Outdoors - Hunting and Fishing

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052709 OUT Mal waterfall

Not only an angler’s paradise

By Dave Buchanan

It’s still a mile-plus down Chukar Trail to the Gunnison River — that much hasn’t changed in this writer’s memory. And the voice of the river still starts as a whisper a quarter-mile away and grows to a voice-drowning roar when you finally dip your trail-worn toes into the frigid water. That, too, is the same. And yes, the Gunnison Gorge in the 10 miles or so from Chukar to the Smith Fork remains not only an angler’s paradise but a bird-, wildlife- and ...

Outdoor groups back expanded Clean Water Act

By {screen_name}

Several sporting and conservation groups put a high priority on winning approval of the Clean Water Restoration Act. Trout Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, the Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and the National Wildlife Federation all list the measure, S 787 by Russ Feingold, D-Wis., as a major issue. Opponents say the bill is prelude to a federal government overreach. The bill would expand federal control to all the waters of the United States: interstate waters, intrastate lakes, ...

Battle lines form over travel plan for forest

By Dennis Webb

Bob Elderkin is getting older, and his bad hip, back and knees remind him of it every time he goes hunting. For that reason, you might expect the Silt-area resident to be upset about a proposal to reduce all-terrain-vehicle use in the White River National Forest. Instead, Elderkin bristles over all the ATVs he sees during hunting season. “I think the American is getting so damned soft anymore, if he can’t drive himself and then shoot it, he really doesn’t want it. And ...


OUT: Pelican Lake May 20, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

VERNAL, Utah — John Davis looked down at his feet, where the parched carcass of a bluegill lay mummifying along the sun-drenched banks of Pelican Lake. “Well, sometimes fishing reports aren’t exactly timely, if you know what I mean,” the Salt Lake City angler said. “I watch the weather report instead. We come here every year about this time, and we haven’t been disappointed yet.” Davis, along with fishing buddies Doug Whirl and Rich Williams, ...

OUT Connection column May 20, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

With local rivers on the rise and near-flood stage not so far off, there could be no better time for the annual Mesa County State of the River meeting. Spend a couple hours learning about streamflows, water storage operations, river health and what the future might hold for Mesa County residents. Headline speaker is Eric Kuhn, the knowledgeable general manager for the Colorado River District. And it’s all free. If you miss it, consider it water under the bridge. WHO: Mesa County ...

Endangered pikeminnow netted in De Beque

By {screen_name}

An endangered fish blocked off from the upper reaches of the Colorado River for nearly a century has been captured in De Beque Canyon, above the new Price-Stubb fish passage. The dam, built in 1911, has prevented the migration of the Colorado pikeminnow, known to early residents of the Grand Valley as “white salmon” for their travels, from visiting the highest part of their range. The range was reopened in April 2008 with the completion of a $10 million, 900-foot-long, fish ...

OUT: Sunday Column May 10, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

If you look in the dictionary under thin ice, you’ll see a picture of the Colorado Wildlife Commission. That is what you’d see, anyway, if the accompanying listing was “Citizen Petitions to Ban Hunting.” The Wildlife Commission listened Thursday to two such petitions from Front Range groups. Aside from some not-so-veiled threats of future lawsuits from a fancy-pants, big-city lawyer, there was enough heard that longtime commission watchers could only hope the ...

State boat inspections toughened in fight against two mussels

By Dave Buchanan

Colorado’s boaters can expect some personal attention this summer as the state expands its program to halt the spread of aquatic nuisances. In an effort to prevent quagga and zebra mussels from moving around the state, new inspection regulations in force this summer mean more boats will be inspected for the exotic species. “Mandatory boat inspections have proved successful in other states at stopping the spread of invasive mussels,” said Elizabeth Brown, invasive ...

Some out-of-state hunters shy away from hefty license fees for big game

By Dave Buchanan

As results of the 2009 big-game limited-license application process are tallied, one thing seems clear: Nonresident hunters are showing less interest. Officials from the Colorado Division of Wildlife told the Colorado Wildlife Commission on Thursday that out-of-state applications for all limited-draw big-game licenses dropped from as little as 2 percent to as much as 50 percent this spring compared to 2008. Conversely, resident hunters expressed slightly more interest this year in ...

Fewer licenses will be available to hunt deer, elk

By Dave Buchanan

Fewer elk and deer licenses will be available this fall after action Thursday by the Colorado Wildlife Commission. The nine-member panel approved offering nearly 8,000 fewer deer licenses and more than 10,000 fewer elk tags to hunters seeking a limited-draw license. The largest reduction in deer licenses will be in the Northwest region, particularly in game-management units around Meeker, Craig and Steamboat Springs. In that area, license numbers were slashed by more than 6,600. All doe ...

