There is something special about spending the day outside when it’s cold and snowing. Whether you are skiing or hiking or fishing, you feel as if you are connected with the world.

I went fishing today at Boxwood Gulch near Bailey, CO. This is an area of the S. Platte River that is privately owned and thus you cannot fish there without special permission from the owner or group of owners. I was able to fish there because the Blue Quill Angler Fly Shop in Evergreen has a relationship with the owners, which occasionally allows them to bring in anglers to fish these waters.
What is unique about private waters is that they are fished significantly less than the rivers that have public access. This is the first time I have fished “private waters.” As you would suspect, the fish are plentiful and huge. Fortunately I had a lot of help from two of the guides from the Blue Quill – Pat Dorsey and Jay Core. For me, the challenge was not getting the fish on my line but trying to land them (and then release them.) Doing battle with a 25 inch fish that weighs around 8 pounds is quite a challenge. Even at this time of the year, the fish are still feeding fairly actively although the water temperature was only around 40 degrees. As the winter months approach, they kind of shut down and only feed during the warmest hours of the day.One of the things I didn’t know about fishing was that there are very few rivers where the fish are native. For the most part the Division of Wildlife stocks our rivers and lakes. I have not yet visited a hatchery but am interested in finding out about how this all works.

The subject of water rights is an interesting topic. In Colorado, The Colorado Division of Water Resources is responsible for administering water rights (click here to get a history on water rights including the doctrine of first-in-time, first-in-right.) The Colorado Foundation for Water Education has published a Citizen’s Guide to Colorado Water Law. The whole topic is very complicated but important to understand as we face climate changes and drought.

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