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2019 Summer Youth Camp Video features youth learning about rivers and fly fishing

Greenback and CTU volunteer, Emma Brown, put together a great feature about the 2019 CTU River Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp in Almont, CO. Check out the great video she filmed above!

The River Conservation and Fly Fishing Camp is a week long camp designed to educate 14 to 18 year old students on the importance of cold water conservation and provide hands-on fly fishing instruction. Approximately 20 students are selected each year based on their qualifications and a written essay on why they would like to attend the camp.

Camp classes include: Principles of Ecology, Hydrogeology, Aquatic Vertebrate and Invertebrate Sampling, Hydrology, Trout Behavior, Trout Stream Entomology, The Biology of Pollution, Acid Deposition, and Politics of Conservation and Human Effects on the Rocky Mountain.

In addition, the camp will include hands-on instruction on Fly Tying, Fly Casting, Stream-side Ethics, Angling Literature, Stream-side Botany, Wader Safety and Survival, and The Evolution of an
Angler. The campers will also participate in a watershed project to repair habitat in a nearby stream.

Over 300 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.

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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.

Colorado Trout Unlimited celebrates passage of lands bill

House passes bill to restore the Land and Water Conservation Fund and protect public lands 

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(Feb. 26, 2019) Denver, Colo. – The Land and Water Conservation Fund is now one step closer to being permanently re-authorized. With a vote of 363 to 62, the US House of Representatives passed the Natural Resources Management Act today, sending the historic package of bills to the President’s desk. 

“Today the House of Representatives put public lands over politics and passed this important legislation. On behalf of Colorado Trout Unlimited’s 11,000 members, I want to thank Representatives DeGette, Neguse, Tipton, Crow, Lamborn and Perlmutter for voting to support conservation. We deeply appreciate their commitment to investing in Colorado’s public lands and outdoor recreation,” said David Nickum, Executive Director of Colorado Trout Unlimited. “This vote comes on the heels of Senators Gardner and Bennet helping shepherd the bill through the Senate, reflecting the broad, bi-partisan support for conservation in Colorado.”  

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For more than half a century, LWCF has used a portion of federal offshore energy revenues — at no cost to taxpayers — to conserve our public lands, water, and open spaces and protect the outdoor recreation opportunities they offer. LWCF has invested over $268 million in Colorado, helping to secure access and conserve special places across the state, including the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve and boat launches on the Colorado River. 

Also included in the package were numerous provisions protecting public lands with important fish and wildlife habitat, including mineral withdrawals in Washington’s Methow Valley and the upper Yellowstone in Montana, a special designation to conserve wild steelhead habitat in Oregon’s North Umpqua watershed, new Wilderness in Oregon and New Mexico, Wild and Scenic River designations in Oregon and California, and a unique collaborative plan to protect water quality and quantity in Washington’s Yakima Basin. Significant to Colorado, the act extends the authorization of the Upper Colorado Endangered Fish Recovery Implementation Program, a partnership between local, state and federal agencies, water and power interests, and conservation groups working to recover endangered fish in the Upper Colorado River Basin. 

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“Passing this package of bills is a huge win for sportsmen and women,” said Scott Willoughby, Colorado Field Coordinator for Trout Unlimited. “Anglers and hunters know first-hand what it means to be connected to place and to the fish and wildlife that make a place special. The work isn’t over, and we look forward to working with Colorado’s delegation to secure dedicated funding for LWCF, but I think all sportsmen and women can take a moment today and celebrate such an achievement as the reauthorization of LWCF and protection for hundreds of thousands of acres of special places across the country.” 

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Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s trout and salmon and their watersheds. Follow TU on Facebook and TwitterInstagram and our blog for all the latest information on trout and salmon conservation. 

 

50 years protecting rivers, and we're just getting started

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Every once in awhile you need to stop and take a look back. To take inventory. To measure your successes. To celebrate your accomplishments together; as a group.

