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CTU 50th Anniversary Film headed to Zimmerman Lake this summer (Behind the Scenes)

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On July 2, 2019 passionate TU volunteer and native trout angler, John Trammell headed up with CTU and Josh Duplechian of Trout Unlimited to participate in filming for CTU’s 50th Anniversary Film featuring the native trout work on Zimmerman Lake. Below is his personal account of the day. Enjoy!

John and his daughter Melissa.

John and his daughter Melissa.

MY LIFE AS A FLY FISHERMAN PART 21: Greenbacks and Zimmerman Lake

by John Trammell

Up front I’ll confess that not much of Part 21 is about fishing, but about what I observed at Zimmerman Lake on July 2 this year. What I saw was a team of government agencies and Trout Unlimited volunteers working scientifically and physically to preserve and propagate our state fish - the greenback cutthroat trout. I could not have been more impressed by the skills and hard work I saw. Really amazing.

Zimmerman lake is 40 miles east of Walden, near the continental divide, at 10,000+ feet elevation. It has a population of a few hundred greenbacks, placed there to become the source of eggs for the purpose of increasing the numbers of our state fish. On the day my daughter Melissa and I were there, the steep trail up to the lake was both rough and muddy, with numerous snowdrifts. (The day before, the workers had shoveled away drifts that were impassable to ATVs.)

The ancestors of the greenbacks in Zimmerman Lake were a small number of fish rescued from their only remaining natural habitat, Bear Creek near Colorado Springs, when the habitat was threatened by a wildfire. Being so few, when they’re artificially spawned it is important to preserve genetic diversity. Observing how that is done was fascinating - not only because of what was done, but how it was done under difficult field conditions.

When we arrived at the work site the fish were already being held in floating mesh pens. Wader-clad workers separated them into categories to be processed on a long table set up amid mud, snow and trippy exposed tree roots. They were given an anesthetic bath to make them more docile and to reduce shock while they were being processed.

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CPW’s project leader Kevin Rogers told me that his agency knows each greenback in the lake individually. Each has a little VIE tag behind its eye that he identifies to a person who then uses a hand-held electronic device to read an internal pittag. Each fish is described verbally (e.g, “ripe female, good condition; immature male”), its pittag recorded, measured, weighed, and photographed beside its PIT number. Then the fish is put into a five-gallon bucket of water, to recover from the anesthetic. This all occurs rapidly as the trout are passed down the table. This information is used to select males and females to have their eggs and milt combined. Records of the combinations are kept with the intent to achieve maximum genetic diversity.

After the anesthetic has worn off and the greenbacks are trying to swim out of the buckets, they are returned to the lake. Forest Ranger Chris Carrell hustled those 40-pound buckets down to the lake all afternoon, quickly returning the empties back to the table for more greenbacks. After a while, realizing the physical toll it was taking on him, Melissa helped. Although she wasn’t there as a representative of her agency, the National Park Service, she also helped with the work at the table. Being somewhat enfeebled by the trip up to the lake, I just sat, and observed.

Fertilized eggs are treated with an iodine solution, and taken to CPW’s Mt. Shavano hatchery to be hatched and reared for stocking into suitable waters. In addition to the objective of saving them from extinction, the aim is to have a sustainable population of greenbacks for Coloradoans to enjoy.

I’ve long been a fan of native cutthroat trout, so I’m grateful to the State of Colorado for going to the expense and trouble to save the greenbacks. And I’m grateful to the agency people and TU volunteers who do the work.

“I know I volunteer because I love trout, trout habitat, and trout fishing. Of those three, I think it’s the habitat I love best, and not just because without it we can’t have the other two. It’s because I just love it, everything about it. I get a thrill every time I approach a trout stream.”
— John Trammell

That "bucket list" trip to Argentina is now yours

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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. 

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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!

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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.

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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.

Behind the Fin with Cooper Hyland

Cooper loves helping others catch fish!

Cooper loves helping others catch fish!

Join us Behind the Fin with 13-year-old Cooper Hyland, JR Fishing Guide and TU Member.

How long have you been a TU member?

I have been a Trout Unlimited member for about 2 years now.


Why did you become a member and what chapter are you involved with?

I became a TU member because I met the manager of our local chapter, Greg Hardy, when I was fishing and he said it was a good way to help our fish so that they could be big and strong for all fisherman.


What is your favorite activity or project you have done with TU?

My favorite project that I have done with TU is the group fly tying session it was very cool to have so many people to learn from and so many secret flies.


Do you have a favorite place to fish or fun fishing story?

My favorite fishing story is when I was teaching a kid to fish and he was getting very discouraged because he could not get any fish and the last 5 minutes we were trolling with a Rapala and a huge brown trout ate it. When we got the monster on he was on a heavy rod and he almost broke it. As we got it into the boat the fish was in the net and before we get it into the boat he spun his head and snapped the hook and got away.  We had no picture of the fish. I felt so bad that we did not catch the fish, But a couple months later the mom of the kid called me to thank me for introducing him to the sport she says that he has become a self-made fisherman and is now fishing at least 1 time per week.

