Salomone: A unique learning opportunity |

Salomone: A unique learning opportunity

Michael Salomone
Vail Valley Anglers
Winter fishing in Gypsum.
Courtesy photo

There is a unique opportunity for local anglers to help Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and learn about our beautiful Eagle River at the same time. Kendall Bakich, Aquatic Biologist for the CPW is looking for volunteers to help facilitate an electroshock survey of the Eagle River. An angler will find no better time to learn about our local fishery, speak with an authority on the subject and see first hand just what the Eagle River has to offer in terms of trout.

It’s our water. The Eagle River is a special place. Anyone who has experienced the beauty of the Eagle River understands the stewardship it requires. Those conservation efforts are not easily achieved but honestly obtainable when a large number of anglers participate.

The benefits from volunteering to assist in a fish survey will increase your angling success on the Eagle River. Anglers learn where fish are in greater concentration within a course of the river.

And Kendall can tell you why they are in a specific area at this time of year. Anglers will also benefit from determining the common insects the fish are feeding on regularly.

But the river often doesn’t open itself up for such an event. Therefore, local anglers are asked to assist in waking her up, so to speak. Kendall and the CPW are asking for volunteers to come break ice in closed off areas to be able to complete the fish monitoring procedure. The survey will be from Red Cliff to Avon, a notoriously cold section of the river, despite our recent warm temperatures.

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On Saturday there will be an ice breaking party with half-day shifts needing to be filled. Depending on the ice coverage and how progress goes on Saturday there may be an additional half day on Sunday to fully prepare the river for the survey. The weather is expected to be seasonably pleasant. However, anyone who has spent time in Colorado during the spring knows to be prepared for anything. Pack your gear accordingly.

The CPW recommends felt soled or studded boots for the day. Polarized sunglasses always make wading easier, especially in adverse conditions like slush and ice glazed rocks. Dress for warmth as volunteers will be immersed in the frigid waters during the survey. Fleece and down will be a necessity in the more shaded sections of the river. Even if the sun is shining, shadows carry a cold that’s hard to avoid.

As anglers, volunteers should be paying attention to where the majority of fish are being collected. The size of the fish within a specific area is another key point to note. And the specific trout species located in the survey area. If there are more cutthroat trout found I want to take a mental note of the location for my angling endeavors in the future. Knowing areas with cutts and brookies can make a difference for an angler trying to scratch off a slam. Yes, the Eagle River holds them all: Rainbow, brown, brook and cutthroat trout.

There are several different types of trout in the Eagle River.
Courtesy photo

I have cultivated a special love and affection for our sweet Eagle River. Having lived on the bank of the Eagle since 1999 and guiding on her since 2002 my conservation efforts run deep. There is a personal obligation on my part to watch over the river, to play a role in conservation efforts and to educate anglers when it is vulnerable. When conditions are unfavorable like low flow levels and high water temperatures, anglers need to know.

Kendall Bakich can be reached by phone at 970-947-2924 and e-mail at (if, as a conscientious angler, you want to volunteer). The ice party is scheduled for Saturday and the actual electro-survey will be conducted on April 5-6. Consider being a part of the watchdogs that give back to the river that means so much to everyone in the Vail area. Learn a little more about the fishery we enjoy all year round. And make contacts with the people who ensure our angling remains as world class as our skiing.


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