

CPW will not legally enforce the voluntary closures, but simply ask anglers to plan on going earlier in the day or try other locations.

Voluntary Closures after 12pm

Voluntary Closures Between 2 p.m. and Midnight

Read the full voluntary fishing closures in Northwest Colorado press releas

Full-time Voluntary Closures

Closures NO LONGER in Effect

  • A mandatory fishing closure in place at the tailwater of the Yampa River has been rescinded (see 7/19/18 news release).

CPW regularly updates their fishing conditions online here. So be sure to check before you head out on your fishing excursion. 

Still need more information? Contact your local CPW office. 

 

First Fish on First Fly

 Fishing up at Lake San Isabel for the second time that day! I was hooked on catching another one and went back that evening. 

Fishing up at Lake San Isabel for the second time that day! I was hooked on catching another one and went back that evening. 

I finally did it. I caught my first fish (actually 3 in total) on a fly rod. That's right! I officially made my right of passage into the Trout Unlimited family. I think my dad is regretting showing my sister and I how to fly fish - seeing as how we end up being the only ones catching anything. Sorry dad!

 He is so small I couldn't believe he ate the fat flying ant that my sister tied. Of course we only got a picture of this smallest one ever, but he was the first!

He is so small I couldn't believe he ate the fat flying ant that my sister tied. Of course we only got a picture of this smallest one ever, but he was the first!

Flashback to that weekend

I was trying to keep my expectations low as it had only been my second time actually going fly fishing. I think it helped that we went to a stocked mountain lake where I could wade in about waist deep. The first one I caught was a tiny rainbow trout that barely fit in my hands. The next two were also rainbows but much larger (9-10 inches) with much more fight. Let's just say they both flopped up and then immediately unhooked themselves to quickly swim away. Of course, the only one we could snap a picture of was the first one. I guess that's just how fishing works - no one will believe that I caught anything larger unless I have a picture to prove it. 

I have to say that I never thought I would enjoy it so much until I felt the tug on the end of my line and then immediately lifting straight up to see the wicked bend of the rod. I now get it. I got it so much that after we came back to my parent's that afternoon, I was all set to go back out again that evening. 

After proving that I could actually catch something on a fly rod, let's just say my dad saw it fitting to purchase me some more gear to get me better prepared. It's not the most expensive, but for a beginner, it gets the job done. Now that I have the flyfishing bug - where should I go next? 

Andrea (Annie) Smith is CTU's Communications and Membership Coordinator. 

 

 

 

Do you wet wade?

 Picture via Pixabay.

Picture via Pixabay.

It's hot outside, even up in the mountains. The last thing you want to do is layer up in more clothes. If you're willing to brave the initial shock of cold water, then wet wading can be a great way to experience fly fishing on a whole new level. If you are prone to "cold legs" then please feel free to gear up. But if you are feeling the heat, here are some tips for going wader-less this summer.

WHAT TO WEAR?

Bottoms

Depending on how comfortable you are, there are lots of options to choose from. As a woman, I prefer running shorts (quick dry) or Capri yoga pants.  I suggest picking your pant length based on the area you will be going and how much exposure you're okay with. For example, if you know you will be hiking through brush, trees, and rocks, longer pants would be the way to go.

A good rule of thumb is to avoid jeans when wading. Seriously, the joke that you can tell who is a Colorado tourist because they wear jeans in the snow also applies to the water as well. Natural fiber (cotton, wool, etc.) will weigh you down when wet as well as take forever to dry. You might as well go in your underwear at that point. Shorts work great (unless you burn quickly) and usually any kind of activewear that says "quick dry" or "water wicking" is your best bet. Most outdoor stores sell this type of gear and right now I bet those end of summer sales can get you a great steal. Basically, the purpose of wet wading is to get wet, which may include the clothes you're wearing.

Shoes

This is the most important item you need to be safe out there. Rocks are slippery, currents can be fast, and waterlogged shoes suck. There are so many options for this as you can wear your wading boots, sandals, closed-toe sandals, water shoes, or quick dry sneakers. Below is a list of options that you can opt for. Keep in mind, the most important part is the sole and if it can grip the slippery rocks/surface below, besides that, it's up to you! You can always add on on some grips later on such as spikes. There is some information about certain types of wading shoes transferring invasive species through your soles, laces, or other gear. Your best bet is to always wash your gear off before heading into a new watershed. If you really want to guarantee you're not moving the invasives, you can put your shoes in the freezer overnight. This is a common practice for all those who wade in multiple locations. You can read more about it in the link below.

Some ideas for wet wading footwear:

  • Wading Boots & Neoprene socks
  • Well-fitting strap sandals with a good rubber sole (i.e. Chacos, Teva's)
  • Closed toe water shoes - cross between boot and sandal - great to protect against stubbing toes
  • Quick Dry Sneakers - these usually have a foam, lightweight sole, so not the best of preventing rock slippage
  • Barefoot - recommended only for sandy stretches only, not fun in rocky areas

Tops

If you are planning on wading in past your hips, the same thing applies to your top as it does to the bottoms. Cotton is not the way to go. Choose active/outdoor wear that will dry quickly and allow you to move freely.

 Picture via Pixabay.

Picture via Pixabay.

Tips & Safety

Just because you do not have waders on, doesn't mean that wading safety does not apply.

Check out Trouts 7 Safety tips for Wading

Some notable things to consider for wet wading: 

  1. Use a wading staff/stick to help with high flows, strong currents, and slippery surfaces
  2. Keep your stance sideways and avoid facing up or downriver
  3. When crossing across a river, consider going at an angle - it's easier and safer
  4. Lead with your downriver foot to keep yourself upright

Keep in mind that warmer weather also means warmer water! If it feels unseasonably warm and you are seeing the water temperatures are reaching above 65 degrees Fahrenheit, then it's time to give the fish a break or plan on getting out there earlier and leaving before the afternoon. Check out our handy water thermometer here to see when it's time to give fish a break.

Interested in learning more about wading tips and tricks? Check out these great resources below:

Safe Wading Techniques

Rubber vs. Felt vs. Invasives

The Season of Wet Wading - Duranglers