What does being a part of TU mean to you?

Being a TU member means a lot, but to me but I think that what it means to me the most is that I can sleep knowing that we are keeping our waterways safe and clean for future fisherman. 


What other hobbies or activities do you like to do? 

Some of my other hobbies include rocketry, engineering, electronics, and math.

Read the Latest Currents Newsletter

In an important victory for Colorado's rivers, communities and taxpayers, voters last night decided that Amendment 74 was NOT for them. We all value private property rights, and governmental “taking” of property already requires compensation under our Constitution. Amendment 74 would have gone far further, jeopardizing important state and local government efforts from water quality protections to even basic land use planning and zoning. Our pocketbooks were also at risk - a similar measure in Oregon led to more than $4 billion in claims against taxpayers. Fortunately 54% of Colorado voters rejected Amendment 74, leaving it far short of the 55% approval it needed to pass.

Local voters also approved new or renewed investment in natural resources such as parks, open space and water in Denver, Chaffee, Eagle and Park counties - good news for our conservation mission in those communities. Of course, Coloradoans also elected our next governor, Jared Polis, and a slate of new legislators. Colorado TU looks forward to working with Governor-elect Polis and with new and returning legislators from both parties on efforts to benefit our fisheries and watersheds, as well as our state's multi-billion outdoor industry.

Thank you to everyone who came out to vote against Amendment 74!

Other Highlights in the latest Currents Newsletter:

  • Colorado Gives Day

  • Frostbite Fish-off

  • Maroon Bells is Protected

  • Angler’s Guide to Rocky Mountain National Park

  • Winter Fishing the Cache La Poudre

  • Behind the Fin with Mike Goldblatt

  • Animas/Hermosa Creek Health post 416 Fire Event

  • Win a guided fly fishing trip for 2

  • Bonus Video: Backcountry Gunnison Fall Fly Fishing

Behind the Fin with Mike Goldblatt

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Join us Behind the fin with Mike Goldblatt, Programs Director and Board Member At Large of the Evergreen Chapter Trout Unlimited


How long have you been a TU Member?

I have been a member of ETU since 1985

Why did you become a member and what chapter are you involved with?    

I became a member to give back to the resource that I get to enjoy... Colorado's fisheries.

What is your favorite activity or project you have done with TU?

My favorite project currently is teaching an introduction to fly fishing class at Evergreen High School. Also, I am involved in the Greenback Cutthroat Recovery program in our local watershed.

Mike pointing at a temperature logger for a native Greenback Cutthroat Trout project.

Mike pointing at a temperature logger for a native Greenback Cutthroat Trout project.


I know you won’t tell me your favorite spot, but what is your second favorite place to fish or favorite fishing story? 

My favorite Colorado rivers are the Fryingpan, the Lake Fork of the Gunnison and the Conejos (pictured below).

The Conejos River. The picture was taken at the point where the river passes under US 285 in Conejos County, Colorado, a few miles north of Antonito. This file is licensed under the  Creative Commons   Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

The Conejos River. The picture was taken at the point where the river passes under US 285 in Conejos County, Colorado, a few miles north of Antonito. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

What does being a part of TU mean to you? 

Being a member of TU gives me the satisfaction of giving back to the resource and helping younger people become aware of coldwater fisheries conservation and enhancement.

What else do you do in your spare time or work?

I am a retired arborist. I enjoy fishing, golf, guitar, volunteering, and spending time with my grandkids.


Join Evergreen Trout Unlimited at their next monthly meeting on Wednesday November 14, 2018 7-9pm at Beau Jo’s Pizza. The presentation this month will be by Richard Pilatzke on Fly Fishing Terrestrials in the Rockies. Learn More.

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. 

 

 

 

Behind the Fin with Josh Anaya

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Join us "Behind the Fin" with Josh Anaya, Secretary, Frostbite Fishoff Chair, Communications, and Webmaster for the Southern Greenbacks Trout Unlimited Chapter

How long have you been a member?

I've been a member for almost two years. My first meeting was our chapter's election meeting, and we still had a couple of board positions open -- one of them being chairman of our annual fundraiser, the Frostbite Fish-Off. I thought it sounded fun and interesting, and I had some similar previous experience in cyberspace, and figured I'd try it out "in real life". By the end of the year, I also absorbed the positions of Secretary, and Communications/Web Guy.


Why did you become a member and what chapter are you involved with?

Curiosity, mostly. In January 2017, I joined both Trout Unlimited, and Fly Fishers International. A friend at one of my local fly shops suggested I check out TU, and see if it was something I'd be interested in. I was (and still am) pretty new to fly fishing, and it seemed like a great way to immerse myself in the community, and accelerate the learning process. Our chapter is the Southern Colorado Greenbacks, Chapter 509. We have members from Custer, Fremont, and Pueblo Counties. 

