Over 250 trout released in this year's Trout in the Classroom Release!

Trout in the Classroom (TIC) is a conservation-oriented, environmental education program for elementary, middle and high school students. Throughout the school year students raise their trout from egg to fry, monitor tank water quality, engage in stream habitat study, learn to appreciate water resources, grow to understand ecosystems and begin to foster a conservation ethic. At the end of each school year, TIC classrooms release their trout into a state approved stream.

In the state of Colorado, there are 12 schools that take part in this program with a total of 17 tanks. Each program is led by educators dedicated to growing the next generation of environmental stewards.

vanessa.jpg

On May 28th, Vanessa Grenader, a 5th grade teacher from Blackhawk, brought her students to Mayhem Gulch to release their 170 pet rainbow trout. Vanessa was accompanied by volunteers from the West Denver Chapter who talked with the students about water quality. Read more here.

On May 24th, Mike Sanchez’s high school class was joined by Bianca McGrath-Martinez of Colorado Trout Unlimited and Emma Brown of the Greenbacks for a release field trip at the Carson Nature Center in Littleton. The students were able to stock the South Platte with their trout, explore native plant species, and go on a nature walk.

On May 23rd, Todd Johnson set out on his first release field trip accompanied by the Denver Trout Unlimited chapter. Todd’s 3rd graders were able to release 60 trout — most of which have names.

That "bucket list" trip to Argentina is now yours

screenshot-org2.salsalabs.com-2019.06.04-10-34-47.png

A group of 8 lucky anglers will spend a week chasing Golden Dorado and enjoying fine food and wine in Argentina. Guests will join the wonderful crew at Andes Drifters and Parana on the Fly April 4-11, 2020 for 7 nights of accommodations and 6 full days of world-class fishing.
 
During the first half of this combination trip, anglers will pursue Dorado for 3 days in the world-renowned Iberá Wetlands (Esteros del Iberá), the second largest wetlands in South America. In 2018 the Argentine Government granted Andes Drifters sole outfitter fishing access to a large portion of the marsh. Anglers will have the opportunity to chase Dorado in this vast, unspoiled environment. This mecca, which just recently became available to anglers, is sure to produce a lifetime supply of memories and fish stories.
 
From there, anglers will enjoy 3 full days fishing for large Dorado on the upper Parana River. Deluxe lodging and top flight meals will be provided by Parana on the Fly Lodge. The lodge is located just 30 yards from a private dock where a fleet of modern motorized skiffs will be waiting to whisk anglers away to chase their quarry!
 
This deluxe package includes lodging, guides, boats, tackle (if desired), all meals, wine and beverages. Anglers should expect to land a variety of different sized Dorado during this trip. Fish ranging in size from 4 to 12 pounds are quite common and each season several trophy fish above 40 pounds are landed. 

screenshot-org2.salsalabs.com-2019.06.04-10-37-14.png

Andes Drifters will donate 15% of the cost of each trip back to Colorado TU to support river and fisheries conservation work around the state! In addition to being a great supporter of Colorado TU, Andes Drifters goes above and beyond to ensure a memorable and stress-free experience for its guests. Anglers on the 2019 Colorado TU trip to Argentina had a blast! Space is limited--reserve your spot before its gone!

screenshot-org2.salsalabs.com-2019.06.04-10-36-18.png

YOU can fish with the legends!

IMG_5499-Version3.jpg

Fish with five legends of fly fishing!

September 16-22, 2019

Join Randall Kaufmann, Scott Sanchez, Jeff Currier, and Mike Stidham, on six days of fishing with Jack Dennis as your guide.

This truly is a trip of a lifetime for any fly fisher! The trip is hosted by Jack Dennis, who will be the guide rowing you on legendary fishing spots in Wyoming. The package also includes lodging and dinners with each legend. You’ll meet and fish with:

  • Scott Sanchez, famed fly tying and author of many fly tying books including Introduction to Salt water Fly Tying and The Never Ending Stream as well as having managed with famed Yellowstone/Jackson area shops Jack Dennis Sports, Dan Bailey’s, and currently JD High Country Outfitters.

  • Randall Kaufmann, a leading authority on flies, fly tying and fly fishing for over 40 years and author of several books including Bonefishing!, Fly Tying Made Easy for Beginners, Tying Nymphs and Tying Dry Flies.

  • Jeff Currier, worldwide traveler artist and fly shop manager for Jack Dennis for over 27 years. As a member of Team USA Fly Fishing, Jeff earned an individual bronze medal in 2003’s World Championships making him the first ever American to medal in the competition.

