The past two weekends were about the kids. Colorado Trout Unlimited, with the help of Jake Lemon, and Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Colorado, with the help of Kaity Talmage-Bowers, teamed to create a unique experience for over a dozen boys and girls, along with their ‘bigs’. The first week was chalked full of stream entomology and biology, while the second focused on fly-tying and getting some lines in the water. On the first weekend, with the help of Charlie Horn of West Denver TU and Greenbacks volunteers, the kids and their ‘bigs’ got their feet wet collecting aquatic macroinvertebrates in the South Platte River at Reynolds Landing Park in Littleton. Adults and kids alike showed great interest in the previously unknown world living under water and rock in their local river. After sorting the bugs and discussing various physiological characteristics, the kids and their ‘bigs’ worked together to identify what they had found. Following a brief lunch, the junior scientists worked in groups of three to investigate the behavior of aquatic macroinvertebrates. Using brine shrimp as their subjects, they set up experiments to test the effects of light, gravity, and temperature. After collecting and consolidating their data, they shared what their results told them about instream macroinvertebrate habitat and behavior.
With their interest in fish and bugs piqued during the first week’s activities, the kids were ready to fish the following Saturday. With help again from Charlie Horn, the kids first sat down at a table next to Overland Pond to try their hand at tying some flies. Charlie is such a good teacher, and when given the chance to tie a second fly or eat lunch, most hands were raised to stay put.
After the tying session, the kids were provided a gift courtesy of Denver Parks and Rec and the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife – a brand new spinning rod they could take home and use in the future. We rigged the rods while they took a break, and then they were off fishing on Overland Pond – some with their own flies that they had tied.
It was great to walk around the park and watch these kids pull little fish in left and right. There wasn’t a huge number caught, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that these kids got the opportunity to work with people that care about them. From their big brothers and sisters, to Trout Unlimited, to Denver Parks and Rec and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, kudos to all your efforts to team-up and create a unique experience that these kids will never forget. And maybe, just maybe, a few of these kids will become life-long anglers and the next generation helping to keep our waters clean and fishy.
Kyle Perkins, Compleat Thought