Golf Trout fundraiser in Steamboat to aid trout habitat

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— Sportsmen and women from across the country have gathered in Steamboat Springs this weekend for an annual fundraising competition that combines the dissimilar sports of golf and fly fishing — The Yampa Valley Fly Fisher Golf Trout Tournament.

The logo of a man in chest waders wielding a fly rod like a three-wood says it all. The teams of contestants are out all day today catching, measuring and releasing trout all across Routt County on stretches of private water, the use of which has been donated by owners. Teams will score points for the number of fish, size of fish and diversity of species caught. All of the teams are escorted by a professional fishing guide from the Yampa Valley. The day is followed by dinner and a raffle at Marabou Ranch.

The action shifts Sunday to Catamount Ranch & Club where the teams do their best to turn fishies into birdies.

The proceeds of the tournament, now in its eleventh year, have been put to work leveraging grants to carry out habitat improvements like the multiyear effort to transform the stretch of the Yampa River in the Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area into a viable trout fishery.

“The tournament has raised more than $50,000 a year for the last three or four years,” Scott Lewer, one of the organizers, said. “And each year, we present a $5,000 scholarship to a graduating senior who is interested in studying fisheries biology, water conservation” or another related field.

This weekend, Jim Curd is running the tournament on behalf of longtime director Jim Zuccone. The proceeds are managed through a well-established nonprofit, the Yampa Valley Stream Improvement Charitable Trust.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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