Outdoors - Hunting and Fishing

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The last hook

By Dave Buchanan

Iron-gray clouds and water the same color, the latter made even more obscure by a quick breeze from the southwest, greeted angler Dan Wieckert when he arrived Monday morning at Kitson Reservoir on Grand Mesa. Wieckert, however, had driven his pickup camper nearly 2,000 miles from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, so a little wind wasn’t about to stop him from fishing. “It’s my first time in Colorado, I usually head to Montana,” said Wieckert, an IT specialist back home. ...


Arkansas River receives Gold Medal designation

By Dave Buchanan

Colorado’s newest entry in the list of Gold Medal waters is a stretch of the upper Arkansas River downstream from Leadville. Part of the river already carried Gold Medal designation and this newest reach brings the total on the Arkansas to 102 miles, stretching from the confluence with the Lake Fork of the Arkansas River, near Leadville, downstream to Parkdale at the U.S. Highway 50 bridge above the Royal Gorge. No fishing regulations were changed when the river was designated Gold ...


Shad populations at Lake Powell nearing decade peak

By Dave Buchanan

The fishing enigma we know as Lake Powell is offering another puzzle for anglers to solve. The fishing food chain at Lake Powell relies on shad, which in the past few years have been (compared to other years) in relatively short supply. Low water, lack of spawning areas — the reasons for the shad shortfall were several. Although this meant the top-line predators, particularly stripe bass, suffered a bit in size and weight, it made fishing a bit easier because anglers found less ...

Feasting on leftovers – 20,000 tags still available

By Dave Buchanan

When you’re hungry, leftovers may be the best option you have. Particularly when it comes to big-game hunting licenses. Hunters with an appetite for a 2014 hunting license still can take advantage of the estimated 20,000 leftover big-game and turkey licenses available, officials from Colorado Parks and Wildlife said. These licenses include pronghorn, elk, bear, deer and turkey licenses as well as over-the-counter elk tags. With more than 23 million acres of public lands, ...


Waterfowl framework ready to go

By Dave Buchanan

Waterfowl hunters will enjoy a 107-day season this fall after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed liberal hunting season lengths and bag limits for the upcoming 2014-15 late waterfowl seasons. The various states will select their individual seasons from within the federal frameworks that establish the earliest beginning and latest ending dates and the maximum season length and bag limits. According to the Fish & Wildlife Service’s 2014 Waterfowl Population Status ...

Get ready for elk season with class

By Dave Buchanan

Cooler mornings and changing weather signal hunting seasons are approaching quickly. Eager hunters are preparing themselves and their equipment in anticipation of one of the most exciting times of the year for sportsmen and sportswomen. As part of Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s continuing efforts to help hunters have a safe and successful season, the agency and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will offer a one-evening only “Elk Hunting 101” class from 6-9 p.m. on Aug. ...

Tons of hunting licenses still available despite record day

By Dave Buchanan

Colorado Parks and Wildlife survived a computer-system crash during the early hours of its big-game license sales Tuesday, but it had to halt sales for three hours. According to a Parks and Wildlife spokesman, an unprecedented volume of hunters purchasing various tags caused stress on the system and forced agency officials to halt sales statewide. As sales resumed at noon Tuesday, a record number of licenses were sold by 2 p.m. and continued to grow. The licenses being sold included ...


No drone zone

By Matt Meyer

Early in the morning, a buck grazes on a grassy hillside, dew gathering on his antlers. It’s a scene so picturesque, you can almost hear soft music swelling behind it. Then, the soft buzzing noise of fans. A small drone, mounted with a GoPro camera, zips high above the hillside. Moments later, a short whine of truck brakes sounds in the distance, and a hunter dutifully dawdles into view. He takes a shot from 100 yards, tags and cleans his kill, and is done in less than an hour. ...


Hunters in Colorado grateful for public land

By Dave Buchanan

This might give you one more reason to be thankful for living in a state where more than one-third of the land is public. The latest survey from Southwick Associates asked hunters where they hunted most often during the past 12 months, and roughly two-thirds of the respondents (66 percent) said private property. Only about one-third (30 percent) said they used public lands the majority of the time. This included hunters from every state, many of which have much less (and in some cases, ...

Leftover licenses available

By Dave Buchanan

Leftover and over-the-counter big-game hunting licenses go on sale Aug. 5 and with plenty of licenses on the block, now is the time to make a decision. A list of the approximately 6,000 deer, 30,000 elk, 5,000 pronghorn and 1,800 bear licenses available for the fall hunting seasons can be found on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website, cpw.state.co.us. Sales begin at 9 a.m. on Aug. 5, and once started, the list will be updated every 15 minutes. This year is the first time both ...


