My job as a park ranger in Colorado is both rewarding and stressful. On one hand I get to protect this beautiful area and teach visits about the plants and animals that can be found here, and I also have to deal with rowdy visitors that simply don’t understand that their behavior is endangering them and the environment. While I love my job and couldn’t imagine doing anything else, I also need to take an occasional break.
Thankfully park rangers are not always “on call”, even the ones that live in the park. This means that I actually have a set schedule that includes regular days off. When I’m not patrolling the park or giving guided tours and lectures I can usually be found with a fishing pole in my hand. There are several great places to fish in the park, and some of my favorite are truly off the beaten path.
There are several reasons why I enjoy fishing, even if I don’t catch anything. The main one being that it gives me a chance to simply get away. After dealing with a constant stream of visitors day after day, I am definitely ready for some peace and quiet. I don’t have to answer any questions or tell visitors “no” and that alone more than makes up for the times I don’t catch anything. Besides, there really are times when the last thing I want for dinner is fresh fish. After a day of fishing sometimes all I want is a hot cheese pizza and a cold beer.
Like I’ve mentioned earlier I love my job. I get to spend the day in this scenic park that remains basically untouched by man. Even though I get to see it on a daily basis, it can be hard to really appreciate all of its natural beauty when you are worried a visitor might fall off a cliff. Not that it has ever happened to me, but it is just one of my many concerns. When I’m fishing I can just sit back, relax and take in the scenery. Whether it is the top of a snow covered mountain or the bank on the other side of the river, there is always a stunning sight to see. It is times like these when I get the chance to truly see how beautiful unspoiled nature can be.
Without the constant chatter of tourists I can hear the birds as they fly around. The lack of noise also encourages the park’s residents to come out. We have bears, bighorn sheep, wolves and even coyotes, which I got to see the last time I went fishing. So now you know why I enjoy fishing even when I don’t catch anything, it is the perfect way for me to relax and recharge so I am ready to go back to my job.
For a license to fish in the parks, you should check out this site.
Colorado is home to some 35 species of both cold- and warm-water fish species. Go to a sunny plains reservoir and bag yourself some walleye while trolling. Or you can catch the favorite rainbow trout in a cool Rocky Mountain stream. Colorado has over 2,000 reservoirs and lakes as well as 3,000 miles of streams where you can indulge your fishing fancy every time.
If you’re like me, you would probably be after trout. Now for trout fishing, beside trout rod and reel,it is essential that you take note of the water temperature, which has a tremendous influence on trout behavior. Water temperature determines where the trout will be located and what food they will be eating. It also dictates the aggressiveness of the trout’s feeding habits. Plenty of anglers include a water thermometer among their fishing gear so they know the temperature of the water. This also contributes to the decision making on which techniques to utilize for effective and successful fishing expeditions every time.
The spring and winter runoff will have water temperatures ranging between 40 and 42 degrees. The fish are most likely to move less so they can conserve energy when the water’s cold. Make sure you’re wading waist deep in the water with good quality waders or near the shore in wading boots. In addition, make sure to have a good quality rod and reel for short distance casting, since you will have to present your fly directly in front of the fish as they are not likely to move away or get spooked from a meal. Your fishing rod and reel should make a good presentation of your lure, which can include small nymphs.
You need dry flies when the water heats up due to daytime temperatures. Fishing is best done when the water is at its warmest, which is around 11 am to 3 pm. Trout fishing is done best when the water is between 55 and 60 degrees, which is the level at which insect and trout activity are much stronger. Aside from causing larger insects to hatch, the temperature range also incites a feeding intensity among the fish. Trout will not hesitate to move a lot further to catch a meal and they are most likely to go for dry flies and nymphs at that point. The fish is also more likely dispersed throughout the water instead of staying close in clusters in deeper niches. You can fish in any depth throughout the day in this temperature.
Anglers can also opt between freestone rivers and tailwater rivers. Free flowing freestone rivers are characterized by unregulated water flow and this is directly influenced by rainfall as well as snow melt. On the other hand, a dam or similar hydraulic structure regulates the flow of water in a tailwater river, so waterflow is consistently and predominantly controlled. Fishing in freestone rivers is easier due to less pressure on the fish but catching them will be a challenge to anglers because of the varying conditions that this type of water can present. Check out condition reports on the specific location in Colorado you will be fishing. For instance, August usually means lower water flows and crystal clear water. With the calm, clear water, fish tend to spook easily so you need stealthy and delicate cast presentation, with use of lighter leaders and tippet to make your fishing line discreet.