Steamboat group hooks up with Trout Unlimited |

Steamboat group hooks up with Trout Unlimited

Yampa Valley Fly Fishers now Chapter 929 of Trout Unlimited

A fly-fisherman pulls a trout from the waters of the Yampa River flowing through downtown Steamboat Springs. Yampa Valley Fly Fishers will host the nationally acclaimed COSTA Fly Fishing Film Tour this Friday at the Chief Theater.

— The valley's 28-year-old fly fishing club with a long tradition of helping to complete habitat improvement projects in area streams and rivers, has formally allied itself with a national conservation organization. The Yampa Valley Fly Fishers are now the Yampa Valley Fly Fishers Chapter 929 of Trout Unlimited.

"When I became president (of Yampa Valley Fly Fishers) in October 2010, I had not even thought about affiliating with" Trout Unlimited, Michael Turner wrote in a recent club newsletter. "Ironically, that was the same time that (Trout Unlimited) announced they had recently based a full-time employee in Steamboat to be their project coordinator for the Yampa/White river basins."

Brian Hodge is the Trout Unlimited employee based in Steamboat, where he is conducting research and working toward protecting streams that are critical to pure strains of Colorado River cutthroat trout.

Trout Unlimited's "mission is to 'conserve, protect and restore North America's coldwater fisheries and their watersheds,'" Turner said. "That mission is consistent with what (Yampa Valley Fly Fishers) has been doing for many years, with restoration projects such as King Solomon Creek."

Turner said the new affiliation does not change the way the club will host member events.

"There is also a social element to local chapters of (Trout Unlimited), which has been an important part of (Yampa Valley Fly Fishers) since it was founded in 1983," Turner said. "We enjoy getting together to fish and talk about fishing along with having guest speakers from various components of the fishing world at our meetings."

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In addition to Turner, other members of the board include: Vice President Bruce Carta, Secretary Scott Werner, Treasurer Chris Ricks, Lisa Ruff, Jon Wade, Scott Lewer and Webb Jones.

The name of the club was specifically chosen to avoid using the word "fishermen," signifying that women are encouraged to join the club.

Turner said it was important to his membership that any money the group raises stays in the checking account of the local chapter to be used for projects close to home. However, he added that affiliation with Trout Unlimited provides opportunities for matching funds and grants at the national and state level.

In the transition to affiliating with Trout Unlimited, the Yampa Valley Stream Improvement Charitable Trust, which had its genesis through Yampa Valley Fly Fishers and has nonprofit status, has elected to remain separate from Trout Unlimited. The Trust was instrumental to dramatic habitat improvements at the Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area on the Yampa River just upstream from Steamboat. Turner predicted that just as Yampa Valley Fly Fishers members contributed their labor to the Chuck Lewis project, they would continue to support the trust with manpower.

"I can't say enough about the time, effort and money the trust provided on that project," Turner said. "I fish the Chuck quite a bit and usually have a wonderful experience whenever I spend some time there."

Turner said that Yampa Valley Fly Fishers doesn't have a secret handshake but that they do have a simple credo: "Take care of the fish, and the fishing will take care of itself."

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email

How to join

Trout Unlimited has a reduced, introductory rate for first-time members. Visit to join for the introductory rate of $17.50. New members can click on Colorado, then scroll down to the Yampa Valley Fly Fishers-Chapter 929 to join this chapter.

Of the total, $15 will be rebated back to the local chapter.

“For a new chapter like ours, that is a big deal as we begin the process of increasing our membership and building funds for stream restoration and improvement projects,” Chapter President Michael Turner said.

Get your feet wet

The Yampa Valley Fly Fishers Chapter of Trout Unlimited will host a weekend camping and fishing trip to the White River on Aug. 20 and 21. Watch the newsletter for details at

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