Colorado Trout Unlimited’s 50th Anniversary officially kicked off January 1 of this year and now is exactly the time for us to showcase our accomplishments. As you read this, keep in mind all that you have done together with your fellow members. Think about everyone else that has created so much in each of the 49 years before this one.

This year we will be using our limited edition 50th anniversary logo.

This year we will be using our limited edition 50th anniversary logo.

In August of 1969 a small collection of visionaries gathered in Vail and formed Colorado Trout Unlimited with this mission statement: To Conserve, Protect and Restore Colorado’s cold-water fisheries and their watersheds. We now boast approximately 12,000 members statewide who participate locally in 24 chapters. How does that compare? Colorado has the second highest number of Trout Unlimited members in the country second only to Pennsylvania. We are committed to carrying on the mission and to inspire other visionaries to join us.

In 2018 Trout Unlimited in Colorado invested more than $4,700,000 towards our mission. In addition, we have organized 45,000 hours of volunteer service, conducted more than 100 youth education programs and events, 60 conservation projects and 40 veterans service projects. You did that. Each of you. You are a positive force accomplishing our mission.

There are countless stories of our positive impacts. Some are high profile efforts like the “Save the Fraser” campaign or the defeat of Two Forks Dam. Some go largely unnoticed – except by the trout that benefit. Some are as simple as picking up a piece of trash as you peacefully walk stream side. It all goes to the common good. As a part of our celebration, we invite you to submit stories and pictures to share from your TU experiences. Now is the time- share your passion, your excitement and your accomplishments. Big or small, we welcome your submissions (coloradotu.org/submit-your-story). We will be showcasing them throughout the year- our 50th anniversary year- with members and nonmembers alike.   

You should be proud of yourselves. Our accomplishments are something to be shared. Capture the positive energy and share the TU story with somebody who might not know about us. The next visionary might just be in your network. The next new member is waiting for your inspiration.

Thank you for all that you have done and all that you will do in the future. The next 50 years starts with you. CTU’s next chapter continues with your passion.

Mike Ledger, CTU Member and Director at Large, Chair 50th Anniversary Workgroup



High Country Angler Winter Issue

That's right, the latest digital issue of High Country Angler, Winter 2019 is now available! This issue features a Q& A with Colorado Governor-Elect Jared Polis, the fishing trip of a lifetime in New Zealand, how raising trout in a classroom inspires youth, stories on both fishing and conservation work on the Dolores, a recap of Greenback Cutthroat recovery efforts, and upcoming events to look forward to in 2019. All of this and more is available to read now. Happy New Year!

I took my dad fishing

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone! On this day we would like to share a story from one of our CTU staff about taking her dad fly fishing in Colorado. We hope everyone has a safe holiday and finds time to spend it with friends, family, or the great outdoors!

Written By Bianca Martinez-McGrath, CTU Youth Education VISTA

Bianca’s dad holding a rainbow trout before releasing back into the water.

Bianca’s dad holding a rainbow trout before releasing back into the water.

Over the past 5 years, I have moved around to a lot of different places. It has gotten to the point where my parents are quick to ask me “where are you going next?” so they can start planning their next vacation to come see me. So, when my parents decided to come to Colorado a couple months after I first arrived, I knew I had to make this trip memorable for them. I took them to see the Garden of the Gods and to a Cuban-inspired jazz show in Downtown Denver. We went up to the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado and, considering my new position with Colorado Trout Unlimited, I knew it would only make sense to take my dad fly fishing.  
 
I knew this would be a perfect opportunity for both of us because I had only been fly fishing a couple of times and my dad had been fly fishing once or twice as a child. Our guided trip with Scott Dickson of Trouts Fly Fishing shop began early with a snowy drive over to Deckers so we could fish on the South Platte. Throughout the day, we would experience just about every season of weather that exists. My goal for this trip was to learn as much as possible from Scott, see my dad catch a fish, and catch one for myself. Although I had been fly fishing a couple of times before, all I had gotten in contact with were a couple of fish that managed to unhook themselves and a few very aggressive rocks.  

