On Monday afternoon, a government research team trekked through the sun-speckled woods above the Stephen C. West Ice Arena. The climbing is tiring on a hot day, and loose scree slid underfoot as the investigators scrambled up piles of mine tailings. Walking through the forest, they stepped on crackling pine needles and jumped over rivulets of bright orange water. The mission is to find out where this water came from and where it’s going.
The team is injecting fluorescent, non-toxic, green dye into water that flows into the collapsed mine shaft on Illinois Gulch Road above Breckenridge. They’re then observing and sampling the water downstream to see how much of the water filters through the mine and emerges on the other side. The hill has been mined all the way through and is rife with tailings and collapsed mine shafts. Contaminated water — a toxic tangerine from heavy iron — trickles out of the mine openings and along the ground, staining the dirt and rocks in its path.Learn more »
Few know the waters of Lake Dillon better than Erin Sirek. As soon as the alpine reservoir thaws, she can be found manning her boat along its many inlets.
“You come there in the morning before it gets busy and you just watch the birds,” she said. “Where else do you see bald eagles every day? Osprey will dive in next to your boat and pull fish out of the water.”Learn more »
Whether you’re captivated by the beauty of open-water kayaking on Lake Dillon or exhilarated by heart-stopping Class IV and V rapids of Ten Mile Creek, kayaking experts Matti Wade of Ten Mile Creek Kayaks, Kyle McKenzie of Kayak Lake Dillon and Javi Placer of Stand Up Paddle Colorado all agree that strength and flexibility in upper body and core are essential for efficient and powerful paddling.
Try the following seven yoga poses to create strong strokes and increase your range of motion, allowing you to spend more time on the water and — most importantly — remain safe under the most demanding river conditions.Learn more »
On the banks of the Tenmile Creek between Frisco and Copper Mountain sits a lone park bench. It’s found about two miles downriver from Officer’s Gulch in a section local kayakers know simply as Middle Canyon, placed in a peaceful opening surrounded by thick aspens, pines and brush, where cyclists often stop for rest after weaving and winding through the towering peaks of the Tenmile Range. On the opposite bank, a wall of underbrush even manages to silence all but the loudest, rudest semi-trucks on Interstate 70, which is no more than 100 feet from the water. It’s the very definition of serene.
And then there’s the creek. From our perch in an eddy on the I-70 side, the roiling, broiling rapids look more like lava than whitewater. It reminds me of playing tag on a jungle gym as a kid: step in the lava (aka ground) and you’re out. Only here, on June 8 in the thick of a six-mile float down nasty Tenmile Creek, the consequences of a dip in the lava are much steeper than sitting out for a round of tag.Learn more »
In The Field: Memorial Day fishing report for Blue River and South Platte at Maria Ranch, Spinney ReservoirMay 30, 2016 —
Springtime means change for me. In the past two weeks, I’ve only skied twice, but I’ve played three rounds of golf at the Keystone River Course and fished eight days. When I was on the rivers, I looked for some of our early caddis and mayfly hatches. The following is what I have encountered on the local waters.
I’ve been up on the Colorado River looking for the stonefly hatch, my favorite. It’s not yet ready but soon to come. I’ve also been looking for that blanket of caddis on the Arkansas, as well as our local green drakes and rusty duns on the Blue River. It has just been too cold. I’m out nearly every day, anyway.Learn more »
It’s sailing season in the High Country.
Like clockwork, Memorial Day Weekend brings the return of sailing, canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding to waterways across Summit County, from Green Mountain Reservoir north of Silverthorne to big, bad Dillon Reservoir in the heart of the county.Learn more »
Tenmile Creek is the polar opposite of Water World.
Down on Pecos Street in Denver, the largest water park in Colorado is gearing up for the summer season with water slides, wave pools and everything else you’d expect at a manmade water playground. There are dangers to be sure, but everything at Water World is overseen by well-trained lifeguards and managed by tons upon tons of machinery, all designed to keep guests as safe as possible. All you need is sunscreen and a decent breaststroke.Learn more »
Commercial rafting remained a strong economic driver in Colorado’s high country last year with the state’s outfitters logging more than a half million user days for the sixth time in a decade.
