Angler Catches State-Record Bass Below John Martin Reservoir

29lb 5oz Striper

Harvey Shade poses with his state-record striped bass. Shade caught the 29-pound fish below John Martin Reservoir on May 6.

Harvey Shade has fished John Martin Reservoir for years. In that time, Shade has caught plenty of fish, but none measured up to the one he caught on May 6, 2017.

Shade, 64, who resides in Eads, now holds the state record for the biggest striped bass in Colorado: The fish tipped the scales at 29 pounds, 5 ounces and measured 39 inches long. The football-shaped bass also boasted an impressive 25.5-inch girth.

Shade’s striped bass, commonly known as a striper, bested the previous record by a whopping 13 pounds. The last record striper, caught in 2016 from Prewitt Reservoir, weighed 16 pounds, 14 ounces and measured 35 3/8 inches long. Read more

May/June 2017 Issue of Colorado Outdoors Available Now!

May-June 2017 cover

The May/June 2017 issue of Colorado Outdoors magazine is available now. This issue features a summary of Colorado’s top springtime fishing destinations, an article on prairie dog management and an in-depth story about Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Natural Areas Program.

Pick up your copy or subscribe today! Click HERE to see a full contents page and to order back issues of Colorado Outdoors magazine.

Tom Foolery: Hunting Mountain Merriam’s

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The author displays a San Juan turkey.

I’ve hunted Merriam’s turkeys on public lands in southwest Colorado’s San Juan Mountains for seven years running now with Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Habitat Watch Volunteer (HWV) Rick Hooley. Rick is a HWV for the San Juan National Forest, and there’s likely few outdoorsmen with his breadth and depth of hunting-angling experience in this part of the state.

We hunt an over-the-counter (OTC) unit, and the most recent Colorado Parks & Wildlife turkey harvest data (for 2015) shows a 30 perecent success rates for OTC licenses holders versus 50 percent for limited license holders. Realtree contributor, Steve Hickoff, says: “The [Colorado] Merriam’s population lives in some rugged country; their nomadic traits can really spread them out and test your patience. You can go for hours, even days, and not hear a gobble.”

But as American Hunter contributor, Sgt. Michael Marek (82nd Airborne Division), wrote: “If it was easy, everyone would do it … hunting is difficult, and that’s what makes being a hunter so great. You truly become a cut above the rest.” Mountain Merriam’s turkey hunting is both physically and mentally challenging, and—in my admittedly biased opinion—truly a cut above the rest. Read more

Colorado Parks and Wildlife Celebrates 120th Anniversary

Established in April of 1897, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has conserved and protected Colorado’s fish, wildlife and public lands for 120 years. CPW dedicates this video to the citizens of Colorado and the employees, past and present, who have contributed to this important mission. CPW thanks sportsmen and women, outdoor recreationists and all those who love Colorado’s wildlife and wild places for their continued support.

Wildlife Crossings Protect Motorists and Big-Game Animals Alike.

If you’ve lived in Colorado long enough, chances are you’ve had an accident or near miss with a deer or other wildlife. In an effort to reduce wildlife/vehicle collisions and protect big-game animals, CDOT, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and local residents and governments joined forces to develop a series of wildlife crossings on Highway 9 in Grand County. The innovative project is the first of its kind in Colorado and has reduced collisions by more than 90 percent.

The video below offers a detailed look at this innovative project and documents its early success.

Becoming a Real Straight Shooter (Shooting Tips)

randi shoot

Video capture by Jerry Neal/CPW. 

“Do you know how to shoot straight?”

While some people might take offense at such a question, it is one that big game hunters need to ask themselves every year. Shooting an animal with a high-powered rifle, no matter the distance, is not a natural skill. Hunters must know the capabilities of their rifles, the intricacies of their scopes, the characteristics of their ammunition, the distance of their targets and their own competence for setting up for a fast shot at an animal.

“Shooting is a perishable skill. If you haven’t done it in awhile, you’re going to get rusty,” says Rick Basagoitia, area wildlife manager in the San Luis Valley. “There are people who believe they can go out, buy an expensive rifle and without any practice start shooting like the guys on the hunting shows on TV. Well, they can’t.

The importance of good shooting also goes beyond just being able to harvest an animal. Developing shooting skills must be viewed as an ethical consideration by hunters. Read more

Walleye stocking starts with spawning at Colorado state parks

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A netted walleye at CPW’s spawning operation.

Next time you catch a walleye at a Colorado state park, thank an aquatic biologist for putting that fish there in the first place. Walleye production is a major process involving enforcement, biologists, state parks and hatcheries working together to produce great angling opportunities.

It starts with the walleye spawn, which is taking place now at Chatfield, Cherry Creek and Lake Pueblo state parks. On a recent Friday during the spawn at Chatfield, Colorado Parks and Wildlife Aquatic Biologist Paul Winkle led a team of biologists and volunteers through a half-day process that included collecting male and female walleye, fertilizing the eggs and microchipping the females before releasing them back into the lake. This process will eventually contribute 3 million walleye fry at ¼- inch in length to Chatfield Reservoir, a popular spot for local angling. Read more

Entering the bear den: CPW concludes study on human-bear interaction

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CPW Researcher Heather Johnson. Photo by Nora Logue/CPW.

On a sunny March day, a group of eight crouch silently outside a bear den dug into a ridge near Durango as Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Heather Johnson literally pokes the sleeping mama bear inside.

This expedition is part of the conclusion of a first-of-its-kind study conducted over six years in southwest Colorado. It is one of the most comprehensive studies to date on human-bear interactions and the impact of urbanization on bear populations.

“This study was motivated by the increase that’s happened in human-bear conflicts in Colorado. As the state wildlife agency that manages those conflicts, we wanted to better understand what was causing those conflicts to increase, and ultimately what we should do about it,” said Johnson, a wildlife researcher. Read more

Hay for Haxtun (CPW Helps Eastern Plains Landowner)

 

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A home burns in northeast Colorado. Photo by Brian Biesemeier.

In early March, a wildfire in northeast Colorado burned more than 30,000 acres near Haxtun, destroying several homes, thousands of acres of agricultural fields and an untold number of outbuildings.

Last week, Colorado Parks & Wildlife donated approximately 66 bales of hay to help a landowner who was affected by the fire. Wildlife managers transported the hay from Tarryall Reservoir and Cline Ranch state wildlife areas in South Park. The hay will help the rancher feed his livestock until grazing lands recover.

Area Wildlife Manager Todd Schmidt talks about the fire and the hay donation in the video below:

Read more

Colorado’s Top Springtime Fishing Destinations

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Early spring is an ideal time to catch lake trout (Mackinaw). Photo by Jerry Neal/CPW.

If you’re a fisherman, there’s no better time to fish Colorado’s lakes and reservoirs than early spring. Not only is it a great time of year to shake off your cabin fever, but many trophy sized rainbow, cutthroat, cutbow and brown trout are caught in those first days and weeks after ice-out. If those weren’t enough reasons to make you want to grab your fishing rod and tackle box, spring is also the best time to catch lake trout (aka Mackinaw) — a species that can reach upwards of 50 pounds in Colorado.

Although many of Colorado’s lakes and reservoirs offer excellent fishing, the following waters provide exceptional fishing opportunities this spring: Read more

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