OUTside Connection May 06, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

There’s really no mystery about how the state’s fish and game laws are created, but only a relative handful of hunters and anglers ever check out the process. One reason, of course, is the Colorado Wildlife Commission holds its meetings on weekdays, when most of us are working. It’s not impossible to participate, however, since the commission members are approachable, meeting sites rotate around the state and there’s now an Internet audio link where you can listen ...

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OUT: East Portal May 06, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

EAST PORTAL, Gunnison River — Draped over Jason Booth’s hands, with plenty to spare on either end, was an example of why so many anglers risk the hair-raising ride down the rock-pocked ribbon of pavement into the East Portal section of the Gunnison River. Like a ghost returning from a time before whirling disease took its toll, a magnificent carmine-striped rainbow struggled into Booth’s net, was held briefly for the camera and then eased into the river. Booth, co-owner ...

OUT: Sunday Column May 03, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

The Colorado Wildlife Commission slips into Grand Junction on Thursday facing a decision on how much it wants to tread on private hunting rights. The one-day meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Holiday Inn, 755 Horizon Drive. The May commission meeting traditionally is when license numbers are set for the fall big-game hunting season and the public gets a first look at some tentative dates for the waterfowl season. The latter won’t be finalized until later this year after the U.S. ...

OUT: Colorado Division of Wildlife’s weekly fishing report

By Dave Buchanan

April 28, 2009 Springtime in Colorado represents both the best and worst of times for anglers. While the spring thaw continues, chasing the ice from ever more lakes and reservoirs, it also triggers the runoff in free-flowing rivers across the state. Blue Mesa Reservoir and the “Sagebrush Lakes” of North Park are the latest additions to the list of major flat waters that are free of ice. Big-fish specialists have been taking some impressive mackinaw from Blue Mesa, along with ...

OUTside Connection Column April 29, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

Here’s something good to grouse about. Sage grouse, that is, and the Mountain (also called the Columbian) Sharp-tailed grouse, which offer some of the most curious and fascinating entertainment during their spring breeding rituals. Which, by the way, are occurring now on a lek (a grouse display ground) near you. Listen and watch to them booming, strutting, and flashing their best footwork to impress the ladies.  No, it’s not the local night club, although it’s ...

OUT: Sunday Column April 26, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

Of the many conservation groups I’ve been associated with or written about in my 25-plus years of covering outdoor causes and issues, none stand out as much as Trout Unlimited. Agreed, Trout Unlimited doesn’t own the concession stand for worthwhile conservation groups. There are a lot of hard-working, goal-oriented organizations available for just about any outdoors-related interest. From waterfowl (Ducks Unlimited) to big game (Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Colorado Mule ...

042209 OUTside connection

OUT:  O:utside connecction April 22, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

It’s hard to understand how any youngster in western Colorado could get what author Richard Louv described as Nature Deficit Disorder. Louv, in his 2005 best-seller “Last Child in the Woods,” described how children are spending less time outdoors, their lives preoccupied with the lure of video screens. But there are children in Grand Junction who don’t know how to bait a hook or tie a good climbing knot or the fundamentals of gun-handling safety. The remedy? A ...

OUT: Sunday Column April 19, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

Everyone knew children were losing touch with nature, but no one put a name to the problem until author Richard Louv published his best-selling “Last Child in the Woods.” Louv calls the problem “nature-deficit disorder,” and as he claims on his Web site (richardlouv.com), students who take part in environmental learning do significantly better in school. Why? Louv says it’s because “the best learning takes place when all the senses are engaged, and ...

OUT: Mystery of the scourge of whirling disease may be solved by a small aquatic wo

By Dave Buchanan

Blame it on a worm. The mystery of why Colorado was so hard-hit by the scourge of whirling disease may be solved by a small aquatic worm known as Tubifex tubifex. Whirling disease is caused by a microscopic parasite that attacks the soft cartilage in young salmon and trout, including rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout. The water-borne parasite (Myxobolus cerebralis) may not directly kill trout, but highly infested fish can become deformed or exhibit the erratic tail-chasing behavior ...

041509 OUT trappers fish 1

OUT: Cutthroats threatened by brook trout competition and whirling disease

By Dave Buchanan

A project to restore Colorado River cutthroat trout to Trappers Lake may have more unanswered questions than solutions. Trappers Lake, located at 9,600 feet elevation near the head of the White River about 30 miles east of Meeker and just inside the Flat Tops Wilderness Area, is a popular fishing destination, offering both cutthroat trout and sizeable brook trout. Once home to pure Colorado River cutthroat, today most of the trout carry a mix of Colorado River and Yellowstone cutthroat ...

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