Trout Unlimited meeting Monday
February 2, 2011
Steamboat Springs — Representatives of Colorado Trout Unlimited will be in town Monday to introduce themselves and their interest in the Yampa and White river drainages to the Yampa Valley Fly Fishers as well as the public.
The group is wooing the fly-fishing club in the idea that it will broach the subject of its becoming a local chapter of Trout Unlimited. But Fly Fishers President Michael Turner said the public is encouraged to attend Monday's meeting to learn more about Trout Unlimited's interest in local rivers and streams.
"Trout Unlimited has been concerned for some time on behalf of water interests in your part of Colorado," Trout Unlimited's Dennis Cook said.
"The Yampa Basin is one of the relatively unfettered rivers in our state, and it's seeing increasing interest from (water) development. (Trout Unlimited) is not an anti-development organization by any stretch of the imagination, but we work to make sure the best interests of the river are taken into consideration."
Cook, who oversees chapter relations and development for Trout Unlimited in Colorado, plans to attend the fly-fishers' monthly meeting at Rex's American Grill & Bar with Colorado Trout Unlimited President Sinjin Eberle. They also will introduce the group's Yampa/White River Basin project coordinator, Brian Hodge, who has been based in Steamboat Springs since September.
"My mission is to work with private landowners to implement stream improvements that might help the landowners solve a problem that represents a win/win for them and trout habitat," Hodge said Tuesday.
Hodge said he is particularly interested in working on stream interconnectivity in California Park north of Hayden to strengthen genetic diversity in populations of native Colorado River cutthroat trout there.
Join the club?
The Yampa Valley Fly Fishers, who have existed for more than 25 years, previously considered merging with Trout Unlimited and rejected the idea because at the time, the group required local chapters to send about 50 percent of funds they raised to the national chapter.
Cook said that is no longer the case.
"We know that local chapters are most concerned with their home waters," he said. "All monies raised locally are under control of the local chapter."
The fly-fishing group is related to a 501(c)(3), the Yampa Valley Stream Improvement Charitable Trust, which was created as the fundraising arm of the fishing club. During a period of dormancy for the club, the trust came to operate more independently. It raises upward of $50,000 annually for stream improvement projects through its Golf Trout fundraiser.
Trust board member Ace McCann said Tuesday that the board was open to listening to Trout Unlimited's presentation, but he was noncommittal about the trust's outlook on merging with the national conservation organization.
— To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or e-mail tross@SteamboatToday.com