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Colorado Fishing News Back to Colorado Fishing News
Rocky Mountain Flycasters TU
August finds us with an abundance of conservation news and opportunities:

In the first article (below) I briefly summarize efforts by Colorado Parks and and Wildlife Biologist Ben Swingle to tag trout for research purposes. Read the article and learn how you can help--by fishing! In the second article you will find a summary of the work scheduled this summer by US Fish and Wildlife Services Fish Biologist Chris Kennedy. You can also help Chris with some of his work by fishing! The third article describes and puts you in touch with opportunities to learn more about stream restoration through attending workshops put on by the Coloradoan Stream Restoration Project. In a final article Phil Wright of the RMF leadership team tells how you can help with restoration of the North Fork of the North Thompson.

1) You caught a trout wearing a tag in the Big Thompson? Tell Ben Swigle

Ben is the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Aquatic Biologist for several streams along the northern Front Range, one of which is the Big Thompson River. He is tagging trout there for research purposes in the vicinity of Drake.

The tags on these fish will be either bright yellow or orange, as shown below, about 1.5 inches long, and placed near the dorsal fin of the fish. Each tag will have a number between 1 and 200.

The yellow and orange tags are shown above with a pen for size comparison

If you catch one of these tagged trout, please notify Ben (office phone 970-472-4364, or email . Tell him where you caught the fish, its tag number, and any notable physical conditions or deformities observed. Please describe the trout's location relative to nearby structures, landscape features, or Highway 34 Mile-Marker number, whichever most clearly describes the location.

2) 2015 Fish and Wildlife Service/Rocky Mountain National Park Fisheries Field Work Schedule

This annual field work, lead by Chris Kennedy, the US Fish & Wildlife Service Fisheries Biologist assigned to Rocky Mountain National Park, is an unsurpassed opportunity to visit backcountry wilderness you might not otherwise get to see. The detailed schedule, which began this week and extends into early October, is posted on the RMF Web site.

Additional volunteers are still needed the week of August 10, and the following is Chris' detailed description of the first two weeks in August:

Lawn Lake:The first week August 3 - 7 we will just catch as many fish as possible by hook and line. The 2nd week August 10-13 we will continue with the hook-and-line capture the first two days. On the 3rd day we will go up to Crystal Lake and conduct a gill net survey and on the 4th day we will conduct the recapture in Lawn Lake with a gill net. I would be willing to work the weekend if people are interested and can only make it over the weekend.

We will be camping out for this project and volunteers will need to bring all their own gear, although we do have some to borrow if needed. The hike to Lawn Lake is 6.2 miles with a 2200 foot elevation gain. The hike up to Crystal from Lawn is 1.5 miles with a 700 foot elevation gain.

Caddis Lake gill net survey. The typical route, via the Ypsilon Lake trail, is 5.5 miles with a 2400 foot elevation gain. However, the Ypsilon Lake trail bridge over the Roaring River is out because of the 2013 flooding so we may need to go up Ypsilon Creek off trail. We will see what the conditions are as the project gets closer.

To volunteer for any of the projects on the full schedule, you should register as a volunteer by emailing Austin Condon,

3) Learn about modern practices for resilient restoration of flood-damaged rivers

A group of stream restoration professionals has informally banded together to produce a series of free workshops under the name "Colorado Stream Restoration Network" (CSRN). These workshops are open to the public, and the Network's invitation is:,"Join us if you are part of a coalition, municipality,private landowner, concerned citizen, or technical expert". That doubly covers all of our readers, first as concerned citizens, and again by Rocky Mountain Flycasters being a member of two coalitions the Coalition for the Poudre River Watershed and the Big Thompson River Restoration Coalition. When registering for the workshops, you will not be asked about your affiliation, but you will need to register at eventbrite in order to have a seat.

The goal of the CSRN is "to raise awareness for each of us working in and for Colorado streams on what each area of expertise entails and when it is needed. Reducing the unknown while increasing the comfort level with topics that we don't understand is a great way to bring down barriers to working together".

"At the three remaining workshops you will learn what engineers look at when they conduct stream analyses...what are they solving for and why, what tools do they use, and what tools are new and can be leveraged together in new ways to improve stream restoration projects."

Their next workshop is on Wednesday, August 12 from 9 am to 12:30 pm in Longmont, CO. This workshop will cover Hydrology & Hydraulics (H&H). Registration is required to attend:

The remaining 2015 workshop dates and topics are:

Thursday Oct 1: fluvial geomorphology and sediment transport.

Thursday Dec 3: stream ecology, habitat structure & function.

Registration for these two workshops is not yet open, and the subject matter may be changed, but consider the dates to be firm.

4) UPDATE! North Fork Big Thompson Restoration Project - Volunteers Needed

The North Fork of the Big Thompson River

Chris Carroll, Fisheries Biologist with the Arapahoe Roosevelt Nation Forest has emailed me that the water in the North Fork of the Big Thompson has finally come down and we should be able to begin to work in and around the stream in the upcoming weeks. To kick things off and rev up our efforts, I am now asking for volunteer co-leaders to assist me in leading volunteer teams to put some finishing touches on the stream restoration work that has been carried out on the North Fork.

Please contact me ( ) if you are interested in becoming a co-leader on this project. I expect to be able to organize some informational training concerning the project. You will likely learn a good deal about stream restoration as part of your efforts. The photo below shows the state of the river in early July with heavy flow and gives an idea of the work and wading conditions on the North Fork as water levels come down. It has been suggested that we organize small volunteer crews to work on specific reaches along the North Fork and perhaps combine a morning's volunteer work with a stream side lunch and an afternoon of fishing in the Estes Park area. Weekday as well as weekend volunteer dates are certainly possible. Another person has suggested that this project would be a great family oriented volunteer opportunity for families with children, 11 years and older.

Again, please contact me soon if you would like to contribute to this effort as a co-leader or volunteer. Further details of specific work dates will be coming soon. - Phil Wright