The 508,728 commercial raft trips on 29 stretches of Colorado rivers generated $162.6 million in economic impact in 2015, setting a new record just above the economic benefit estimated for the 2014 season.Learn more »
Mother Nature isn’t quite ready to let Lake Dillon sailing season get started. But soon enough.
At Dillon Marina and its sister south across the pond, Frisco Bay Marina, sailing season is on temporary hold until the majority of ice and snow has cleared from docks and slips. Exact opening dates depend wholly on the weather, according to Dillon Marina manager Bob Evans, even though boats at his docks currently sit in unfrozen water. It all comes down to safety — property and otherwise.Learn more »
The major water bodies around Summit County and throughout most of the state are in strong shape after a slightly above-average winter season. However, the region is far from out of the woods on the matter of water in the West.
That was the thrust of speakers at Summit’s 23rd annual State of the River meeting on Wednesday evening, May 4 at the Silverthorne Pavilion — the first of six such meetings along the Colorado River Basin. With the Western Slope encompassing an average of 28 percent of the state’s water and spanning 15 counties, including Summit, this meeting of water wonks often sets the tone on consumption strategy and planning for rest of the year.Learn more »
SUMMIT COUNTY — You’d better believe it’s whitewater season. And the best is still yet to come.
Over the weekend, local company Performance Tours Rafting and several other outfitters started running tours on the Arkansas River and perpetually popular Browns Canyon route, found in the Buena Vista area about an hour south of Summit County. Flows there are 311 cfs (cubic feet per second), which is about 200 cfs down from the early-May average of 522 cfs. But, warming temperatures and plenty of runoff are expected to bring new conditions almost daily.Learn more »
SUMMIT COUNTY — Drew Fontana has one piece of advice for anyone tempted to walk out on Lake Dillon right now: don’t do it.
“It’s hard to give solid advice on ice because you can’t really say it’s ever safe,” said Fontana, captain of the all-volunteer Summit County Water Rescue Team. “With the warming temperatures there will be variable conditions, and right now, the best thing to do is just stay off the ice.”Learn more »
Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the July 31 edition of the Summit Daily.
It’s an eerily calm day at the Dillon Marina, and Bob Evans is praying for something Summit sailors rarely need: A good, strong wind.Learn more »
Just 24 leg-cramping hours from now, longtime Summit County resident Koreen Padjen will step off the trans-Atlantic flight from New York City to Jakarta, Indonesia to spend early December rafting a subtropical river.
But the river is not just any river, and it’s far from just another float trip. She joins seven elite members with the USA Women’s Raft Team (aka The Red Ladies) for the 2015 World Rafting Championships on the Citarik River, found just outside the city of Sukabumi in West Java.Learn more »
Rain can be an angler’s best friend.
After a few solid weeks of summery weather, Mother Nature reared her fickle head over the holiday weekend and brought nearly a week of consistent rain to Summit County. Each morning and afternoon brought at least a minor drizzle — more often than not it became a legitimate downpour — and unlike a typical July in the Colorado Rockies the clouds rarely disappeared. For hikers, bikers, rock climbers and just about everyone else, it was a long and lonesome week spent inside.Learn more »
After more than six years of planning, the Colorado River is home to a brand-new whitewater park, and it’s much more than a pretty plaything.
On July 13, officials from Grand, Summit and Eagle counties will host a grand opening for the Gore Canyon Whitewater Park, a $1.7 million project found within steps of the popular Pumphouse Campground and recreation area outside of Kremmling. The ceremony is a bona fide celebration for river rats, with kayak and stand-up paddleboard demonstrations from American Whitewater veterans, along with just about anyone who wants to test their mettle on the new waves.Learn more »
A little over halfway through a raft trip on the Lower Blue River, 8-year-old Remi Linderman got her first taste of Class III rapids and let out a scream somewhere between shock and giddy excitement.
“That was cold!” Remi said and turned to her mom, Julie. The two from Dallas were sitting on the front bench of a bright-blue inflatable raft when the relatively mellow waters turned choppy. As the raft rounded a corner, it entered the first set of rapids spread across nearly 3 miles of the Blue between Silverthorne and Green Mountain Reservoir.Learn more »
On a summer day at Dillon Reservoir, land and water come together to create Summit County’s most iconic recreational playground. Known fondly as “Lake Dillon,” it’s one of the only places in this land-locked state where mountain sports are inspired by a combination of bikes, boats and tiki bars.
