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Roadless Areas Are Essential to Fly Fishing

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July 12, 2011

Roadless Areas Are Essential to Fly Fishing

By Kirk Deeter

It's an old axiom that the farther "off the beaten path" an angler goes, the better fishing that angler will find. Being willing to use your feet to put the crowds behind you is the real key to finding trout that eagerly eat dry flies.

But having those areas that are accessible only by foot is important to all anglers, whether you're an intrepid hiker or not. All anglers (and hunters) win with roadless areas, and fly fishing as we know it really depends on roadless wilderness.

Let's remember that it's called it a "beaten" path for a reason. In a culture where we wrangle over parking spots that get us 50 feet closer to the door at Wal-Mart--and while there's still appeal (for some) to the notions of "taming wild places" and "opening up the West"--it is difficult to impress upon many that the best way to honor and appreciate wild places is to leave them alone.

This is especially true in Colorado. Here, 12 of the 15 most hunted game management units (the most productive ones) have over 100,000 acres of roadless wilderness. More than 70 percent of Colorado River Cutthroat trout habitat is in roadless areas.

Build roads in these areas, and the elk migrations are hindered, the mule deer populations suffer, and the trout spawning habitat is negatively impacted. That means less hunting and fishing opportunity.

The United States Department of Agriculture is now considering the future of roadless areas in Colorado. For the next two days (before July 14th), the public can comment in favor or preserving roadless areas. You can click here  to learn more about roadless issues from Colorado Trout Unlimited. You'll also find links to make comments to USDA.

It's worth a couple minutes of your time, whether you live in Colorado or plan on visiting. Access to wild places is a great thing. But how we access those places might well be the key to just how wild they stay for future generations.

Comments (12)

Top Rated
All Comments
from jamesti wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

thanks for the heads up. i plan on fishing CO a lot so i'll get in on this comment period.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from backcast wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Good post, KD. Roadless areas are essential, I feel, not only to fly fishing, but to every form of outdoor recreation. As Aldo Leopold said, "What avail are forty freedoms without a blank spot on the map?"

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from badsmerf wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Wish there were more areas like that, but alas some people just don't care what happens to nature.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Just remember in our area, and a lot of areas now out WEST..yogie lurks in those areas! Cougars are well known to stalk hikers, and walking in 360 degree circles is damaging to rod tips. And wolves?
They run in packs, and their territory encompasses a very large area, and they soon scent humans that enter that territory. They can destroy an expensive pair of Simms waders.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from fflutterffly wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

The path least taken allows affords us a view few see.
Sayfu... I love you! What a mind. ololol but it is true. Where I live it's Rattlers and other people I worry about... even in the far-back.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from backcast wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

So, to paraphrase, Sayfu-it's "lions, tigers, and bears, oh my"-that's the first thing that pops into your head when the topic of roadless areas comes up? I now see why you fish from a boat-LOL!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Cannot agree more. Already plenty of places to drive to.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from markmarko50 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

unfortunately, I have become one of the group of sportsmen that require a bit of help accessing any good locations to hunt of fish....I am disabled...that being said...I don't want my disability to hinder efforts in saving pristine areas...I say "keep out the roads", but where they already exist put in more disabled accesses.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Flutter and Backcast...I didn't even get to the half of it. If those carnivores don't get you there's ticks in the weeds that can give you Lime Disease rendering you a vegetable, OR a mosquito bite that gives you West Nile resulting in Spinal Meningitis. Even out in the middle of the river is dangerous for some. One day I was fly fishing with the sales mgr. for ClackaCraft Boats. We were fishing in his jetboat in the SF Canyon. He didn't have an anchor system, and we roped up to a limb sticking out of the water off the main current. I was in the back casting next to the motor, and saw a water snake swimming by the back of the boat. I had no idea that Jack was deadly scared of snakes. He asked me "Where?!" and I said, "I think he climbed up the motor shaft. Jack quickly untied the rope, and ran circles in the river the boat banging into our own waves.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Paul Dunn wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Roadless areas provide not only better access to great fishing, but refuge for the entire food web and set of ecological services that create the essential gene pools for the most resilient wild salmonids and other prized game fish. Ever walked down the Illinois river in the fall to chase a steelhead? If you read this and you are able to get there, you deserve to know about it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Paul ...And an essential link to that important food chain may be you!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nyflyangler wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

Anyplace you can walk into you can probably ride into on a dirtbike. ;-)

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from jamesti wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

thanks for the heads up. i plan on fishing CO a lot so i'll get in on this comment period.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from backcast wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Good post, KD. Roadless areas are essential, I feel, not only to fly fishing, but to every form of outdoor recreation. As Aldo Leopold said, "What avail are forty freedoms without a blank spot on the map?"

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from fflutterffly wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

The path least taken allows affords us a view few see.
Sayfu... I love you! What a mind. ololol but it is true. Where I live it's Rattlers and other people I worry about... even in the far-back.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from badsmerf wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Wish there were more areas like that, but alas some people just don't care what happens to nature.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from backcast wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

So, to paraphrase, Sayfu-it's "lions, tigers, and bears, oh my"-that's the first thing that pops into your head when the topic of roadless areas comes up? I now see why you fish from a boat-LOL!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Cannot agree more. Already plenty of places to drive to.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from markmarko50 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

unfortunately, I have become one of the group of sportsmen that require a bit of help accessing any good locations to hunt of fish....I am disabled...that being said...I don't want my disability to hinder efforts in saving pristine areas...I say "keep out the roads", but where they already exist put in more disabled accesses.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Paul Dunn wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Roadless areas provide not only better access to great fishing, but refuge for the entire food web and set of ecological services that create the essential gene pools for the most resilient wild salmonids and other prized game fish. Ever walked down the Illinois river in the fall to chase a steelhead? If you read this and you are able to get there, you deserve to know about it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Paul ...And an essential link to that important food chain may be you!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nyflyangler wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

Anyplace you can walk into you can probably ride into on a dirtbike. ;-)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Just remember in our area, and a lot of areas now out WEST..yogie lurks in those areas! Cougars are well known to stalk hikers, and walking in 360 degree circles is damaging to rod tips. And wolves?
They run in packs, and their territory encompasses a very large area, and they soon scent humans that enter that territory. They can destroy an expensive pair of Simms waders.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Flutter and Backcast...I didn't even get to the half of it. If those carnivores don't get you there's ticks in the weeds that can give you Lime Disease rendering you a vegetable, OR a mosquito bite that gives you West Nile resulting in Spinal Meningitis. Even out in the middle of the river is dangerous for some. One day I was fly fishing with the sales mgr. for ClackaCraft Boats. We were fishing in his jetboat in the SF Canyon. He didn't have an anchor system, and we roped up to a limb sticking out of the water off the main current. I was in the back casting next to the motor, and saw a water snake swimming by the back of the boat. I had no idea that Jack was deadly scared of snakes. He asked me "Where?!" and I said, "I think he climbed up the motor shaft. Jack quickly untied the rope, and ran circles in the river the boat banging into our own waves.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

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