Bianca holding a brown trout she caught and released immediately after.

Bianca holding a brown trout she caught and released immediately after.

After six hours of fishing, my dad ended up being able to catch a good amount of trout. I could tell from how little quiet time there was on the way back to Denver that he enjoyed every moment of it. As for me, I caught a few Brown trout and got to see my dad fully enjoy the experience, an experience that has motivated many members of Trout Unlimited to protect and conserve their cold-water fisheries. It has been almost three years since I lived near my parents, so having this experience with my dad was an important one for me. I am only hoping that fly fishing becomes something we can do at all of the new destinations that we experience together.  

Extinct no more! CPW discovers remnant San Juan trout

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has found cutthroat trout that are unique to the San Juan River Basin in southwest Colorado. Photo courtesy of  Colorado Parks and Wildlife . 

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has found cutthroat trout that are unique to the San Juan River Basin in southwest Colorado. Photo courtesy of Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) biologists recently discovered a unique genetic lineage of the Colorado River cutthroat trout in southwest Colorado that was previously thought to be extinct. The discovery was officially recognized earlier this year thanks to advanced DNA testing techniques. Eight small populations of these trout have been found in isolated habitats on streams of the San Juan River Basin within the San Juan National Forest and on private property.
 
Based on two samples from 1874 and housed in the Smithsonian, researchers from the University of Colorado previously identified a Colorado River cutthroat trout lineage with genetic markers unique to the San Juan basin. Unfortunately, no modern populations of the lineage were known to remain at that time.  CPW researchers and biologists, however, set out to test all the southwest Colorado cutthroat trout populations they could find to see if any carried the unique San Juan genetic fingerprint.  Their efforts bore fruit with this year’s discovery of eight such small populations.

“We always ask ourselves, ‘What if we could go back to the days before pioneer settlement and wide-spread non-native fish stocking to see what we had here?’”
— Jim White, CPW Biologist

 “Careful work over the years by biologists, finding those old specimens in the museum and the genetic testing gave us the chance, essentially, to go back in time. Now we have the opportunity to conserve this native trout in southwest Colorado.” said CPW biologist, Jim White.

Colorado TU and the Five Rivers Chapter stand to play a key role in the story of these fish going forward.  “This is far and away the most exciting thing to happen to southwest native trout in my lifetime,” said TU representative Garrett Hanks of Durango. “I am excited to participate in the future of the San Juan cutthroat trout – from headwaters to the high desert.”

TU has a track record of partnership in successful native fish restoration projects in the region, working closely with CPW and the San Juan National Forest.  Among other projects, the partners have collaborated to restore Colorado River cutthroat trout into the headwaters of the Hermosa Creek watershed – building barriers to secure fish from downstream invasion by non-natives, improving stream and riparian habitat, and helping with reintroduction efforts.  The discovery of remnant San Juan lineage fish opens the door for new restoration efforts into additional, suitable habitats.

“We’ve appreciated the chance to work with such great partners to conserve native trout in southwest Colorado,” said CTU Executive Director David Nickum.  “It is nothing less than remarkable to now have the chance to join them in restoring a fish we thought had been lost to extinction.”

Biologists have already had to sweep into action to protect the rare, newly-found cutthroats.  Two populations were in areas impacted by the 416 fire this summer, and fish were salvaged from those habitats to preserve their unique genetic stocks before they could be lost to post-fire ash flows.

A fish barrier installed to protect Hermosa Creek native trout, through a partnership including the San Juan National Forest, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and Trout Unlimited.  More such projects will be needed to secure homes for the newly-rediscovered San Juan lineage cutthroat.

A fish barrier installed to protect Hermosa Creek native trout, through a partnership including the San Juan National Forest, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and Trout Unlimited.  More such projects will be needed to secure homes for the newly-rediscovered San Juan lineage cutthroat.

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. 
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