Outdoors - Hunting and Fishing

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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 ...


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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 ...


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Colorado Mesa bass fishing duo takes big prize in Oklahoma

By Allen Gemaehlich

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, ...


Share what you know: Every hunt has a story

By Staff

The paint is still wet on the first day of summer, and already it’s time to think about the fall hunt. With less than six weeks before the opening day of archery season, it’s also time for you to think about all of those unforgettable hunts you’ve enjoyed and how much you want to share those stories with other hunt lovers. I mean, you do want to share them, don’t you? The annual Colorado Hunter magazine will hit the stands in late July, and we are looking for ...


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Damselfly delight

By Dave Buchanan

Coming soon to a lake near you: Matchstick-thin blue fairies dancing a jig, luring hungry trout like the Sirens luring lonely sailors. Well, no, they aren’t really fairies, but unlike the Sirens, this isn’t a myth. Each spring, anglers regale in the first appearance of damselflies and the trout that eat them. Damselflies, closely related to dragonflies but slimmer and perched with their wings folded along the body instead out to the sides, are among the first of the top-water ...


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Paying his dues

By Dave Buchanan

According to the Ford Motor Company, a 2015 Ford F-150 pickup is 79.9 inches wide. Which means Mike Ashcraft on Saturday caught enough inches of carp to stretch across an F-150’s front seat and still have 18 inches hanging out both doors. Ashcraft, who works for Elkhorn Construction and sounds like a totally sane angler in all other respects, spent Saturday competing with 32 other anglers in Carpocalypse 2014, the second catch-and-release, fly fishing-only carp tournament sponsored ...


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Trophy striper lends itself to research at Lake Powell

By Dave Buchanan

A chance encounter with a dying striper at Lake Powell has helped fisheries biologists better understand the life cycles of that lake’s biggest fish. According to Utah Lake Powell fisheries biologist Wayne Gustaveson, he received a call at his office in Page, Arizona, early last Saturday about a big striper being caught at the mouth of Warm Creek in the southern end of the lake. When Gustaveson arrived, he found Adam Jones and Deborah Williams (no hometowns given) holding a dead ...


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Ready for the Carpocalypse

By Dave Buchanan

Except for the southwest corner of the state, where most of the snowpack (such as it was again this year) has melted, there still remains a few weeks between runoff and clear water. That’s OK with a handful of local anglers who know their biggest fish of the year is catchable now, within a 10-minute drive from home. “Man, that’s why I love carp,” fishing guide Justin Edge said when I caught up with him last week at Connected Lakes. “These fish are some of ...


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What you need to know before going carp fishing

By Dave Buchanan

Under the general heading of “Know Before You Go,” having at least some idea of how and where to catch carp will be of service prior to Saturday’s Carpocalypse 2014. This is the one-day carp-only fly fishing tournament held on waters around the Grand Valley and sponsored by Western Anglers Fly Shop and Edgewater Brewery. You can register up to Saturday morning at the shop (413 Main St., 244-8658) or online at www. westernanglers.com. Much has changed in the world of ...


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Local lakes offer some of best fishing despite conditions

By Dave Buchanan

With streams and river at high tide throughout the state, an angler eager to scratch the fishing itch needs look no further than the local lakes. Although the conditions may not be perfect, nearly every pond or lake in the Grand Valley right now offers the chance of catching your biggest freshwater fish of the year. And what’s better, you can win prizes, get T-shirts and enjoy an adult malted beverage or two, courtesy of Edgewater Brewery and Western Anglers Fly Shop. That’s ...


Hurry up! Get out there and enjoy Free Fishing Weekend

By Dave Buchanan

Check the calendar. This is Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Free Fishing Weekend, so what are you doing at home? Oh, don’t let a little (OK, a lot) of water put you off your game. If you look, there is someplace just for you, which for the moment means fishing a lake or dam-controlled river. You just have to figure out where and how. “The river is ripping right now, so the rafting is pretty hot,” said Mark Mohney at Willowfly Anglers, 970-641-1303, in Almont, ...