What made you want to become involved with TU?

Again, curiosity, but I also have some legitimate concerns over the future of the Stream Protection Rule under the current administration, and where the planet in general is headed environmentally. I thought I'd see what TU was all about, and see what I could contribute to the organization.


What is your favorite activity or project that you have done with TU?

I'd have to say it was the Frostbite Fish-Off -- our chapter's annual fundraiser. This year we had fifteen teams of two anglers each competing for some great prizes, with a party and raffle afterward. All in all, we had about seventy people involved. I've signed on to be the chairman of the event for at least another year, but I'm also working on getting a Trout in the Classroom project going at my son's middle school for the 2018-2019 school year. 

Our chapter also has a lot of cross-pollination with our local Fly Fishers International chapter (shout out to the Pueblo Tailwater Renegades!), and we've had river cleanups, and planted willows along the Arkansas River with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. The Renegades also host a Thursday evening "Bluegill Bash" at the ponds next to the Arkansas Tailwater, and that's been pretty fun, too.

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What is your favorite activity or project that you have done with TU?

I'd have to say it was the Frostbite Fish-Off -- our chapter's annual fundraiser. This year we had fifteen teams of two anglers each competing for some great prizes, with a party and raffle afterward. All in all, we had about seventy people involved. I've signed on to be the chairman of the event for at least another year, but I'm also working on getting a Trout in the Classroom project going at my son's middle school for the 2018-2019 school year. 

Our chapter also has a lot of cross-pollination with our local Fly Fishers International chapter (shout out to the Pueblo Tailwater Renegades!), and we've had river cleanups, and planted willows along the Arkansas River with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. The Renegades also host a Thursday evening "Bluegill Bash" at the ponds next to the Arkansas Tailwater, and that's been pretty fun, too.
 

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I know you won’t tell me your top spot, so what is your second favorite fishing spot or favorite fishing story?

My second favorite fishing spot would be pretty much anywhere in the World of Warcraft. I've been playing on and off for about twelve years now -- mostly to keep in touch with friends (big /cheer to my friends in the Bloodbath & Beyond guild). I haven't had the time to do all the cool end-game stuff for quite a few years, but every once in a while I'll log in, play for a night or two, and sneak in some fishing. That's actually where I got my start fishing -- I've always been a video gamer, and have played online games for about 20 years, and many of the bigger online games have fishing systems built into them. Two years ago, though, I had fished all there was to fish in Warcraft, and I was looking at about four months before the newest version would be out. I'd always see people fishing along the Arkansas whenever I'd ride that route, and one day I thought, "A lot of my gamer buddies like fishing in real life. I'mma learn2fish." I found a class at one of my local fly shops that was actually happening that weekend, and I jumped right in. 


What does being a part of TU mean to you?

After only a year or so, I'm still defining what I want that to be. I'll help with TU's mission where I can, and when I can. I'd like to be more active at the State level, but I'm still figuring out what kind of impact I can have at the local level, especially with working with local businesses and government entities.


Beyond being an awesome angler, what else do you do in your spare time or for work?

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I wouldn't exactly call myself an awesome angler...yet. Professionally, though, I'm a software developer, but I have a lot of other things going on the side. My evenings are usually spent playing games with my kids, or helping them with their homework. Once everybody's asleep, I'm usually working on some art project or another, whether it's digital like 3d modeling, or something more traditional like painting and sculpting. I picked up fish carving after this year's Western Rendezvous after I stumbled across Bill Rottman's artwork in a shop, and then met him a month later at the Annual Woodcarving & Woodworking Show in Colorado Springs, hosted by the Pikes Peak Whittlers. I'm also working on a couple independent video game projects. 

I tie, too! The shop I learned to fly fish at -- The Drift Fly Shop in Pueblo -- has classes on tying, and I jumped into that, too. I love the art, and I was just awarded my bronze level award in fly tying from Fly Fishers International. Next on my project list are to complete the silver and gold levels of the award.

Joel Evans, CTU Board Member, featured in news report about saving the rainbow trout in Colorado

REPOST FROM KRTV.COM: 

Joel Evans has been fishing the same stretch of the Gunnison River in western Colorado for more than 40 years. Like most anglers in those parts, for him, one species of fish is king: the rainbow trout. 

Colorado wildlife officials working to save fish

But in the 1990s, that fight between fish and fisherman shifted to one between rainbow trout and a parasite that invaded Colorado rivers. It causes whirling disease, an aquatic plague where young fish are deformed, swim in circles and die of starvation. 
 
What does he like about them most? "There's a bit of fight involved," he said. since, Renzo DelPiccolo of Colorado Parks and Wildlife has been working to keep the rainbow trout alive through various breeding programs, but at great cost and with only limited success. He's seen a tenfold decrease in the fish's population. 
Ever