Saving the Upper Colorado for the Next Generation

Four-year-old Sam Streb sits atop his dad’s shoulders at a recent rally to stop water
diversions from the Upper Colorado River drainage.

photo courtesy Bob Streb

From: Bob Streb

To: Gov. John Hickenlooper

Dear Governor Hickenlooper,

My name is Bob Streb, and my little family lives in Minturn, Colorado, on the banks of the Eagle River—just one of the incredible places we enjoy in the mountains we call home. One of the other places is the Upper Colorado River. I am a fly-fishing guide, and I spend many days showing friends, both new and old, this very special place. The Upper Colorado River has become part of me, and I often feel a deep need to be in a boat feeling her currents under me. The loss of this freedom is a very real possibility if any more of her water is diverted. I understand this situation has economic implications for everyone, but. . .

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Managing the “Winter Blues”

Griffin Fly

Perhaps taking up fly-fishing artwork is a good way to beat the winter blues.

Illustration by Catherine Griffin

Last month, I found myself sitting cross-legged on a boulder in the middle of my home stream looking through the clear water at the rocks on the bottom. I had given up fishing about an hour before and was morosely reflecting on the transformation of a lively fall brook stream into a seemingly vacant winter stream. Where did all of the fish go? Did they pack up their little trout motor homes and go to the Keys for the winter?

It might sound fanatical to people who don’t fish, but the off-season blues can be a serious problem for anglers. In addition to decreased sunlight, which can cause most of us to get pretty blue, anglers lose one of their most important sources of . . .

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Take a Survey to Help Research on Aquatic Invasive Species

Dave Kumlien

Dave Kumlien, director of the Aquatic Invasive Species Program scans the Madison River looking for risers. Dave wants you to take an online survey to help his research.

photo by Phil Monahan

Dear Fellow Trout Anglers,

Scientists agree that second only to habitat loss, aquatic invasive species (AIS) pose the greatest threat to the decline of native aquatic species in North America. The spread of already established AIS, and the impacts of new AIS invasions combined with rapid climate change is expected to increase AIS problems and will have a significant negative impact on efforts to conserve and protect threatened and listed native species across the country. A striking example of AIS impacts has occurred in Yellowstone Lake in Yellowstone National Park where two AIS, . . .

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Stalking Big Browns in Skinny Water

Falcons Ledge 1

Many of Utah’s tiny streams hold big, fat brown trout.

photo courtesy Falcons Ledge

Utah fly fishing tends to get overlooked quite frequently as a fly fishing destination. I think this is mainly due to its proximity to other stellar fishing states (ID, MT, CO, WY) who hold epic reputations for big water and big fish. In addition, aside from the Green River, the state lacks any really big, well known water. However, what the state lacks in large popular waters it makes up for in its abundance of small streams that hold some big fish. I’ve found more skinny water that holds impressive fish than really anywhere else in the West, and on a cool spring day in 2010 Spencer Higa and myself set out to test our luck on just such a river.

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Such a Winter’s Day on the Klamath

Klamath 1

Jason Cotta shows off a Klamath River steelhead.

photo courtesy Jason Cotta

It was a cold, wet morning when we began our drive north out of Sacramento. Our trio included my good friend Jason, and Hutch Hutchinson, Orvis’s West Coast regional business manager. Hutch and I just had just finished working the International Sportsman’s Expo in Sacramento and were invited up to fish the Klamath with John and Chuck from Wild Waters Fly Fishing. Chuck and John guide all over Northern California and southern Oregon, and these guys flat-out know how to fish. Their website is loaded with photos of insanely big fish and . . .

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Two Amazing Days in New Zealand

Dave Jensen with a gorgeous backcountry New Zealand brown, one of many he and his
wife, Amelia, caught in an epic two-day stretch on a pair of remote streams.

photo by Amelia Jensen

[Editor’s Note: Each winter, Dave and Amelia Jensen, owners of Fly Fish Alberta, escape the harsh Canadian climate by traveling to New Zealand for a few months of chasing big brown trout. Here’s a recent update from Dave.]

When we run into people in New Zealand, we always tend to listen a great deal more than we talk. We simply mention that we’re Canadian fly fishers looking for beautiful waters to fish, not necessarily having the biggest or most fish, just to have a neat experience. Those beautiful moments can happen in a 10-foot-wide spring creek, breaking the scene down to one ponga fern and a fantail chirping over our shoulder as we cast to a four-pound brown, or that beauty can be as in-your-face on the large scale as. . .

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Picture of the Day: Grand Bahama Bone

Greg Vincent Bonefish

After this big bonefish finally realized it was hooked, a long struggle ensued.

photo courtesy Greg Vincent

Our head guide, Ishmael, and I were out spending a day on the water taking advantage of the great weather. We had just swapped positions from pole to bow, as Ishmael had just released a fish, and in doing we both heard a splashy commotion almost 200 yards away somewhere near the point of a small cay where the flat ended. We could see the wakes created by this commotion but could not identify what it was.

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To Trout, or Not to Trout: That is the Question

Sarah Hoog 1

My first solo trout on a fly. Not a monster, but I caught it all by myself.

photo by Sarah Hoog

Working for The Orvis Company has its benefits: being able to talk fishing all day and not being frowned at, playing with some great new gear as it comes out of the box, and having the opportunity to really expound on different types of fishing. Orvis isn’t a “fly-fishing-only” company but really embraces all types of fishing, even if some of us . . .

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Fly-Fishing Psychology 101: Managing Frustration

Justin Collmann

Justin Collmann, a clinical psychology graduate student, believes that fly
fishers can help manage their own frustration on the water.

photo courtesy Justin Collmann

This past October, I was standing at the lip of the first pool on my home stream in Shenandoah National Park and casting across the current to a fishy undercut boulder on the far side. No sooner had I dropped my fly in the still water behind the rock then my line got caught in the current, and my little dry fly was water-skiing, a nice V-shaped wake behind it. A brook trout actually stuck his head out of the water and asked, “Are you serious?” Then he. . .

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Reconnecting Habitat on Wyoming’s Salt River

Salt River Diversion Dam

This diversion dam on Wyoming’s Salt River seems pretty low, but it was blocking
access to vital spawning habitat for some trout and other native fish.

photo courtesy Trout Unlimited

Across the West, many rivers and watersheds are fragmented by old diversion dams and other irrigation infrastructure. That’s a big problem for trout, which need access to the full range of river habitat in order to thrive. For Trout Unlimited, upgrading these obsolete or inefficient irrigation systems offers a tremendous opportunity to restore rivers. With the help of Orvis funding, TU recently completed an exciting “reconnection” project on the Salt River in west-central Wyoming that should boost both the fish habitat and the fishing.

The Salt River is home to native Yellowstone cutthroat trout, as well as wild rainbows and browns. But they faced a big obstacle: an aging, solitary diversion dam imposed a two-foot-high vertical barrier to fish movement. While adult fish could likely clear the hurdle most of the year, smaller trout and other native species weren’t able to move upstream.

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