Daybreak on the Rusty Spurr Ranch.
It is 3 a.m., and my dad is ready to head out. After weeks of anticipation, the time had finally come. Finally, I was going on my first hunting trip for a mule deer. After jumping out of bed, stuffing my face with whatever breakfast was available, I boarded our van. We had started packing the evening before for a weekend of hunting and camping under the stars, and now it was finally time for the adventure to begin.
A distance of 105 miles from my home in Highlands Ranch awaited our hunting spot; Kremmling, Colorado . It was still dark at 6 a.m. when we reached our youth hunt coordinator, Ted Zagone’s, quiet residential subdivision. Mr. and Mrs. Zagone were very welcoming. Mrs. Shelly Zagone offered us hot chocolate, coffee and sandwiches. Mrs. Zagone showed me the pictures of her son who serves in the United States Navy. She was so proud of him and missed him so much. I felt so happy for her and hoped that I would make my parents feel proud someday of my accomplishments.
The Colorado Sportsmen’s License Plate. Design by Wayne Lewis/CPW.
Let’s face it: Few people like going to the Department of Motor Vehicles. In fact, the DMV ranks among the top places I try to avoid—right up there with Justin Bieber concerts and dental offices. However, when my license plate renewal notice arrived in the mail last week, I was actually happy (you might even say I was excited) to know that I’d be visiting the DMV soon.
Earlier this year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife released a new specialty sportsmen’s license plate. As an avid hunter and angler, I knew this plate would grace my bumper as soon as my old plates and registration expired. So, on Thursday morning I marched into the DMV, took a number (I had lucky # P209) and waited patiently for my turn to hand over my credit card. I’m proud to say that my new plates will arrive in my mailbox in a couple weeks and become a permanent fixture on my Toyota FJ Cruiser.
If you’re a hunter or angler and you still haven’t seen or heard about the new Colorado Sportsmen’s Plate, here are five reasons why you, too, should be excited to visit your local DMV office this year: Read more
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
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.
Wayne D. Lewis is the editor and art director of Colorado Outdoors magazine.
Article & Photos By Scott Willoughby
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
DID YOU KNOW? Fishing in Colorado contributes roughly $1.9 billion to the economy. Become an angler today and be an active participant in wildlife management and help our local economies. Photo by © Wayne D. Lewis/CPW
Why Learn to Fly Fish?
Fly fisherman by © Howard Horton/CPW
When most people think of fishing in Colorado, fly fishing is one of the first techniques that come to mind. Like all types of fishing, it can be a fun group or family activity or it can be your way to find peace and tranquility — an escape from our busy lives.
Learning to fly fish does not have to be intimidating, difficult or expensive. There are lots of opportunites for classes with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), local fly shops and fly-fishing organizations around Colorado.
People in Colorado love to fish. Colorado sells more than 900,000 fishing licenses each year! There are so many fishing choices in Colorado with 9,500 miles of streams 2,000 natural lakes and 800 reservoirs. Your new favorite fishing spot may be just around the corner. Read more
A cutthroat trout. Photo by Kevin Rogers/CPW.
Colorado is truly an angler’s paradise. Home to more than 9,000 miles of rivers, 2,000 natural lakes and hundreds of gin-clear streams, it’s as if Mother Nature had fishing in mind when she created this beautiful state. And with waters generously dispersed from the high mountains all the way to the Eastern Plains, Colorado’s fishing opportunities are as diverse as the Rocky Mountain landscape.
However, in spite of the variety of fishable waters and abundance of natural habitat, it’s only because of the dedicated conservation work of Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s (CPW) aquatic biologists and hatchery technicians that Colorado boasts some of the best fishing in the nation.
Whether you’re an avid angler or just someone who enjoys the occasional weekend fishing trip, here are 11 “Fish Facts” that you should know about Colorado’s fisheries: Read more
A fly-and-bubble angler fishes in Pearl Lake State Park.
It’s not often that someone hates the title of your story before you write it, but that is the case with this piece. Last fall, while fishing with a good buddy (who prefers to remain nameless) we were discussing the merits of the angling method we’d been using for the last few trout-fishing expeditions — fly and bubble. He really liked how far he could throw a fly when the bubble was filled more than halfway with water which got me thinking. “Throwing Bubbles — that’s what I’ll call my article,” I said.
My enthusiasm was met with much manly scorn. And he had a good point. Something that can, at times, be brutally effective shouldn’t be described so frivolously. But it’s my title, and I’m sticking with it.
Many people, like my buddy and I, can only afford so much equipment and devote only so much time to their recreational endeavors. Learning how to fly fish, and getting geared up to do so, is out of the question for many spin anglers. But when the fish are ignoring spoons and spinners, and hitting flies instead, then something must be done to level the playing field. Read more
Doug Payne takes in the epic, snow-capped scenery at Lake Granby. Photo by Jerry Neal/CPW.
You just had to be there. That’s all I can really say about my recent fishing and kayaking trip, which was one of the most unusual and memorable outings that I’ve had in years.
Last week I joined coworker Doug Skinner and his friend Doug Payne for some early spring fishing at Lake Granby. Skinner and I talked about this trip for weeks, so I was excited that our “water cooler” plans were finally coming to fruition. In addition, this was going to be my very first kayak/fishing trip. To prepare for my maiden voyage, I purchased a new Ocean Kayak, which, sadly, had been collecting dust in my garage ever since it arrived by freight truck more than month ago.
Needless to say, the anticipation of getting on the water was killing me. Even the short, 90-minute drive from my home in Denver to the Grand County reservoir seemed endless. Although I’ve made this easy jaunt hundreds of times before, this time I was like the impatient child on the family road trip who keeps asking “Are we there yet?” every five minutes.
My youthful enthusiasm was short lived, however, when we finally arrived at our destination only to discover that the lake was almost entirely frozen. Big bummer. We knew this was a real possibility before we left Denver, but we kept our fingers crossed that some serious thawing had occurred in the warm days leading up to our trip. No such luck. Although these conditions would’ve iced most people’s kayaking plans, “the Dougs” and I saw this, instead, as a prime opportunity to shake off our cabin fever and embark on a springtime fishing adventure. And that’s precisely what we did. Read more
Image/design by Jerry Neal/CPW. Content suggestions/edits by Mindy Blazer/CPW.
The historical Wild West is famous for its outlaws and ruthless invaders. Had you visited most any Colorado town in the 1870s, you would have likely seen wanted posters with photos and descriptions of the most infamous villains and the crimes for which they were sought “dead or alive.” Thankfully, we live in a more civilized era today, but there are still dangerous and menacing invaders out there that are threatening Colorado and the West.
Aquatic nuisance species (ANS), also known as aquatic invasive species, are one of the most significant and rapidly growing threats to Colorado’s natural resources. In nearly every direction, non-native and exotic invasive animals, plants and pathogens exist that could devastate our fisheries, negatively impact boating and outdoor recreation and even affect water delivery systems.
Some ANS, like those featured on this parody “Wanted” poster, are already present in Colorado and every precaution must be taken to ensure that these intruders remain confined to their current locations. However, there are other equally destructive, or potentially even more destructive, species just beyond our borders that could be accidentally transported into Colorado at any time. Read more