Outdoors - Hunting and Fishing

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Anglers excited for Lake Powell migration

By Dave Buchanan

If some of the birding reports are correct, migration this year already is under way, with hummingbirds showing up in South Carolina and bluebirds in western Colorado. Another sort of migration is about to start, as well. These mild days of late winter make anglers eager for a migration west to Lake Powell. Although the high-desert weather continues to fluctuate between winter and spring, it is trending more and more to spring, which means warmer days and fish getting more active as ...

Three men in trouble for mule-deer poaching

By Dave Buchanan

Two Texas men and a Norwood resident paid hefty fines and two of them face losing their fishing and hunting privileges after admitting guilt in a mule-deer poaching incident in western Montrose County. According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Nathan E. Wilson, 30, of Norwood; Weldon. R. Kavecki, 65, of Throckmorton, Texas; and Timothy Taylor, 69, of Euless, Texas, confessed to illegally killing in early December two mule-deer bucks in a remote area known as Pony Draw south of Dry Creek ...


52 rivers. 52 weeks.

By Dave Buchanan

In her career as a librarian, Shelley Walchak spent countless hours fishing through library stacks. Now retired and her libraries behind her, she is spending the first year of her second life fishing 52 rivers in 52 weeks. The year-long trip began in January and this week finds her on the South Platte River, next week on the Flaming Gorge stretch of the Green River, following that she’s at Paco-Chu-Puk on the Uncompahgre and, well, you get the drift. Shelley said her initial ...


Ice fishing at Stagecoach State Park

By Dave Buchanan

In what may be the last hurrah for the 2013 ice-fishing season, Stagecoach State Park and Steamboat Springs guide and outfitter Steamboat Great Outdoors are hosting an ice-fishing tournament Sunday at Stagecoach Reservoir. The tourney runs from 
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a limit of 200 adult entries (50 youth anglers). All entrants ages 16 and 17 are required to show proof of age. Adult contestants must accompany entrants under age 13. Entry fee is $25 before Sunday, $30 on the day of ...

Battling the cold is a big part of fishing challenge

By Dave Buchanan

Shelley Walchak’s quest to fish 52 rivers in 52 weeks demanded finding open water even in the coldest months, and open water in the winter is most assured below dams. That is why she recently spent several nose-nipping days fishing the tailwaters of the Williams Fork River when it was minus-11 degrees and the Taylor and Fryingpan rivers at not much warmer. Her days on the Taylor and Fryingpan were shared with her friends Pat and Carol Oglesby of Grand Junction, whom she met at a ...

San Luis Valley reservoir to see dam repairs

By Staff

Colorado Parks and Wildlife will start a two-year construction project this summer to repair the dam at Beaver Creek Reservoir, located about 5 miles south of South Fork in the San Luis Valley. A Parks and Wildlife spokesman said the 4,400-acre-foot reservoir will be re-filled by summer of 2015 if the repair work is successful. Fishing at the reservoir will be allowed this summer but the work will require completely draining the reservoir in 2014. No fish have been stocked at the ...

Dorsey to serve as Southwest Region manager for CPW

By Dave Buchanan

A Colorado native and longtime wildlife officer has been selected manager of the Southwest Region for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Patt Dorsey, who began her career with Parks and Wildlife in 1991 as a district wildlife manager in Boulder, was selected to the Southwest regional position Feb. 1 by Parks and Wildlife director Rick Cables. She has been the district wildlife manager in Durango since 2003. The new job comes less than a month after Dorsey was selected the 2012 Wildlife ...


Winter fishing can 
mean real big catch

By Dave Buchanan

Winter fishing, particularly in a winter like this with a deep freeze gripping western Colorado like a too-small hat, is a tale of two waters. The first is Lake Powell, that immense reservoir three hours west where most of us venture only during the other three seasons of the year. The other waters are those smaller, popsicle-like rivers hiding under a glacial mantle of ice and snow. The benefit of Lake Powell is that it rarely freezes, and with January temperatures reaching into the ...


High habitats

By Dave Buchanan

In those winters when snow piles up to the eaves and fences are hidden by billowing drifts, wildlife managers gird for the time when forage finally runs out and some sort of alternative feeding plan is improvised for deer and elk. This winter, even though bone-racking cold is sweeping across much of Colorado’s prime habitat and range, much of the high country has a less-than-generous cover of snow, and wildlife managers face a different problem. Most wildlife managers take the lack ...


Camaraderie and cash

By Dave Buchanan

The angling run on Colorado’s ice gets serious this month, led by the 15th Annual Mountain Air Mechanical Ice Fishing Tournament set for Jan. 19–20 at Rifle Gap State Park. This is one of Colorado’s top ice-fishing tournaments, attracting upwards of 400 anglers vying for the chance to win $20,000 in cash in addition to cash prizes for longest fish in several categories. And this year there is plenty of ice on Rifle Gap Reservoir (10 inches reported last week) to ...


