Outdoors - Hunting and Fishing

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Ice-fishing tournaments to heat up your winter

By Dave Buchanan

Grand County is anticipating a cold winter, which is a sign to hardwater anglers that fishing is just heating up. Already on the county’s lineup for getting through the winter months are three of the state’s top ice-fishing tournaments. Start with the 27th Annual Three Lakes Ice Fishing Contest from Jan. 23-25 on Lake Granby, Shadow Mountain Reservoir and Grand Lake; sled over to the 18th Annual Wolford Reservoir Ice Fishing Contest on Feb. 21 near Kremmling; and finish the ...


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Living a fishing dream

By Dave Buchanan

A fly angler’s mid-winter dream might include any or all of the following: A sky blue as a baby’s eyes, water flowing around your knees, no other anglers to crowd you, and a 20-inch brown trout, nose high, sipping tiny dry flies in the current. It’s enough to make an angler pinch himself to see if he’s if he’s still haunted by sugar-plum fairies. Places such as this are rare as unicorns during the summer months, but in the winter the chances are better than ...


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Waterfowl hunters may have to pay a little more for stamps next year

By Dave Buchanan

When Will Ela of Hotchkiss and countless other waterfowl hunters across the nation buy their next Federal Waterfowl Stamp, the price likely will have increased by $10 over this year’s $15. The U.S. Senate this week passed legislation passed this week authorizing the price increase, the first since 1991, and now the bill only has to be signed by President Barack Obama to become law as of Jan. 1. The 67-percent increase is an effort to increase funds for wetlands habitat ...


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On Gunnison: It’s personal

By Dave Buchanan

On a warm, late-November afternoon, with a declining sun casting long rays across the Gunnison River, a visitor found the river uncommonly deserted. The anglers one would expect to see upstream of the Pleasure Park on a sunny day were absent, perhaps victims of a turkey-and-all-the-trimmings overload two days prior, or maybe they were busy succumbing to the temptations of Black Friday marketing. For several reasons, late-fall fishing on the Gunnison is never as crowded as in the warmer ...


Some options for bullets

By Dave Buchanan

Of the possible alternatives to lead bullets, solid copper or copper/zinc (95/5) alloys are the leading contenders. Two hurdles in adopting non-lead bullets are the availability and cost of copper bullets. A brief and nonscientific survey of local sporting goods stores showed few selections other than the traditional lead bullets. Store personnel often had to look around to find the nonlead bullets, indicative of the lack of demand from customers. Plus, in all cases there were only two ...


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Studies, reports fuel arguments for lead-bullet bans

By Dave Buchanan

It’s been nearly a quarter of a century since waterfowl hunters railed against a proposed ban on lead shot even though studies showed waterfowl and other species were being unintentionally poisoned by consuming spent shot. According to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service study published in 2000, the 1991 ban on lead shot reduced lead poisoning deaths of Mississippi Flyway mallards by 64 percent, and overall ingestion of toxic pellets declined by 78 percent over previous levels. The ...


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Not taking the lead — yet

By Dave Buchanan

The chorus of voices seeking a ban on lead-based ammunition fell flat in Colorado. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife commission voted Thursday not to move forward on a citizen-raised proposal to prohibit lead ammunition for big-game hunting in Colorado. The commission killed the petition after citing a “lack of credible scientific evidence” as to the long-term impacts of spent lead to wildlife, along with a strong lack of support from the agency itself and concern about ...


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Solitary confinement

By Staff

We were mostly by ourselves, sort of like being voluntarily confined to a river of trout. Not questioning why there were not more volunteers for this duty, my next cast laid out the fly line, which took the drift against the far bank, where the most current was and the darkest water. A midday sipper mistook my imitation for an invite and a soft lift spoke of resistance. Considering there is a good road next to a good river, this is somewhat amazing. But then, when you consider the ...


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A taste of Yellowstone

By Staff

Anywhere there is a cold-water stream in the United States, either natural or sometimes artificial, you will likely find trout. Eastern streams are famous for the early fly-fishing history of the United States and difficult hatch-matching days. Western streams are legendary for vastness and public access. Some waters are navigable, some are little more than creeks. Some are historic, some are tourist famous. Some are backcountry quiet, some are raging spring torrents. Some are natural, ...


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Good news for Rio Grande

By Dave Buchanan

A multi-pronged effort to save remaining populations of Rio Grande cutthroat trout has paid dividends. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced earlier this month that the Rio Grande cutthroat trout, one of three remaining native trout species in Colorado, has recovered to the point the fish no longer needs the protection of the Endangered Species List. The news doesn’t mean the fish completely is out of danger but it illustrates the success of a multi-pronged conservation ...