  • Mike Stidham, an incredible and master artist who has illustrated books for Jack Dennis, Randall Kaufmann, and is considered one of the finest saltwater artist of all time.

  • And Jack Dennis will be your guide throughout. Jack is among the west’s most famous guides and tyers, authoring the definitive Western Trout Fly Tying Manual and establishing Jack Dennis Sports in Jackson, WY and founding the Jackson Hole One Fly, which has raised millions of dollars for habitat improvement projects.

Due to scheduling each of the experts will take part in different days, based on schedule and availability. One lucky buyer will fish in the boat with one of the experts on all of the days. This is a real chance to get super autographs and photos with some of the legends of our sport! The trip is for one person and is only available for the specified dates in September 2019 - and just possibly may be Jack’s last fundraising trip. At 72 he considers every year a blessing for him to take anglers!

Your trip Itinerary:

Arrival Sept 15: You’ll arrive in Thermopolis, Wyoming and stay the night that evening as you prepare to hit the Big Horn the next morning.

Day One Sept 16 : Big Horn River in Thermopolis Wyoming, fishing the trico hatch in the morning and the Blue Wing Olives later in the day to evening. You’ll be small dry fly fishing to large spooky rainbows, browns and the occasional Yellowstone cutthroats on an amazing river with rising trout. Lodging provided in Thermopolis that evening.

Day Two Sept 17 :A journey to world-famous Monster Lake chasing some trophy trout in one of the world's most famous private still water fisheries In the evening we’ll go back to Thermopolis.

Day Three Sept 18 Visit the Buffalo Bill historic museum complex in Cody, with true master of fly fishing art Mike Shidham. The complex hosts one of the great tributes to the American Indian, Western , and the world-famous Whitney, the largest Western art collection. In total there are five museums, including the American Firearms Museum administered by the Smithsonian, and the artifact collection of Buffalo Bill Cody. You’ll enjoy late afternoon to evening fishing on a local private stream, and again have lodging in Thermopolis.

Day Four Sept 19: A morning fishing adventure to catch the trico hatch fishing on the Big Horn River in Thermopolis. After fishing to mid afternoon, you will drive to Jackson Hole to prepare for an upcoming float on the Snake River. Lodging provided in Jackson Hole.

Day Five Sept 20: A journey to Jackson Hole where we will drift on the Snake through the Teton mountain range with beautiful fall colors and rising native cutthroat trout. This is Jack Dennis’ home river that he has fished since boyhood. After the fishing trip, you will journey to Pinedale, Wyoming and stay the night there.

Day Six Sept 21 : You’ll fish the Green River or New Fork River in Pinedale, Wyoming for fall fishing for rainbows and browns on a choice (based on conditions at the time) between two of Wyoming's finest rivers. Autumn is a prime time to fish here, as waters drop and the fishing pressure subsides. You’ll enjoy some first rate dry fly and streamer fishing, and again spend the night back in Pinedale, Wyoming.

Departure Sept 22 After breakfast, depart for home!

Trip is for one angler and includes lodging for 7 days. Breakfast and lunch during trips included; does not include license or liquor. Travel between destinations can be with Jack, or guests can follow and personal vehicle. This trip is only for the specified dates in September 2019.

Native Trout Need Your Help

Young Greenback Cutthroat Native Trout.  Photo by: Neal Bullock/2018

Young Greenback Cutthroat Native Trout.

Photo by: Neal Bullock/2018

After an epic snow year, Spring has finally settled in Colorado - which means great fishing and that Greenback recovery projects are just around the corner!

trout release.jpg

The Greenback Cutthroat Trout, once declared extinct, is making a comeback in Colorado – thanks in large part to agency partners and the hundreds of volunteers that have helped spawn, stock, and restore habitat over the past few years.  2019 is poised to be the biggest year yet for Greenback recovery projects and we need your help!  Follow the linked opportunities below to see how you can make a difference for this threatened species and be a part of this historic recovery effort!

Colorado TU works closely with our agency partners to support recovery projects with funding and volunteers.  Your help with spawning, stocking, habitat restoration, and citizen science goes a long way.

Thank you for helping to recover this critical trout species and we look forward to seeing you out there!

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

Click any opportunity below to learn more and sign up.

Browns Canyon National Monument Planning Process is Underway!

22 Browns Canyon029.jpg

The Browns Canyon National Monument was established by presidential proclamation under the Antiquites Act on February 19, 2015. The monument covers 21,604 acres of scenic and diverse natural resources along the upper Arkansas River of Colorado and encompasses both BLM and U.S. Forest Service (FS) lands.

