Outdoors - Hunting and Fishing

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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. ...

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