Let the Summer Season Begin

Readers, it’s all hands-on deck!  We are just kicking off the summer season with our amazing interpretive programs that I myself and the other park rangers from the interpretation team are running.  With the opening of Trail Ridge Road, the huge influx of visitors that are enjoying their time in the east side are now making waves and picking up the activity over on the west side which has been great for all of us, considering the west side is just as beautiful as the other.  Calling all Jr. Anglers! Our 3rd annual fly fishing clinics have began running again and have been a big success with the kids and families at the park.  Working alongside our wonderful Volunteers in Parks (VIPs) and our fishing expert, Ranger Ed, we as a team have been working together to run the weekly program efficiently and smoothly.  We start off our mornings by loading the government car with the four of us and driving over to Holzwarth Historic Site.  We then load the trunk with all the fly rods, NPS canopy, tables, and educational booklets and badges for the little Jr. Anglers which are over in the Louise homestead cabin.  Driving back over half a mile from the bridge, we park the car off the road and set up off the bank of the Colorado River, which gives for an amazing view.  Once all the rods and tables are all set up, we have our office for the day.  Promoting the fishing clinic everyday while visitors are at the Kawuneeche Visitor Center, before we knew it, we had huge waves of families arrive at our drop-in programs.  We first educate the families about our native Greenback Cutthroat trout and how the Brook and Brown trout have driven away their populations which is what visitors can fish for while visiting the park.  Here at the park, visitors are allowed to catch and keep up to 18 Brook trout but there are enforced regulations on catch and release when it comes to greenbacks because the idea is to preserve the natives and fish out the non-native species here at Rocky.  Then we share to our visitors about the differences between spin rod fishing and fly fishing which is preferred for mountain streams and lakes.  By explaining the importance of fly fishing to mimic the trout’s favorite meals, visitors quickly understand the need to adapt to changes and therefore give fishing with a different approach and therefore a greater appreciation for the sport.  Once the visitors have a general understanding of what fly fishing is, we teach them how to safely cast a fly rod and use the momentum of their weighted line.  All the kids get the hang of it and have such a fun time learning how to fly fish which for me has been the greatest joy and is what I look forward to the most.  Seeing their smiles after instructing them how to cast is such a rewarding feeling and is a teaching moment that inspires me that I am one day cut out to work for the park service one day!  See you soon, readers!

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