Author Archives: Wayne D. Lewis

Walleye Wisdom

 

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The biggest walleye of the day. All photos by © Wayne D. Lewis/CPW

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The author with his first-ever walleye.

With a big smile on my face, I posed with my first-ever walleye. For our group, it was the first fish of the day, and the first walleye I had ever seen in person — all pointy fins, sharp teeth and cataract eyes. If Disney made a movie about freshwater fish, a walleye would be cast as the quirky sidekick to the main villian (probably a pike). I was proud; if it had been a trout, it would have been a keeper. However, since it was just under 18 inches long, we had to release it. But, as it slipped back into the waters of Chatfield Reserevoir, I began to calculate how much per inch that walleye had cost. Read more

Shedding Velvet

COVER-buck-shedding-velvet-Wayne-D-Lewis-DSC_0128This time of year, most outdoors-obsessed Coloradans grab their cell phones, Nikons, Canons — anything with a lens — and head to the mountains in search of Instagram-worthy photos of changing aspens. Local TV forecasters show detailed maps of peak times in peak areas, guiding caravans of leaf lovers into the hills. For them, the official signs of the change of season are mountains painted yellow and gold.

I, however, wanted to chronicle a different sign of the season — one more interesting to orange-clad hunters: that of mule deer bucks shedding their antler velvet. During the first few weeks of September, a few times a week, I would leave work and head to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge in northeast Denver hoping to find bucks lit by the golden-hour light. At the Arsenal, they have decent populations of both mule and white-tailed deer, but by the time I started this project, the whitetail bucks had all shed their velvet.

Andy Holland, a Colorado Parks and Wildlife big game manager, thinks that the peak date for mule deer shedding is Sept. 15. “But it varies,” he says. Read more

4 Reasons to be Thankful You Live in Colorado

By Mike DelliVeneri

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Be grateful you live in such an amazing state surrounded by some pretty awesome people. Photo by © Mike DelliVeneri/CPW

It’s November in Colorado, which means our famous peaks will start to turn white, the bighorn sheep will clash and both people and wildlife alike will brace for winter. November also means it’s time to loosen our belts and prepare for turkey, stuffing, green beans and mashed potatoes. But before you do, we thought we’d remind you (in the true spirit of Thanksgiving) just some of the reasons why we should be thankful to live in the Centennial State. Read more

Set Your Sights on Sighting In

The Chaffee County Shooting Range

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A shooter takes aim at the Chaffee County Shooting Range. All photos by © Wayne D. Lewis/CPW

“Don’t tell anyone about this place,” said the target shooter as the smell from the rifle rounds he just shot hung in the air. “This place is great and I don’t want it to get too crowded.”

“Sorry, but telling people about this place is why I’m here,” I replied, smiling.

“This place” is the Chaffee County Shooting Range, or “the best, nonfee, public range in the state,” as Jim Aragon, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) area wildlife manager for Area 13, proudly stated. And from my tour of the range, I would enthusiastically agree. While I understand the shooter’s worry, with the range covering more than 55 acres, I think there is room for more visitors. Read more

KOKANEE

Article and Photos by Scott Willoughby

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Spawning kokanee by © Scott Willoughby

In a state that pretty much has it all, the most glaring gap in Colorado’s vast menu of outdoor options becomes obvious at its borders. The ability to walk across state lines almost anywhere without getting your feet wet serves as evidence of a basic reality: We’re landlocked. High and dry.

For a large chunk of the fishing world, that could be considered a problem. There are plenty of fish in the sea, as they say, and the opportunity to chase a wide variety of them is what drives many an angler to wet a line. But in the network of rivers and lakes draining from the mountainous spine of the nation to oceans east and west, well, the species selection falls a bit short by comparison. Sure, we’ve got a respectable assortment of more than 40 types of cold-, cool- and warm-water fish species statewide in Colorado, but it seems like the grass can always get a little greener. Read more

Fishing, Fisher and Fall Colors at Urad Lake

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Urad Lake. Photo by © Wayne D. Lewis/CPW.

If you are looking to either fish, hike, see the aspens change, wildlife watch or all of the above, you can do far worse than a trip to Urad Lake.

Urad Lake is in the Urad Lake State Wildlife Area, the newest SWA in Colorado. Located off of Jones Pass and Berthoud Pass in Clear Creek County, it is the result of a cooperative effort between the Climax Molybdenum Company (Henderson Mine), the City of Golden and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW).

The property was historically open to the public for several decades, even though privately owned by the mine.  In 2011, the property closed to the public as Henderson Mine did a massive, multimillion dollar mitigation project in the Woods Creek Valley.

During the closure, the mine, City of Golden (which owns the water and reservoir) and CPW were able to work out a long-term lease to turn over the management of the property to Colorado Parks and Wildlife which reopened the area in 2014. During that time, CPW stocked the lake with 6,000 10- to 12-inch cutbow trout. The lake is full of small brook trout, recently stocked rainbow trout and plenty of the cutbows. Read more

Get in the Game

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A father and son hunting GMU 37. Photo by © Wayne D. Lewis

If Colorado’s big-game seasons were a football game, we’d be halfway through the first quarter. Muzzleloader season just ended (but keep your muzzleloader out for rifle seasons, if you choose) and bowhunting continues until Sept. 25. If you haven’t ventured afield yet, there are still over-the-counter licenses available. Time to get in the game.

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Wayne D. Lewis is the editor and art director of Colorado Outdoors magazine.

Fish Magic: The wizardry of European nymphing

Article & Photos By Scott Willoughby

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Jason Lieverst. Photo by © Scott Willoughby

Jason Lieverst is performing a magic trick. Or so it would seem. With just a few flicks of his 11-foot wand, the former captain of the British national fly-fishing team plucks trout after trout from a seemingly shallow pool in the Eagle River like some overgrown Harry Potter pulling a litter of rabbits out of a hat.

“What was that, about 14?” Lieverst estimates in a proper English accent as we hike back up the bank toward the truck before the engine had time to completely cool. “Not bad for an hour or so of fishing.”

Unlike most modern magic, Lieverst’s wizardry is no illusion. Rather, it’s a systematic technique originating in Europe and honed over nearly 30 years before making its way to the banks of the Eagle River near Avon, where it’s now being put on display on an increasingly routine basis. Read more

Browns Canyon’s Monumental Fishing Opportunity

Article & Photos by Scott Willoughby

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Floating a scenic slice of the Arkansas River through Browns Canyon. Photo by © Scott Willoughby.

When it comes to their favorite places to wet a line, fishermen are pretty tight-lipped by nature. So it comes as no surprise that the one-year anniversary of the designation of Browns Canyon National Monument came and went last February with little fanfare among Colorado’s angling community.

Besides, nothing has really changed along the scenic slice of the Arkansas River that qualifies among the nation’s premier public trout fisheries. And that’s precisely the point.

“I grew up in big, wide-open spaces in Nevada, and there’s been enormous change to the landscapes — transmission lines, oil and gas coming in, major hard-rock mines and other projects,” U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) director Neil Kornze said while rafting through the newly minted monument last July. “So I love it when I see a community come together and say: ‘Let’s not just trust that this will always be the way we love it. Let’s do something about it.’ It’s not necessarily about changing something in a dramatic way. Sometimes it’s about keeping what you’ve got and what you love.” Read more

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