Each year, as the anticipation mounts for the photo issue, I find myself reflecting on the year and how intertwined our future is with our past. I am grateful for the abundance of wildlife, healthy habitat and our world-class state parks that provide the intersection of conservation and outdoor recreation.
For more than a century, conservation work has been the primary mission of Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). Nationwide, wildlife agencies were created to ensure the prosperity of both game and nongame species. CPW employees are dedicated professionals who work passionately for Colorado’ resources every day. And the agency is fortunate to be supported by dedicated sportsmen and sportswomen who cherish Colorado’s parks and wildlife. Read more
Theo focused on landing his first Mackinaw. All photos by © Doug Skinner/CPW
Flathead Lake Whitefish
For several weeks, my wife and son have been asking to plan a fishing trip. And Theo was not just asking for any fishing trip, but a trip where he would have a chance to add new species and preferably a new size record to his fishing list. Last summer, he caught his personal record in Montana – a good-sized whitefish out of Flathead Lake. The whitefish was not huge, but it whet his appetite for bigger fights. And while he enjoyed catching the whitefish, it was bothering him that his biggest catch was an out of state fish. He was looking for a Colorado fish to be his “personal record.” Read more
Helaine settles into the fishing challenge. All photos by © Doug Skinner/CPW
October in Colorado is as close to perfection as you might find anywhere in the country. The air is cooling in the evening and morning, but there is still a midday warmth that keeps you comfortable in your favorite t-shirt. Hillsides are lit up with the golden glow of aspens and meadows have begun the shift from greens to browns.
With a limited number of warm weather days remaining, I’m thinking about all of the trips that I’d like to take this Fall – camping trips, kayaking trips, fishing trips, hiking and hunting trips and I realize that I’m facing a free time deficit. What I typically think of as outdoor adventure requires a fair amount of planning, travel and a half or full day commitment. Often, the magnitude of the “adventure planning” can sabotage the opportunity to get out into nature. This is not to say “Don’t plan big trips.” I’m simply saying there is big value in small trips. Read more
As a parent of a ten-year-old, my wife and I struggle to find a balance between our son’s interests in music, Dude Perfect videos and scheduled sports activities with our family’s interest in getting out into nature. The unscheduled outdoor adventures that were the cornerstone of my youth seem to be a casualty of the modern hustle and bustle. Right out of the gate, I feel like this is getting dangerously close to sounding like one of those “When I was a kid” stories, but things have really changed since I was a kid. Spontaneous pickup sports with a group of friends has been replaced by organized club soccer and team baseball, all with hectic practice schedules and weekend commitments. Even the physical landscape has changed. Along the Front Range, and many other areas of Colorado, once seemingly ubiquitous farm ponds and abundant fishing access appear to have been gobbled up by a rapidly growing housing market. Whether you have kids or not, you probably feel that some things are just a little different than they used to be. Read more
The biggest walleye of the day. All photos by © Wayne D. Lewis/CPW
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
The author with a Master Angler largemouth caught with a frog lure.
Picture this: You cast out into the small opening in the weeds. The plastic frog barely hits the water when a 5-pound bass crushes it, throwing water everywhere. You pause a second then set the hook with all your might, sending the hooks solidly into the fish’s mouth. You crank as fast as you can, skipping the bass across the mat of thick weeds. As the bass comes closer it fights harder trying to get away. The bass comes up to the side of the boat and slides right up on your thumb. You take a couple of quick photos of the Master Angler lunker and then you release the bass safely to the water where he returns to his weedy haunts. If this sounds fun to you it’s time to give summertime frog fishing a try.
Chironomids work well for large trout. Photo by Jerry Neal/CPW.
The cliché holds there are only two things in life that you can count on: death and taxes. Yet, if you’re an angler in Colorado, there are actually three. The third is that you can catch a lot of fish on chironomids.
What is a chironomid you ask? While it sounds like an evil character from a science-fiction movie, chironomids (pronounced “KYRO-nomids”) are actually members of the Chironomidae midge family. Midges are tiny flies that resemble gnats or mosquitos. They are the most prevalent aquatic insects in Colorado, making up more than 50 percent of a fish’s diet in some waters. While tricky to pronounce, fishing with chironomids is quite easy. Read more
Photo by Chad LaChance.
I love to fly fish. Been doing it since I was 12 years old, am decent at it and I have about 15 fly rods in my collection. I’ve tied flies (for money even), own all the assorted fly gadgets and have caught everything from snook and redfish, to bass and walleyes, to trout and grayling, all on feathers and fur. Geez, I even live in Colorado…how much more fly is there than that?
But this is my argument for conventional tackle…yep, even the fly fishing community needs spin-polers. Read more
When I was a kid and didn’t catch fish on a particular trip, my father used to say, “There’s a reason it’s called ‘fishing’ and not ‘catching.’” As an adult, I still recognize the wisdom in these words. After all, some days the fish just won’t bite no matter what you throw at them, and even the most experienced anglers can get skunked.
Over the years, however, I’ve learned there are a few things that can dramatically improve your chances for success every time you’re on the water.
Whether you’re a novice angler who’s just getting started or a more experienced fisherman who’s simply facing a summer slump, here are five tips to help you catch more fish and have more fun on your next outing.
1. Fish Early or Fish Late
Most suburban ponds have good populations of small bluegills, sunfish and other warm-water species.
Although Colorado’s big lakes and reservoirs get most of the angling attention and accolades, small suburban lakes and ponds often boast great fishing and provide hours of close-to-home fun.
Conveniently located in neighborhood parks and greenbelts, these easy-to-access waters are great places to unwind after a long day of work or to simply find a little solitude without venturing too far off the beaten path.
They are also the perfect locations to take kids fishing. In fact, some of my earliest (and fondest) memories of fishing with my dad took place at ponds in the Lakewood, Golden and Wheat Ridge areas.
At a particular pond near my dad’s apartment home, I remember catching fish nearly every cast on my little Zebco rod/reel combo. As a 5-year-old boy, there was nothing more thrilling than seeing a bluegill or bass pull my red and white bobber under the surface. I also remember the fun of catching my own grasshoppers and worms to use as bait. In addition to providing an enjoyable father/son activity, it was these early experiences that played an important role in developing my lifelong passion for fishing and the outdoors. Read more