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Taking a look at the range of Rio Grand cutthroat trout

By Dave Buchanan

In 2008, the recovery of Rio Grande cutthroat trout was stymied by this fact: Only 57 percent of streams then holding the disappearing fish were considered good habitat. A study of Rio Grande cutt habitat by John Alves, Southwest Senior Aquatic Biologist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife and a member of Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout Conservation Team, sparked some interest in a handful of anglers who figured if the fish was on the verge of disappearing, maybe they should catch one, just to say ...


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The perfect ‘shot’

By Dave Buchanan

It’s the moment you’ve dreamt of for years ­— You’ve just taken the shot of a lifetime and the trophy of a lifetime is on the ground. Now, you’re faced with the second most-important shot of your life. This time, however, it’s with your camera. The saying “Without a photo, it didn’t happen” never rings more true than when you are recording that all-important trophy. Umm, you are carrying a camera this hunting season, ...


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Rainy cold front mixes things up at Lake Powell

By Wayne Gustaveson

PAGE, ARIZ. — Stripers just blew the hot-water lid off Lake Powell. The long, hot summer that kept the surface temperature above 80 degrees ended this past weekend with the arrival of a rainy cold front. Now, instead of daytime air temperatures reaching 90 degrees, the temperature is a much more comfortable 70 degrees. Morning air temperature is in the 50s. The cooler surface temperature is what the stripers have been waiting for. We put on our coats and headed out at first ...


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It’s a great time to check out Lake Powell’s striper boils

By Wayne Gustaveson

PAGE, Ariz. — Fishing is improving over the length of the lake as fisheries respond to improved habitat and forage. With water levels rebounding and spawning habitat returning, a new generation of bass and stripers is responding to the resurgence in lake conditions. More striper boils are seen each day, and bass are being caught with more regularity. The best locations in the southern lake include the main channel near the mouth of Navajo Canyon, Gunsight Canyon main channel, Last ...


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Commission approves offering Apprentice Hunter program

By Dave Buchanan

A proposal to allow youths 10 years and older to hunt one time without taking a hunter education course was adopted Thursday by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife commission. The Apprentice License would be a one-time waiver of the state’s current hunter education requirement, which says anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1949 must pass a state-approved Hunter Education course. The young hunters would be required to take an online pre-hunt survey and hunt accompanied by a mentor 18 or ...


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Staying the course

By Dave Buchanan

Taking the approach that “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it,” the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission on Friday agreed to take a hands-off approach to the current big-game license allocation process. “In essence, we concluded we’re in a better position to stick with the status quo in terms of how we are allocating the overall big game tags, particularly elk,” said commission chair Bill Kane of Basalt during Friday’s meeting in Glenwood ...


Meeker ranch to open for public hunters

By Dave Buchanan

A handful of big-game hunters this fall will get the rare opportunity for a free, private-land deer or elk hunt near Meeker. The hunts are arranged by Colorado Parks and Wildlife on the Miller Ranch in game management unit 23 as part of a deal establishing a perpetual conservation agreement on the 3,100-acre ranch. The agreement required allowing limited public hunting access. The 10 hunts — mostly cow elk and doe deer, with one bull elk hunt — are open to all eligible ...


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Knowing when to measure or release ‘such a mind game’

By Dave Buchanan

Leaning against the wooden counter that dominates the pocket-sized shop housing Almont Anglers, guide and shop owner Mark Day commented on how fishing can be baffling. Not all fishing, mind you — although some anglers are quick to dispute that — but certainly the test of the Gunnison Angling Society’s Superfly, a one-day contest in which anglers are limited to, among other restrictions, pre-selected flies, pre-selected waters and a strict time limit. “It’s ...


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Catch and release

By Dave Buchanan

ALMONT — Despite the background chuckle of a nearly full East River, an anguished cry could be heard from an angler knee-deep in the September flows. “Oh, I hope he gets off,” pleaded Joel Evans of Montrose, as he watched his fly line jump and dance from the efforts of the 8-inch rainbow stuck securely to Evans’ fly. Evans gingerly released a bit more line and suddenly the fish, one second hooked and the next second gone, became a forgettable memory. “He ...


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Threadfin shad having banner year at Lake Powell

By Dave Buchanan

When longtime Lake Powell fisheries biologist Wayne Gustaveson looks back on the the 2014 fishing year, he might be thankful for a silvery little fish that sustains the lake’s entire food pyramid. Threadfin shad are having a banner year after several years of decline, Gustaveson said in the latest of his weekly Lake Powell fishing reports, and anglers around the lake are reaping the benefits. “It has been a rough couple of years with the declining lake level, loss of habitat ...


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