South Platte

March Newsletter is out! Check out the latest Currents.

This month’s issue features a story about the history of a Colorado town that decided it needed to give itself a new identity. The newsletter also includes a new Behind the Fin feature, our 50th Anniversary Art Poster Contest Winner, the new High Country Angler Spring e-magazine, Fork Not Taken Recap, Clean Water Action alert and some upcoming events around the state.

The irreplaceable river: How George H.W. Bush's EPA administrator saved the South Platte

South Platte/Deckers Flyfisher. 2019 Picture by: Annie Smith/CTU

South Platte/Deckers Flyfisher. 2019 Picture by: Annie Smith/CTU

REPOST from the Gazette:

By: Paul Klee | Mar 4, 2019

Thank you, William K. Reilly.

Thank you for saving our river from drowning.

Reilly, now 79, is the former Environmental Protection Agency administrator who vetoed the Two Forks project that in 1990 sought to dam the South Platte upstream from the one stop sign in the mountain town of Deckers.

“It was all systems go,” Reilly said last week, and the 20 miles of irreplaceable trout habitat where hundreds of kids like me learned to fly fish would be nothing more than a sad bedtime story.

This fragile, world-class trout fishery would have been flooded below the 615-foot Two Forks dam, a structure roughly the size of Hoover Dam. Twenty-five miles southwest of Denver and 42 miles northwest from Colorado Springs, six towns and a priceless outdoor recreation area would have been washed away.

So thank you.

“How’s the river doing, anyway?” Reilly asked before his keynote speech for Colorado Trout Unlimited’s annual River Stewardship Gala here Thursday.

Really well, considering. The Hayman fire was rough on everybody, and the trout populations are gradually returning. But here’s the real catch: At least this stretch of river still exists.

Thanks to Reilly.

As Reilly told it from his home in San Francisco, the Two Forks dam was “a foregone conclusion from every angle” when the late George H.W. Bush hired him as head of the EPA in 1989.

“You don’t bring the World Wildlife president into the EPA to just sit there. You want drive, action,” Reilly said. “I was determined in my authority to make him the environmental president.”

Continue reading the full story on the Gazette here.

Behind the Fin with Reid Baker

ReidBakerBTF.jpeg

Join us “behind the fin” with Reid Baker, Vice President of Denver Trout Unlimited Chapter

How long have you been a TU member?

Since 2006.

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

Though I've been a member since 2006 I really became more active in 2014. I had been a full time fly fishing guide and realized that I had made a living off of these resources, and rather than simply taking it was time to give back in a more substantial way. That was the year I became a board member of the Denver Chapter.  

What made you want to be involved with TU?

I think what draws me to DTU most is because our projects benefit not only anglers, but Denver as a whole. Whether you like to fish, SUP, kayak, bike along the path, or enjoy one of the many riverside parks we've been involved with, we've tried to improve our city through its river. 

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

I have competed as a pro, amateur and am currently the Operations Manager for the Denver Trout Unlimited Carp Slam (www.carpslam.org) fishing tournament. For 12 consecutive years, DTU has put on "The Slam" to raise proceeds for the Denver South Platte River (DSP). 15 Pro/Am teams fish for most total inches of carp on the fly in a single day. It has been an awesome event to be a part of and I've met some of the most talented anglers in the region through this event. More importantly though, I've seen a lot of good go back into the DSP to make our home river better.

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

At this point I'm pretty content anytime I get to float with friends or family and watch them catch fish. That's not an open invite to anyone reading this... haha... but I get more enjoyment at this point watching other people do the catching. Plus from a rower's seat I get to heckle. 

What does being a part of TU mean to you? 

Being a part of TU means being a part of a great local community of conservationists. Conservationists who happen to fly fish. 

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

I try to travel as much as I can... usually with a fly rod in my hand. I've been fortunate to fish in some amazing places and meet more amazing people. I also recently got a smoker and working on perfecting my brisket-- got a long way to go before I enter any competitions.