By: Ameen Hosain Engaging the next generation of anglers and conservationists is a top priority for Colorado TU’s mission and purpose. CTU does this by using the sport of fly fishing to show the importance of conserving and sustaining natural and healthy rivers.
For the past 10 years, Colorado Trout Unlimited has been the proud host of the River Conservation and Fly fishing youth camp, a five day wilderness camp targeting promising youth, who have interest in the sport of fly fishing, as well as interest in the conservation goals and values of Trout Unlimited.
At the Youth Camp, participants are presented with the opportunity to learn from many experts in the various fields of conservation and fly fishing. This information will one day allow and inspire these kids to become the next generation of fishermen and stewards who care for the environment that anglers and other recreationists get to experience every day.
With a heavy importance placed upon the conservation and protection of Colorado’s great waters and wildlife areas, the students will learn the basics of conservation from various, well recognized, and respected organizations. Partners like, the US Forest Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Natural Resource Conservation Service, all help teach various lessons. Classes and seminars with these organizations often include intensive, hands-on learning in fields such as stream ecology, entomology, and hydrology. Campers then get to put what they have learned into action, participating in a real-world conservation project. In previous years, this project has involved stream restoration on a stretch of the Purgatoire River running through Trinidad, Colorado.
Though conservation is the overall theme of the camp, Trout Unlimited is an organization that revolves around the sport of fly fishing, and thus the camp also includes numerous opportunities for campers to both learn and participate in every aspect of the sport from fly tying to fish handling. Campers of all skill levels are invited to create a friendly and fun learning environment where many fish are caught on rivers, small streams and stillwaters Students are given a plethora of fishing opportunities and are offered fly tying materials, as well as instructions on tying, casting, and all that fly fishing entails from the highly experienced volunteer staff consisting of fly fishing guides and enthusiasts.
The staff at TU and the volunteers involved with the Youth Camp all do their best to find a location that all campers will feel comfortable in and that campers will enjoy to the fullest. For the past three years, and for the upcoming 2016 camp, this location is the Bar N I ranch, located just south of Weston Colorado.
Embedded in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, this ranch offers campers a beautiful location to learn and fish in. With ponds stocked with healthy trout scattered across the property, it is the perfect place for beginners of the sport to catch their first or hundredth fish. The ranch also offers numerous high mountain lakes that campers are invited to utilize, as well as a healthy high mountain stream that holds populations of wild fish. The welcoming staff and volunteers combined with this beautiful location create a memorable experience for all involved, and offer campers the opportunity of a lifetime.
For over a decade, the camp has helped create a body of youthful and environmentally minded individuals capable of carrying the views and objectives of Trout Unlimited far into the future. Camp alumni have gone on to work in the outdoor industry as guides, environmentalists and educators that utilize the lessons they learned from the CTU River Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp.