Tag Archives: Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Breaking the Ice: Fishing and Kayaking Lake Granby

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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

Colorado’s Least Wanted: Profiles of Some of the Most Destructive Aquatic Nuisance Species Threatening Colorado


IMAGE FOR ELIZABETH updated mussels

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

CPW Improves Gunnison Sage-Grouse Habitat

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A Gunnison sage-grouse. Photo by Bob Gress.

The Gunnison sage-grouse is an iconic species in Colorado. In the Gunnison Basin, CPW biologists are working to improve habitat to help the population of the birds there. This video explains how CPW is working in cooperation with private landowners and other conservation partners on projects to improve and restore “wet meadows” which are very important for Gunnison sage-grouse.

Video produced by Joe Lewandowski/CPW.

Thanks to Conservation Programs, Colorado’s Fish and Wildlife Are Thriving

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A lynx surveys its new home in the San Juan Mountains. Photo by CPW.

Colorado boasts one of the most diverse and abundant wildlife populations in North America. Home to an astonishing 960 wildlife species, it might be easy to assume that Colorado’s fish and wildlife have always flourished. However, many of the state’s most cherished and iconic species prosper today only because of Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s (CPW) species conservation and wildlife reintroduction programs.

From the majestic Rocky Mountain elk and bighorn sheep, to the iconic cutthroat trout and the renowned Canada lynx, here’s a summary of some of the species that are benefiting from ongoing conservation efforts, as well as the fish and wildlife that are thriving today because of CPW’s long and distinguished history of past achievements.

Colorado Outdoors Online thanks CPW employees, both past and present, who have dedicated their careers to protecting and perpetuating Colorado’s fish and wildlife resources, and graciously acknowledges Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), sportsmen and the many conservation organizations who have generously supported these efforts. Read more

Tips for Colorado Pheasant Hunters

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A black Lab proudly displays a rooster pheasant near Burlington, CO. Photo by © Jerry Neal/CPW.

On Nov. 14, hunters and bird dogs alike will celebrate as Colorado’s 2015-16 pheasant season opens statewide.

According to wildlife managers, pheasant populations have improved significantly over last season. Precipitation returned to much of the core pheasant range this spring and summer — just in time to improve habitat and begin the rebuilding process of Colorado’s pheasant crop. Spring breeding indexes showed that pheasant populations increased 60 percent from 2014. Although pheasant populations remain far below the peak numbers that hunters enjoyed six years ago, there are enough roosters to keep things exciting and plenty of additional reasons to lace up your hunting boots and explore Colorado’s Eastern Plains this fall.

As an avid wingshooter, pheasant hunting has long been one of my favorite outdoor pastimes. The flash of brilliant color and raucous cackle of a rooster pheasant bursting from dense cover is enough to make even the most seasoned hunter giddy with excitement. I’ve hunted these birds for decades, and it’s a sight and sound that still captivates me. Read more

Your Colorado Waterfowl Hunting Resource Guide

Excitement, adventure, beautiful scenery—that’s what hunting in Colorado is truly about. And there’s no better way to experience all three than waterfowl hunting. Watching the sunrise over the river; sharing good conversation with friends in a duck blind; listening to wing beats as a flock of mallards circle your decoys; watching your bird dog make the perfect water retrieve. Waterfowl hunting provides the ultimate way to connect with nature and immerse yourself in the Colorado outdoors.

Whether you’re a beginner who’s looking to experience your first hunt or a seasoned veteran who has been away from the duck blind for a while, there has never been a better time to hunt ducks and geese in Colorado. The following 12 resources and tips will help you get the most out of your hunting experience this season:

1. Record Duck Populations Await Hunters in 2015

A black Lab and mallard ducks. Photo by Jerry Neal/CPW.

A black Lab and mallard ducks. Photo by Jerry Neal/CPW.

For Colorado waterfowl hunters, 2015 could be a banner year. Thanks to unusually wet weather and ideal nesting conditions across the Continental United States and Canada, nationwide duck populations have soared to the highest numbers in 60 years. Mallards, the most popular duck among Colorado hunters, posted a breeding population of 11.6 million birds—an all-time record! With epic numbers of ducks likely to pass through the state this winter, there has never been a better time to dust off the decoys, grab the Labrador and high-tail-it to your favorite warm-water slough, river, lake or reservoir.

Read more

Moose on the Loose: Why Are Colorado’s Shiras Moose Showing Up in Front Range Suburbs?

A cow moose rests on a lawn in Lakewood. Photo by CPW.