“We call Lake Dillon the ‘Tahoe of Colorado,’” said Javier Placer, co-founder of Stand Up Paddle Colorado, following a sunny Sunday lunch at Pug Ryan’s Lakeside Tiki Bar at the Dillon Marina. This is the third year the paddleboard and kayak rental company has been out on Dillon Reservoir.Learn more »
For the first time in about two decades, rainbow trout are successfully reproducing in Colorado’s waters.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife fisheries biologist Jon Ewert said after years of strategic stocking, he recently has seen wild-hatched rainbows in Summit County’s Blue River, especially north of Green Mountain Reservoir.Learn more »
It’s hard to pin down exactly what went wrong when I accidentally flipped my kayak for the first time and, well, got pinned down.
Here’s how it went down. I was at North Pond with another never-ever boater, Ken Joel of Denver, trying to learn the basics of whitewater kayaking. Our instructor-slash-lifeguard Matti Wade of Ten Mile Creek Kayaks had led us through the basics of paddling and turning (more on that to come) when it came to the first big hurdle for any newbie: rolling.Learn more »
The Mohawk Lake Trail is perfect hiking for beginners and veterans alike
Lower Mohawk Lake is located in the Spruce Creek Trailhead. This Breckenridge hiking trail features a lake that is nestled in a deep amphitheater formed by Pacific Peak, 13,950 feet, and Mount Helen, 13,165 feet, in the Ten Mile Range. The hike is an intermediate ascent of 1,400 vertical feet, with a total distance of 6.6 miles from the Spruce Creek Trailhead. The elevation of Spruce Creek Trailhead is 10,400 feet, a thousand feet below tree line, while Mohawk Lakes are surrounded by rocky tundra and krumholz. The Mohawk Lakes Trail provides access to a hiking trails with waterfalls, rich fields of wildflowers, and relics of the mining era.
Allow at least five hours to explore the area and plan to descend in early afternoon to avoid the frequent thunderstorms that tend to form over the mountains later in the day. Carry two bottles of water to remain hydrated during the hike or pack a water filter to take water from the stream. Be prepared to find a crowd of hikers on this popular Breckenridge hiking trail, accompanied by many free-roaming hunting dogs.Learn more »
River fishing continues to be excellent and should continue until we have a cold snap that starts icing things up. Tailwater sections and the lower Colorado and Roaring Fork often offer open-water opportunities most of the winter.
The Colorado from Parshall downstream has been offering good fishing with a variety of patterns. Midges and mayflies are the primary surface action, although attractor pattern continue to trigger strikes (consider terrestrials to be attractors at this time). Nymphing, especially with eggs or San Juan worms is effective. Fishing deeper water, especially when stained with streamers is a great tactic right now. That makes the lower Colorado and Roaring Fork great sections to fish when the weather is clear. As most river sections are in the 40s for temperatures, the best action is often in the afternoons once things have warmed slightly.Learn more »
With temperatures dropping, it won’t be long before folks start encountering iced-over waters. Until then, it’s a good time to enjoy some great fall fishing. As waters cool, fishing typically picks up as the fish feel an urge to fatten up as much as possible before nature puts a lid on their home.
Williams Fork Reservoir has been producing the occasional northern pike, but the best action has been trolling pop gear with a worm harness for rainbow trout. Run a second line with a small, bright spoon and you have a good shot at an occasional kokanee.Learn more »
Rivers and streams are running clear, low and fishing very well. With the cooling water temperatures, look for fish not in spawn to start moving to deeper runs in preparation for winter. Fishing is typically better in the afternoons and evenings after the waters have had a chance to warm. Streamers, especially woolly buggers, which can be dead drifted are effective under low light conditions. On cloudy afternoons expect to encounter some dry fly action from blue-wing olives and midges. Attractor patterns are also still effective.
Kokanee action remains hit or miss at Wolford Mountain Reservoir. Be aware that the boat ramp is scheduled to close Oct. 13. Trollers have been having good success on small rainbows.Learn more »
Ben Luck, suffering from hypothermia and altitude sickness, was airlifted to the U.S. embassy in Dushanbe, the Tajik capital, said Julia Klema, the sister of two Durango brothers, also among the kayakers.