Keeping a keen eye on the Colorado River

By Dave Buchanan

Only a fish watches the Colorado River closer than angling guide Jack Bombardier. Bombardier and his wife, Terena, live in and work out of their home a double-haul from the Colorado, a few miles downstream of Burns. A double-haul, that is, when the river isn’t advancing up the front lawn at full gallop, driven by advancing snowmelt. Bombardier (http://www.confluencecasting.com, 970-524-1440) recently shared a few thoughts on spring along the Colorado River from his entertaining ...


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Jack on the rocks

By Dave Buchanan

DOTSERO – Like most fishing guides, Jack Bombardier has an array of photos on his website showing clients catching fish. This month, however, it’s not fish Bombardier wants to catch. He’s hoping to snag the fishing dock that Bombardier last saw sitting a few yards in front of his house a few miles upstream of Dotsero. That was before the runoff-charged waters of the Colorado River swept over the dock, on which Bombardier earlier piled a load of large rocks to hold it ...


Big Sky Open attracts archers

By Dave Buchanan

Archers from around the U.S. will descend upon Grand Junction from June 13-15 for the 34th Big Sky Archery Open at the DoubleTree Hotel. The $20,000 Open is hosted by a small group of target archers and endorsed by the Grand Mesa Bowmen. The Big Sky Open is a three-day target tournament that draws both professional and amateur archers, including some of the best-known names in archery. All compete on the same field, featuring an outdoor V-Formation format shooting from 20 to 65 yards ...


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Remember Rapala as National Fishing Week begins

By Dave Buchanan

The story of what probably is the world’s No. 1-fished lure began nearly 80 years ago with a simple observation by Finnish angler Lauri Rapala. In 1936, while fishing the waters of Finland’s Lake Paijanne, Rapala was struck by one obvious yet up-to-then unremarked fact: Big fish eat little fish, particularly the wounded ones. As the Finnish angler went about his day, he noticed how, again and again, predator fish would dart into a school of minnows and attack the one that ...


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Free fishing weekend is June 7-8

By Dave Buchanan

The next best thing to going fishing is going fishing for free. All of you would-be anglers a little short of cash can get a free fishing fix June 7-8, Colorado’s Free Fishing Weekend. Don’t just take Mr. Outside’s word for it; Colorado Parks and Wildlife is offering two days of no-fee, no-license fishing. “Colorado certainly offers tremendous fishing opportunities,” Parks and Wildlife’s Aquatic Section Manager Greg Gerlich said. “However, we ...


Rising water levels and temps good omens for Lake Powell

By Dave Buchanan

If you haven’t been looking, Lake Powell is rising. The elevation as of Thursday was 3,583 feet (full is considered 3,700 feet) and going up about six inches per day. It’s the highest Lake Powell has been in six months, and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources fisheries biologist Wayne Gustaveson says the “lake looks refreshed” with water covering previously bare shoreline vegetation. “The rejuvenation is needed as low water over the past two years has ...


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Early season fishing

By Dave Buchanan

An impulsive stop Monday at Mogensen Ponds State Fishing Area along Plateau Creek proved to be unexpectedly fruitful. I saw Jess McElroy of Grand Junction fishing at the upper pond and pulled in, waiting 20 minutes or so until he was walking out before asking how he had done. “Well, I caught a 15-inch bass and a few bluegill,” said McElroy, admitting it was the first time he had stopped at the 11-acre fishing area. “This is the first time I’ve fished here, and I ...


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Destination: Pelican Lake

By Staff

As this is being written, another winter storm is moving across the high country and rivers everywhere are in seeming disarray from spring runoff. It’s enough to drive an angler to the brink of ... Pelican Lake, about 25 miles southwest of Vernal, Utah. Pelican Lake, so named for the American white pelicans often seen around the impoundment, is a shallow natural lake that was enlarged to hold irrigation water diverted from the Uintah River. It sits on private and public land ...


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Moose news good, 
at least in Colorado

By Dave Buchanan

Colorado is one of the few states where moose are doing well, said state big-game manager Andy Holland during Thursday’s meeting of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife commission. “Because of moose declines elsewhere, we have a lot of demand for our moose season,” he said. Colorado has an estimated 2,250 moose in 39 game-management units. Last year, there were 18,360 applicants vying for the 228 licenses available. This year, the state will offer 250 moose licenses. For ...


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