Browns Canyon National Monument includes the Arkansas River Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA), the Browns Canyon Wilderness Study Area, the Browns Canyon Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC), and U.S. Forest Service roadless areas. In addition, a portion of the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA), a cooperative management area along the Arkansas River administered by the FS, the BLM, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), is included.

The Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service are developing the plan that will guide management of Browns Canyon National Monument for the foreseeable future. As part of the effort to solicit public input, the agencies will hold three public meetings in Salida, Buena Vista and Golden (Denver West). The meetings will start with a short presentation on the development of the BCNM Resource Management Plan. Members of the public are encouraged to attend and to submit comments on the management plan. The deadline to submit public comments is June 20.

Public Meetings:

  • June 3, in Salida, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the SteamPlant Event Center, 220 West Sackett Avenue

  • June 4, in Buena Vista, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Community Center, 715 E Main Street 

  • June 5, in Golden, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Marriott Denver West, 1717 Denver West Boulevard

To learn more about the plan and submit public comments, visit the BLM Planning Website.

As part of this process, the Friends of Browns Canyon organization has worked with numerous local stakeholders to facilitate the creations of a “Sustainable Alternative” plan that will support strong resource conservation values in the monument. Click here to learn more about the coalition’s “Sustainable Alternative” principles.

CTU Recognizes Outstanding Contributions to Trout Conservation

Pictured: Awardee Kevin Rogers, Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologist and researcher.

Pictured: Awardee Kevin Rogers, Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologist and researcher.

At the annual Rendezvous at the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs, Colorado TU presented its annual awards recognizing volunteers, chapters, and partners who have made exemplary contributions to TU and trout conservation in Colorado.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologist and researcher Kevin Rogers received the Trout Conservation Award. Kevin is a long-time native species researcher and has been an instrumental part of native cutthroat trout restoration efforts and developing and understanding the underlying science – including the new insights that have been gained about the different genetic lineages of cutthroat that guide restoration efforts statewide now. For years, Kevin has provided the scientific and moral leadership that guides cutthroat conservation and recovery statewide.

Black Canyon Anglers were honored as the Exemplary Guide & Outfitter for 2019. Black Canyon Anglers has been a long-time financial support of Trout Unlimited’s conservation efforts, including multiple years of providing a statewide raffle prize that has generated tens of thousands of dollars in proceeds. Additionally they have been active participants and provided logistical support for conservation efforts in the Gunnison Gorge including programs to help re-establish rainbow trout populations in the face of whirling disease.

Anglers All being presented with the Exemplary Industry Partner award from CTU.

Anglers All being presented with the Exemplary Industry Partner award from CTU.

Anglers All was recognized as the Exemplary Industry Partner. Through direct support and special events including their annual Trout Clave, Anglers All has generated thousands of dollars to support trout conservation in Colorado. Additionally they have been active partners on restoration and river cleanup efforts along the Denver South Platte.

Colorado TU presented two Distinguished Service Awards this year. The first went to volunteer leader Peter King with the Cutthroat Chapter for his successful efforts to link Trout Unlimited with new corporate funding partners, opening doors for support for youth education efforts from notable companies including Anadarko Petroleum and Conoco Phillips. The second went to Patrick, Miller and Noto LLC, a Carbondale based law firm that provided pro bono legal assistance to Colorado TU and American Rivers in the successful effort to eliminate the threat of Aspen-owned dams being build on Maroon and Castle Creeks including in the Snowmass-Maroon Bells Wilderness.

Rocky Mountain Flycasters Chapter received the Exemplary Chapter award (middle right) as well as the Outstanding Volunteer award going to member Phil Wright. (middle left)

Rocky Mountain Flycasters Chapter received the Exemplary Chapter award (middle right) as well as the Outstanding Volunteer award going to member Phil Wright. (middle left)

The Rocky Mountain Flycasters Chapter (Ft Collins/Loveland/Greeley) was recognized as this year’s Exemplary Chapter. The Chapter was recognized for its strong community engagement programs around the Cache la Poudre River, its leadership with the ambitious Poudre Headwaters Restoration Project to restore greenback cutthroat trout through nearly 40 miles of headwater streams, and its strong youth education efforts including an annual youth day camp.

The Exemplary Youth Education Award was presented to the Collegiate Peaks Anglers for their partnership with the Greater Arkansas River Nature Center on the new South

Arkansas Ecological Learning Center and their model “Stream Explorers” program for youth education in the Salida area.