When up is down

By Dave Buchanan

Midsummer in Grand Junction. Heat, heat and more heat. Not like the popcorn-dry swelter of the Sonoran desert, where Abbey is said to be buried amidst the saguaro cactus and naked rocks, and where it’s so dry the trees are whistling at dogs, but more the kind of heat that recalls author Kristin Hannah’s novel “Summer Island,” where “The heat made people crazy. They woke from their damp bedsheets and went in search of a glass of water, surprised to find that ...


The Hatch is here

By Dave Buchanan

Pause for a minute or two during your busy days and make a list of the bugs of summer. Mosquitoes, wasps, houseflies, deerflies, various spiders, ants, beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, horseflies and ticks. And that’s just for starters. Note how most of this list might also fall under the general heading of “pests.” Now, ask any fly angler to name the bugs of summer and the list may be much shorter. Green Drakes, grasshoppers, Green Drakes, stoneflies, Green Drakes, ...


Powell at summertime high in elevation and fishing success

By Dave Buchanan

With the summer fishing season nearing its mid-point, Lake Powell has topped out at 3,609 feet in elevation and will soon begin its annual decline. That’s the latest word from Utah fisheries biologist Wayne Gustaveson on his Lake Powell fishing site, wayneswords.com. What the rest of the summer will bring is steady fishing success and pristine beaches, Gustaveson said. “The bright side of this picture is that brush and drift-wood cluttered camping and recreational beaches ...


The thin blue line

By Dave Buchanan

The small stuff. We hear about it several times in our lives, mostly as in “Don’t sweat …” It comes almost as a barb, a bit of smack talk for something that should exist unnoticed, below our threshold of attention. But instead of disregarding that advice, now is the time when anglers should do just the opposite. Big rivers are OK, and it’s unlikely you’ll ever see a movie called “A Trickle Runs Through It,” but summer and small-stream ...


Small streams feature plenty of fish, just not as big

By Dave Buchanan

In a world that glorifies bigness, small streams stand out if only for the very lack of that. Stories abound of 100-fish days, 22-inch browns, 100-foot casts ­— ad infinitum. It’s not bad to catch 100 fish in a day, or to gloat over out-muscling a 24-inch brown trout fought to exhaustion or being able to cast 100-feet when 90 percent of the fish you’re going to catch are within 30 feet. Is it? Small streams have, in a condensed sort of way, all of the ...

Learning to hunt deer starts here

By Dave Buchanan

Colorado remains one of the West’s premier deer-hunting destinations, whether you’re a veteran hunter or someone just entering the ranks. But wildlife managers know one major reason for people not hunting is a lack of qualified mentors sharing the finer points of hunting. That’s where Mule Deer Hunting 101 comes in. The class is hosted by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Colorado Mule Deer Association and is targeted toward inexperienced or novice hunters without a ...


Novice programs aimed at youth, female hunters

By Dave Buchanan

Novice hunters and anglers, specifically women and youth, are invited to register for Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Hunter Outreach Program. The program provides guidance and mentoring to novice women and youth hunters through various clinics, workshops and private-land hunts designed to introduce the knowledge, skills, ethics and traditions of hunting. The registration deadline for “Women Afield” and the “Youth Hunting” programs and the hunts planned for ...


Quest for 52 rivers finds fishing only part of the benefits

By Dave Buchanan

When we last touched base with Denver writer, photographer and fly fisher Shelley Walchak, she was fresh from a mid-January fishing trip to the Taylor River north of Gunnison. Anyone familiar with the Gunnison country in winter knows there is more to this story, and suffice it to say that trip, with its waist-deep snow and high temperature of minus-10 degrees, will long stay in Walchak’s memory. At the time, Walchak was fresh into her quest to fish 52 different rivers in seven ...


Weather is hot, fishing is hotter at Lake Powell

By Dave Buchanan

The water is boiling at Lake Powell, but not simply because it’s nearly 100 degrees at the southern Utah reservoir. The water is churning because stripers finally are boiling, feeding on maturing shad and settling into an random feeding schedule of small slurps early and late in the day mixed with larger boils during the day. That’s the latest word from Utah Fisheries biologist Wayne Gustaveson on his Lake Powell fishing website http://www.wayneswords.com. “It is ...


Colorado Mesa bass fishing duo takes big prize in Oklahoma

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Josh Worth and Kennedy Kinkade had never competed in a bass fishing tournament. The first time they did, the Colorado Mesa University students slayed the giants. The bass fishing duo, who grew up fishing on small ponds in Colorado and Utah, captured the FLW College Fishing Southern Conference tournament title a week ago on Grand Lake near Monkey Island, Oklahoma, against the best collegiate competition in bass fishing country. “If you look at the schools we were up against, ...

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