As cool as ice

By Dave Buchanan

On this dawn of a new year, anglers of the hardwater persuasion may celebrate: Reports from around the region tell of ice at Crawford, Vega and Rifle Gap reservoirs. It may not be much, and maybe it’s just enough to walk on, but it’s there. “We’ve had several anglers out on the ice at both Rifle Gap and Harvey Gap,” Rifle Gap State Park manager Aaron Fero said Monday. “We never say it’s safe, but people are finding enough ice to be ...


Getting into ice fishing not as hard as it used to be

By Dave Buchanan

Sure, it’s popular, you can tell all those ice-fishing naysayers. According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, almost 25 percent of all Colorado anglers wet lines through the ice between December and late February. That came from the 2004 Statewide Angler Survey, so one can only imagine that in the ensuing years the number has increased. Advances in winter clothing, specialized ice-fishing gear and the proliferation of underwater cameras and fish-finding sonars have made ice fishing ...


Check out Fly Fishing show in Denver at Merchandise Mart

By Dave Buchanan

It’s icy winter in western Colorado, but somewhere the sky is blue, the water is warm and the fish are big, toothy and hungry. You can find that place, and a way to get there, at the Denver Fly Fishing Show this weekend at the Merchandise Mart. There are guides, boats, equipment, the International Fly Fishing Film Festival on Friday and more. Promise Santa you’ll be good this year, too. WHAT: The Denver Fly Fishing Show. WHERE: The Merchandise Mart, 451 East 58th Ave., ...


Animals hard to find this hunting season in western Colorado

By Dave Buchanan

It didn’t take long for hunters this fall to realize something was different. Reports from hunters across the Western Slope said animals were hard to find, even in places where abundant elk and deer are expected. “Where we hunted on Grand Mesa, I don’t think anyone killed an elk,” said Grand Junction taxidermist Darryl Powell. “We hunted hard all season but it wasn’t until late on the last day we saw a couple of cows.” Similar stories were heard ...


Sportsmen, Forest Service nail illegal ATV use

By Staff

A national sportsman’s conservation group has paid a $500 reward to an Idaho bear hunter who provided the information game wardens needed to cite hunters using all-terrain vehicles in habitat protected from motorized traffic. Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is a national group of outdoorsmen and women who value hunting and fishing in the peace and quiet of natural conditions, said Holly Endersby, BHA acting director who lives in Pollock, Idaho, in announcing the reward. The case ...


Biologists evaluating wildlife from the sky

By Dave Buchanan

Less than a month after the end of the regular big-game hunting season, biologists from Colorado Parks and Wildlife are up in the air. They aren’t being indecisive; instead, they are taking to helicopters to count elk, deer and antelope herds. It’s a yearly task and these aerial wildlife censuses are key to herd management, including the allocation of licenses and noting how drought, development and other factors have affected animal movement and distribution. Getting an ...


Wolf hunting closed

By Dave Buchanan

Montana wildlife commissioners have closed a wolf-hunting season north of Yellowstone National Park after several radio-collar-wearing gray wolves were legally killed by hunters. The commissioners voted 4–1 to approve the closures, which shuts down hunting and trapping in areas east and west of Gardiner on the north boundary of Yellowstone National Park. Reports say at least seven of Yellowstone’s estimated 88 wolves have been shot by hunters outside the park. That includes ...


Fishing season on thin ice

By Dave Buchanan

Pretend you’re a suffering ice angler taking the 12-step 
ice-free diet. Only you don’t have to pretend. This week’s ice-fishing report has virtually no ice to report. A few numbers of interest to anglers looking for some ice to drill – Blue Mesa, 38; Vega State Park, 31; Crawford State Park, 41. Those are temperatures as of 9 a.m. Monday, not the ice thickness. Asking about ice thickness, or even the possible presence of the elusive substance, brings a ...

BLM announces winter road closures to protect wildlife

By Staff

Beginning Saturday, the Grand Junction Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management will close a handful of roads for the winter to protect big-game herds. A BLM spokesperson said Wednesday the seasonal closure affects specific BLM roads from Dec. 1 through May 1. The annual closures protect critical big-game winter range and other sensitive areas as well as prevent road damage during poor driving conditions. The closure includes: Blue Mesa, Beehive, Chalk Mountain, Grand Mesa Slopes at ...


Construction of fish screen would benefit Rifle Gap

By Dave Buchanan

An expanded fishery at Rifle Gap Reservoir got another step closer when Colorado Parks and Wildlife recently began construction of a fish screen in Rifle Creek below the reservoir. The screen, which is expected to be operational by next spring, will prevent non-native fish that may escape the reservoir from going down Rifle Creek to the Colorado River where the non-native fishes might harm native fishes. It’s all part of the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery program and ...

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