Outdoors - Hunting and Fishing

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OUT Sunday Column July 05, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

You should have been here tomorrow. That’s the futuristic look at fishing around western Colorado on a weekend celebrating a small group of forward-thinking patriots. Anglers headed out for their Fourth of July fishing trips will find more water this year, the second consecutive year that flows are above long-term average. Maybe, just maybe, we’re seeing the last full weekend of high flows as some rivers are starting to drop, but low water on the 11th of July doesn’t ...

OUT Column July 01, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

When valley temperatures peck away at the 90-degree mark, it’s not unusual to see a line of boats snaking down the ramps at Highline Lake State Park. That’s particularly true on busy summer weekends when the 40-boat maximum often is reached by midmorning. This year, there’s something new for boaters to do while awaiting their spot on the lake: They can look for mussels. A rigorous inspection system aimed at slowing the spread of aquatic nuisance species is in effect ...

OUT Column June 28, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

This writer has spent many a winter’s day on the ice at Blue Mesa Reservoir in the company of more-experienced anglers hooking, landing and releasing lake trout bigger than a full-grown collie. n more temperate weather, those same anglers motored around, dropping heavy maribou jigs and pulling from the reservoir’s depths lake trout often tipping the scales at 40 pounds and more. We all knew those lake trout were that big primarily due to the millions of kokanee salmon on ...


OUT Column June 24, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

AUSTIN — The clouds scraping across Grand Mesa last week were pewter precursors of more storms raking an already soaked western Colorado. It’s been great for the wildflowers but plays heck with fishing plans. “We tell (our clients) to be ready for just about anything,” said Kirk Webb at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt, where the free-charging Fryingpan River noisily serenaded the conversation. “The water’s clearing fine and very fishable in the ...

OUT Sunday Column June 21, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

The Colorado Mule Deer Association is helping take a bite out of energy development. The bite, in this case, is the habitat changes wreaked when a company decides to put a well pad smack in the middle of wildlife habitat. Which is, like, just about anywhere in western Colorado. Habitat mitigation is one way to offset that lost native habitat, but in most cases the animals were using the original spot because there weren’t any options. The Mule Deer Association plans to help ...

Briefs;  Sports USA Fly Fishing Team June 17, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

The USA Fly Fishing Team netted eighth place at the end of the 2009 Fly Fishing World Championship held last week near Drymen, Scotland. The team, which includes Grand Junction dentist Anthony Naranja, rallied from 13th place on the final day, Naranja said in an e-mail Tuesday. “In a stillwater championships where Team USA historically has not fared well, I am extremely proud of our team,” Naranja wrote. “I know that we fished as well as we could and we utilized all the ...

OUT Sun Column June 14, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

Last week, this space wondered aloud why the Colorado Division of Wildlife apparently would oppose the White River National Forest from closing some ATV routes. Now we know. The object of the discussion was a letter from DOW Director Tom Remington to the White River National Forest saying the state agency would prefer leaving open some ATV routes possibly facing closure under the Forest’s proposed travel management plan. One section of the plan deals with ATV travel on roads in the ...


Anglers anticipate stoneflies’ river appearance

By Dave Buchanan

AUSTIN — Too bad Colorado doesn’t have a Big Bug Creek. Arizona has one, named in 1863 after some prospectors purportedly were set upon by some large flying insects. That one-time event seems rather tame compared to the really big bugs appearing early each summer on rivers across this state. The Gunnison River could be a Big Bug Creek, with its annual appearance of 3-inch stoneflies also variously known as salmonflies, willow flies and the Dockers-version Latin name of ...

OUT Sunday Column June 07, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

Unlike LeBron, who gets an early start to his summer vacation, things never stop around here. We’re a bit surprised and even more confused about the message on ATVs being sent by the Colorado Division of Wildlife. In response to a proposal from the White River National Forest to limit ATV use to 993 miles of existing trails and roads, down from the 1,833 miles now available, DOW Director Tom Remington allowed as how maybe that isn’t such a good idea. In a story that appeared ...

State park fills summer with outdoor fun for kids, families

By Dave Buchanan

Don’t sit there and tell me you’re bored. Highline Lake State Park is making it easy to fill your summer with outdoor adventure and learning (listen, this is much more fun than school, believe me). Wednesdays are the Highline Lake Summer of Outdoor Fun, a youngster-oriented series of mornings fill with classes, workshops and hands-on education about “wildlife, birds, the environment, plants, dinosaurs, how to fish, how to use a compass and lots more,” as a parks ...

060309 OUT fly fish art

Grand Junction man, U.S. Fly Fishing Team to compete in Scotland

By Dave Buchanan

America’s top fly anglers are off again, this time to Scotland for the 2009 FIPS-Mouche World Fly Fishing Championships. The U.S. Fly Fishing Team, with Anthony Naranja of Grand Junction plus five other competitors, two coaches and a team manager, will have eight days of practice prior to Friday’s start of the weeklong contest. This year’s World Championships are being held on four lakes and several beats (or stretches) of the River Tay near the town of Drymen, on the ...

OUT: Sunday Column May 31, 2009

By Dave Buchanan

One more thing to add to your boating day: The pre-launch boat inspection at Rifle Gap and Harvey Gap reservoirs. Starting Monday, boaters hauling a motorized craft to Rifle Gap and Harvey Gap are required to have their boats inspected for zebra and quagga mussels and other exotic aquatic nuisances prior to being launched. Inspections will be done from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. every day at Rifle Gap and from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at Harvey Gap. It’s all part of the ...

Boats at Rifle Gap to be checked for invasive mussels

By Dave Buchanan

Starting Monday, all trailered watercraft entering Rifle Gap and Harvey Gap state parks will be inspected for aquatic nuisance species, including zebra and quagga mussels. The inspections are part of the expanded program by Colorado State Parks to combat the spread of these and other exotic species posing a threat to state waters. “Boats may be inspected at Rifle Gap from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m., seven days per week,” said Aaron Fero, park manager for Rifle Gap and Harvey Gap ...

Gunnison Gorge conservation area has wilderness, 14 miles of river

By Dave Buchanan

The National Landscape Conservation System began under former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt in 2000 but recently was strengthened and revitalized by the passage in March of the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act. Included in the act’s 27 million acres, roughly one-tenth of all BLM lands, are 850 individual sites encompassing national monuments, national conservation areas, wilderness areas, wild and scenic rivers, and national scenic and historic trails. Among these are ...

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 ...

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