The John Connolly Outstanding Chapter Communications Award was presented to the Five Rivers Chapter. The chapter was recognized for its newly revamped website, social media, and email communication efforts including partnership efforts with local fly fishing and women’s groups to help broaden their reach in the Durango community.

DSC_0675edit.jpg

Two chapters were recognized with the Exemplary Project Award. First, the Gunnison Angling Society was honored for its Adopt-a-Trout project, which combined STEM-based youth education while providing data that helped establish the foundation for new water leasing programs with agricultural producers in the valley and helped build stronger relationships among diverse local partners. Additionally, the Denver Chapter was honored for its “Long Underwater Non-Kinetic Embankment Replacement” structures (“LUNKER” structures) that provide shelter for aquatic life from current and predation, mimicking the natural habitat of an undercut bank in the highly modified Denver South Platte where natural undercut banks no longer exist.

Taila Oulton receiving an Outstanding Volunteer award for her work with the Colorado TU Youth Camp.

Taila Oulton receiving an Outstanding Volunteer award for her work with the Colorado TU Youth Camp.

Finally, Colorado TU recognized five Outstanding Volunteers from various chapters across the state. Keith Krebs was recognized for his work with the Collegiate Peaks chapter in advancing the Ecological Learning Center as well as overall chapter leadership. Taila Oulton was honored for her seven years of participation as a counselor with the Colorado TU Youth Camp – as a former camper and young adult, Taila has not only shared her significant fly fishing knowledge but been a relatable role model for younger campers. Barbara Plake was honored for her work in launching and growing the Collegiate Peaks chapter’s “Fly Gals” program from 5 to more than 100 participants as well as managing the chapter scholarship program and Caddis Festival banquet. Dan Sullivan was recognized for leadership with the West Denver Chapter and in particular for his work in improving chapter communications and helping to expand participation in chapter events and volunteer projects. Phil Wright from the Rocky Mountain Flycasters Chapter was recognized for his work with native trout conservation efforts in the Poudre watershed including stream temperature monitoring of potential recovery habitats, assisting agency biologists with field work in preparation for restoration the Poudre headwaters, and developing community outreach efforts around the recovery project.

A hearty congratulations to all of our 2019 award winners – with deep thanks for all they have done to benefit Trout Unlimited and coldwater conservation.

STREAM Girls in Colorado

DSCN7219.JPG
I want to tell you thank you for organizing this incredible event! My husband was very impressed, he wants to take our Brownie daughter when she has the age to attend. Her leader said it was the best event she has ever had, so well organized she said and Alison had so much fun and learned a lot!! She wrote a lot in her notebook, you should read it, like a real science girl.

On April 13th and May 11th of this year, CTU and Girl Scouts hosted the first ever STREAM Girls events in Colorado. There was a northern and southern event in the Denver Metro area and we had 30 girl scouts total to participate and 24 men and women as volunteers. Both events turned out to be a great success. Parents expressed to us that this type of program does not come around often and that they are very grateful to TU and Girl Scouts of America for bringing it to Colorado.

What is STREAM Girls?

STREAM Girls is an outdoor watershed experience that employs STEM-education (science, technology, engineering, math) plus recreation and arts to explore a local stream. By visiting a local stream and having the opportunity to observe it as scientists, anglers, and artists, Girl Scouts in the 4th through 8th grade (juniors and cadettes) will get the complete picture of what their stream could mean to them. Over the course of multiple sessions, Girl Scouts observe a stream, collect flow data, sample macro-invertebrates (aka aquatic bugs), tie flies, and learn fly casting.

See the Program in action

Thank yous

Thank you to our volunteers who participated in the training and offered their time to help run the program. Our volunteers consisted of TU members, lifetime Girl Scouts, Colorado Women Flyfishers, Women in oil and gas, and women working in STEM. We look forward to future STREAM Girls events across Colorado. Thank you to Girls Scouts of Colorado for partnering with us on this program!

List of Volunteers involved
Liz Andrews
Amanda Bower
Celina Will
Suzanne Faerber
Kim Parsons
Steve Scholz
Cyndy Scholz
Rachel Therkildsen
Emily Therkildsen
Margot Iwanchuk
Jenna Merritt
Nina Preston
Karen Williams
Barbara Sheedlo
Lauren Hillmer
Denise Thelen
Kathleen McDonald
Mark Rayman

A special shout out to CTU’s VISTA Youth Coordinator, Bianca McGrath-Martinez and CTU’s Headwaters Chair, Barbara Luneau who together made this event possible.

Thank you to Denver Water for offering use of their space at the Kassler Center for our May 11 event.

