Founded in 1969, Colorado TU is the state’s leading non-profit, non-partisan organization providing a voice for Colorado’s rivers.

As Colorado's financially self-sustaining, grassroots arm of the national organization Trout Unlimited, Colorado TU is independently governed by a 44-member volunteer board including the presidents of our 24 local chapters across Colorado.

Colorado TU leverages the power of its 11,000 members  who contribute approximately 44,000 volunteer hours annually to restoration, education and other local conservation projects, equivalent to the power of 22 full-time employees.

Our vision is simple – by the next generation, Colorado TU will ensure that robust populations of native and wild coldwater fish once again thrive within their original Colorado range so that our children can enjoy healthy fisheries in their home waters.

Our Mission

Colorado Trout Unlimited works to conserve, protect and restore Colorado’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds. As the grassroots arm of our parent organization, Trout Unlimited, we use cooperation, collaboration, advocacy and education to promote conservation.


Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.
— Norman Maclean

Colorado TU works to:

  • Protect high quality habitat for native and wild coldwater fish and to maintain free flowing rivers;

  • Reconnect fragmented fish populations and habitats by restoring flows to dewatered rivers and re-opening fish passage;

  • Restore watersheds by working in collaboration with other conservation and governmental organizations, as well as private landowners, to preserve and improve the quality of habitats that support coldwater fish;

  • Sustain the efforts of our volunteers and supporters by inspiring a strong conservation ethic in the next generation of river stewards.

 

MilestoneS in Colorado TU history:

  • 1969: The Colorado Council of Trout Unlimited holds its inaugural meeting in Vail.

  • 1973: The Colorado General Assembly passes the Instream Flow law - recognizing water left in streams for fish and the environment as a “beneficial use” under state water law.

  • 1983: The Colorado Wildlife Commission adopts its first wild trout policy, establishing more than 200 miles of “Wild Trout” water.

 Two Forks Dam would have inundated the South Platte River's gold medal fishery; TU and its allies helped secure EPA's veto of the project in 1990.

Two Forks Dam would have inundated the South Platte River's gold medal fishery; TU and its allies helped secure EPA's veto of the project in 1990.

  • 1990: EPA Administrator William Reilly vetoes the Two Forks Dam permit, citing “unacceptable adverse effects” to the South Platte.

  • 2000: After nearly 13 years of debate, the Colorado Wildlife Commission bans the stocking of fish exposed to whirling disease into trout waters. Moving forward, Colorado TU helps the Division of Wildlife secure more than $11 million in appropriations to clean up and modernize its hatcheries.

  • 2003: Colorado TU and its grassroots help defeat Referendum A, a proposal that would have the state bond $2 billion for unspecified water projects. The Referendum goes down to defeat not only statewide but in every single county of Colorado.

  • 2004: The landmark South Platte Protection Plan is adopted, securing minimum flow and stream temperature commitments on the South Platte in Elevenmile and Cheesman Canyons, an endowment for projects to benefit the river’s unique values, and a moratorium on efforts to pursue a smaller, revived Two Forks dam.

  • 2004: TU’s Colorado Water Project stops the proposed AB Lateral hydroelectric plant which would have diverted huge volumes of water from the Gunnison River in the Black Canyon.

 Colorado TU's youth conservation and fly fishing camp has connected kids to watershed science and fishing since 2006.

Colorado TU's youth conservation and fly fishing camp has connected kids to watershed science and fishing since 2006.

  • 2006: Colorado TU and its Boulder Flycasters chapter work with Team USA Fly Fishing to host the first National Fly Fishing Championships.

  • 2006: Colorado TU holds its first youth conservation and fly fishing camp, providing a week of in-depth, hand-on learning for 20 high-school age youth. The camp is still going strong!

  • 2012: West slope and conservation interests reach agreement with Northern Water on a package of river protections under its proposed Windy Gap Firming Project – including support for building the “Windy Gap Bypass” to reconnect the Colorado River around the reservoir. Millions of dollars have since been secured toward the bypass construction costs.

 In 2014, TU and local partners secured passage of legislation making Hermosa Creek the first Congressionally-designated "watershed protection area."

In 2014, TU and local partners secured passage of legislation making Hermosa Creek the first Congressionally-designated "watershed protection area."

  • 2014: Congress passes the Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act – the first bill of its kind to permanently protect an entire watershed in order to conserve its natural resources, including native trout.

  • 2017: Colorado TU, the US Forest Service, and Water Supply and Storage Company reach a settlement agreement under which WSSC established a $1.25 million trust to fund Colorado’s largest-ever native trout restoration program, spanning 40+ miles of the Cache la Poudre headwaters.