A cow moose rests on a lawn in Lakewood. Photo by CPW.

In this segment of “Ask the Biologist,” Colorado Outdoors Online reader Carol Metz asks:

Question: “Why are moose showing up in residential areas along the Front Range?”

Last week, Arvada and Lakewood residents got quite the surprise when two Shiras moose sauntered into town. Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers were able to tranquilize the rogue animals and safely relocate them to more remote habitat in South Park. However, local residents are curious as to why moose appear to be vamoosing the marshy wetlands of Colorado’s mountain parks and are now exploring suburbia.

CPW Biologist Shannon Schaller. Photo by Jerry Neal/CPW.

CPW Biologist Shannon Schaller. Photo by Jerry Neal/CPW.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife Biologist Shannon Schaller explains some of the reasons why moose are expanding their range, why urban sightings may become more common and also offers a few tips on how to play it safe around these large, powerful animals.


“There are several reasons why we are seeing more moose along Colorado’s Front Range. Moose are a pioneering-type animal and adapt to a variety of habitats. With their size and forage demands, moose typically travel within a home range of 3-6 miles. However, they seasonally wander much farther searching for food and available habitat, which occasionally brings them into suburban areas.

Additionally, Colorado’s moose population is expanding statewide. In fact, our moose population is doing so well that it’s growing more rapidly than in most other states. As the moose population grows, moose will continue to move out of the core locations where they were initially introduced (North Park, Grand Mesa) and into adjacent areas that may provide suitable habitat—including towns and suburbs. Many times these wandering moose will move back out of suburban areas on their own in a matter of a few days or a week. However, wildlife officers may decide to relocate a moose if there is the potential that the animal may be harmed by vehicles, harassed by pets or if it poses a threat to human safety. Read more

Fishing Close to Home: Northern Front Range Rivers, Lakes and Ponds

There is no denying northern Colorado is an incredible place to call home.

The golden triangle of Fort Collins, Loveland and Windsor has routinely been recognized among the top five best places to live in the United States. The area is the largest producer of beer in a state considered the “Napa Valley” of craft brewing. The elaborate biking system, with 310 miles of trails, recently placed Fort Collins at No. 11 among the nation’s most biker-friendly cities. Finally, two local restaurants — Jay’s Bistro in Fort Collins and Chimney Park Bistro in Windsor — were recognized among the nation’s top 100 restaurants.

That is quite an impressive list, but there is an additional award of which the golden triangle is just as deserving.

The World Fishing Network recently announced a competition to crown a number of U.S. cities as America’s Ultimate Fishing Towns. It is a pretty easy argument as to why the local communities in northern Colorado within the Big Thompson and Poudre drainages should once again top the ranks. I present exhibits 1 through 5 as evidence of the area’s superior position as Fishing Town USA:

1. Big Thompson River

A Big Thompson rainbow caught on a dry fly. Photo by Iolanthe Culjak.

A Big Thompson rainbow caught on a dry fly. Photo by Iolanthe Culjak.

The upper section of the river between Idlewilde and Olympus dams has largely not been impacted by whirling disease, a parasite that decimated the rainbow trout population in the Poudre River during the mid-1990s. The Big T remains among Colorado’s finest wild-rainbow-fishing destinations with sections of river boasting up to 2,000 adult rainbow trout per mile. Read more

Back in the Woods: Preparing for Colorado’s Spring Turkey Season

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The spring snows continue to come but soon they will fade to the green leaves of a new season’s birth for Colorado. Turkey season is just a month away, and I find myself tuning calls, checking my old turkey vest and, at times, day dreaming about those gobbles at first light.

I thought about how we might approach this new season for the novice hunter and will work to provide some insight about what you should attempt to put in practice in the woods this spring. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the upcoming season: Read more

CPW Seeks Participants for Novice Hunter Program

Pheasant hunters on a 2014 NHP hunt. Photo by Tony Dymek/CPW.

Pheasant hunters on a 2014 NHP hunt. Photo by Tony Dymek/CPW.

Experienced hunters enter the field confident of finding game. For new hunters, gaining that confidence — knowing the where, when, how and why of hunting — is often the biggest barrier to success.

That’s the idea behind the Novice Hunter Program, a new Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) effort to help recent hunter-education graduates master the basics of pheasant hunting. The brainchild of Northeast Regional Manager Steve Yamashita and his staff, the program enjoyed a successful launch in 2013 and is currently underway for the 2014 seasons. Read more

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