Sponsor

Colorado Trout Unlimited is extremely grateful for Anadarko Petroleum’s support of STREAM Girls in Colorado


2019 Annual CTU Rendezvous Recap

Rendezvous Booklet 8.5x5.5 Final Draft.jpg
Fly Fishing Film Tour Showing at the Hotel Colorado during Rendezvous 2019.

Fly Fishing Film Tour Showing at the Hotel Colorado during Rendezvous 2019.

The 2019 Annual CTU Rendezvous was our biggest conference yet!  Held April 26-28 in Glenwood Springs, CO, the Rendezvous brought TU leaders, anglers, conservation professionals, agency staff, and non-profit partners together for a weekend of training and fun.  Topics included: drought, climate change, the state of Colorado’s fisheries, youth education, aquatic nuisance species, chapter development, membership engagement, stream management planning, and more! In addition to the workshops, participants also enjoyed a special screening of the Fly Fishing Film Tour, kicked off by Doug Dragoo of Mayfly Outdoors, and the CTU Awards Banquet, with DNR Director Dan Gibbs providing an excellent keynote address. 

We want to thank all of the attendees, speakers, auction donors, and sponsors who made this year’s Rendezvous a huge success.  A special shout out goes to our Title Sponsor, Sawyer Paddles and Oars, who has recently launched a new slate of TU-logoed product that helps raise money for TU projects around the country!

What a great view from the Hotel Colorado that overlooks Glenwood Springs!

What a great view from the Hotel Colorado that overlooks Glenwood Springs!

You can check out all of the Rendezvous highlights and access the conference materials by visiting http://coloradotu.org/rendezvous




A Good Year for Trout at the Capitol

1280px-CO_State_Capitol_dusk.jpg

Legislative Recap

By Jen Boulton, CTU Legislative Liaison

The 2019 session was one of the most intense in recent years. There was some Washington DC level obstruction on numerous bills; which led to some very long days, and even longer nights. After the dust settled, however, the conservation community achieved some remarkable successes.

One of the highest priorities for CTU was HB1113 to revamp some of the hard rock mining laws in the state. Most notably, the bill prohibited reliance on perpetual water treatment for newly permitted mines. Under the previously existing law, companies could apply for permits knowing that perpetual mine drainage pollution would result from their activities. In fact, the policy of the State of Colorado hasn’t allowed the practice for several years; but with passage of HB1113, the practice is prohibited by law so our streams and rivers are less reliant on the policies of a single department. HB1113 also prohibited the use of “self-bonding” for recovery on mining sites. Self bonding allowed companies to claim that a healthy corporate balance sheet negated the need to post bonds in order to ensure sufficient resources for reclamation. Lastly, the bill gave specific authority to State regulators to require bonds to protect water quality, rather than solely for surface reclamation. Put together, these provisions will help ensure that future mining operations are required to operate responsibly and in a manner that adequately restores the environments where mining takes place.

Another key measure was passage of the oil and gas regulation bill. One of the biggest obstacles to updating regulations on the oil and gas industry to protect streams and rivers has been the statutory provision that the agency responsible for regulation has also been required to foster development of oil and gas resources. That dual mission has led to significant difficulties in protecting water quality, as well as public health and safety. There has been a tremendous amount of misinformation circulated about this bill. It was absolutely not a resurrection of the 2018 ballot measure on setbacks – a measure that Colorado TU did not support. In fact, the word setback wasn’t even in the bill.

The bill actually addressed two major issues, and several smaller issues to streamline the process and improve transparency. First it removed the requirement that the State foster development. Instead, it made the regulatory agency responsible solely for regulating the industry. Second, the bill gave increased authority to local governments to regulate the siting of facilities in accordance with their land use policy. This provision was one of the most contentious. Industry claimed that the resulting patchwork of regulations would make development prohibitively expensive. Ironically, the bill merely put the oil and gas industry on the same footing with all other commercial and residential development, which was already subject to regulation and permitting by each local jurisdiction in the State.

On a more disappointing note, we were unable to pass HB1218, a bill that would have expanded the existing program allowing temporary leasing of water for protection of instream flows. The bill expanded the existing program from allowing temporary leases three years in a single ten year period; to allowing up to five years of leasing in ten, with renewal for up to two additional ten year terms. This program has already been used to help keep more water in drought-stricken streams, including three times (through 2018) on the Yampa River where leasing partnerships with the local water conservancy district have been essential in maintaining the fishery through drought years.  Unfortunately, the opposition was strong enough to derail the bill, and force it into a discussion during the Summer at the water resources and review committee.

Stay tuned: this fight will be back next year.