Klema said her father, Tom, was notified of the rescue at 3 a.m. today. The search for the three men was coordinated by GEOS Alliance, an emergency-response service, which alerted her family of the men’s call for help on Monday.
Cooper Lambla and Charles King are the other members of the expedition. The men dropped off Sunday in Badakhshan National Park from where they were going to hike to the Muksu River for a five-day run.Learn more »
Fishing rivers in fall is second only to catching them just before spring runoff. Angler pressure is low, and the fish begin feeding heavily before winter. Plus, brown trout are getting increasingly aggressive with spawning just around the corner.
The Eagle River is running clear and fishing well. Morning has been best for dry fly action. Blue winged olives, midges and caddis are good choices, but don’t overlook ants when there’s a mild breeze. Streamers and egg patterns will become increasingly effective the next few weeks.Learn more »
Imagine spending 90 days kayaking 2,400 miles alone and without support on the two main tributaries to the lower Colorado River, with only enough gear that can be stuffed into the small boat, and being the first man to ever complete such a trip.
Bryan Brown, 57, of Los Angeles, Calif., recently completed the first ever source-to-mouth solo trip of the two primary tributaries that form the lower Colorado River, according to his own research, in just longer than four months.Learn more »
For the most part, the rivers continue to fish well and, short of an afternoon storm, are running clear. Increased flows on the Blue River below Dillon have made it more comfortable to fish and brought about a bit of a Mysis “hatch.” Keep in mind that with each passing week, brown trout will become aggressive and streamers will become increasingly effective. Fall is a great time for caddis, terrestrials and attractor patterns. Once we have a frost, the terrestrials will be less effective.
Williams Fork Reservoir has been fishing well for small pike, most less than 24 inches long. Fly-fishers using streamers along edges (weeds or drop-offs) will do well. As the waters begin to cool, concentrate on fishing in the afternoons and don’t be afraid to fish waters up to 20 feet deep for northern pike. Note that the boat ramp is closed Tuesday through Thursday.Learn more »
Summit County Fishing Report: Kokanee salmon are comingSeptember 11, 2013 —
Afternoon rains have been messing up various sections of river across the state. When faced with off-colored waters, increase your fly size and go to darker patterns. It’s easier for the fish to spot your offerings that way.
The increased releases to the Blue River, below Dillon Reservoir, have resulted in additional releases of Mysis shrimp; consequently, fishing with small translucent or whitish patterns has been effective. Midges also continue to be effective. Further downstream, work terrestrials in the afternoons, and if the rains come be ready to switch over to streamers.
Fall is the time when many anglers look forward to the kokanee runs, which will begin over the next couple of weeks. While many feel snagging (where allowed) is the way to go, in truth kokanee will readily strike flies and lures even though they aren’t feeding. In lakes, small, brightly colored streamers, spoons or jigs (pink, orange, red and chartreuse) will often elicit a strike. If faster retrieves aren’t working and fish are present, try working weighted flies or jigs below a float. In streams, many anglers feel egg patterns are the way to go. However, many a kokanee has been caught using more traditional fare, such as pheasant tails, prince nymphs and San Juan worms.
Look for fish to start showing up in the Dream Stream (catch and release only), Blue River and Gunnison River over the next few weeks. Any reservoir with an inlet is likely to see kokanee showing there, including the inlets to Dillon Reservoir. Just remember to check regulations before snagging. And one last point: If snagging is permitted, paint your hooks red or orange or add a bit of yarn to them. It will increase your success rate.
Wolford Reservoir is seeing kokanee starting to stage along the dam. Now is a good time to use electronics to locate schools and then work small jigs in those areas. Pink has been a good color choice. The ramp continues to be fully functional for all boats, though many anglers are wishing the skier traffic would abate.
Speaking of ramps, Williams Fork Reservoir’s ramp is closed to launching Tuesday through Thursday. Elevenmile Reservoir remains full and is popular with boaters. However, most are reporting slow action, both from the shore and trolling. Those doing best are napping during the day and fishing late afternoon into the night. For faster action, head up to Jefferson Lake, which was recently stocked; anglers are having good success on a variety of baits, and late afternoon is producing well with small flies behind a bubble.
Dave Coulson is the Colorado state editor for www.fishexplorer.com. He contributes a weekly fishing report to the Summit Daily.