Author: Will Rice
Question & Answer with Aaron Kindle - The Roadless Warrior
Trout’s had a chance to fish a few headwater creeks with Aaron Kindle, who works on the Sportsmen’s Conservation Project for Trout Unlimited. Aaron is a fishy guy and is also leading the charge to protect fish species and habitat here in Colorado. He will be with us here in the shop to give a FREE clinic on exploring Roadless Areas on July 19th. Aaron spent a few minutes giving Trout’s the lowdown on Roadless areas and why they are important to anglers and other Coloradans.
Q: Tell us a bit about your job.
A: I primarily work in three areas. 1) Backcountry and Roadless Areas. Recently I’ve been analyzing Colorado’s Roadless Rule and language to ensure it meets TU’s standards, and also create general public awareness about our Roadless Areas. 2) Travel Management Planning 3) Oil and Gas - as the industry expands, Trout Unlimited works with companies and land owners to ensure they are award of the fishery, the impacts to habitat and they plan accordingly. In general, I’m primarily concerned about keeping a healthy fish and wildlife habitat and ensuring wild areas stay preserved.
Q: Why are Roadless Areas (RAs) important?
A: RA’s are important because a disproportionate amount of native cutthroat trout habitat is located in these areas. They are also important because the lakes, streams, creeks, that reside in this area feed the major, more popular watersheds like the South Platte, Arkansas, and Yampa. For example, 76% of the Colorado River Cutthroat trout habitat is in Roadless Areas. When people think about protecting Colorado native trout, they need to think about protecting Roadless areas. To take it another step further, people need to understand there is a connection between the strong and healthy fisheries we have on the major river systems, the reason those fisheries thrive is because of the cold water systems that feed them. Those creeks and lakes are all in Roadless areas.
Q: How does someone go about researching these zones for fishing options?
A: The first stop should be to www.coroadlessheritage.org. This site has a lot of good background information to get you started. After that, another great resource to check out is http://www.roadless.net/sections/roadlessareas/areas.htm. Roadless.net has a lot of great maps and other tactical resources. Lastly, choose a major fishery or watershed that you like to fish and follow it up to its’ headwaters. Go upstream on a map. There is a high likelihood that your favorite fishery in Colorado has its’ headwaters located in a RA. Many of these lakes, creeks and streams have native cutthroat trout and potentially other species. Go and experiment and explore.
Q: How do you think this year’s low water flows and lack of snowpack will impact RAs? How should people factor this in if they are trying to fish an RA this summer?
A: It is definitely a low water year so all of the same rules apply - you need to think about water temperatures and the well being of the fish. That said, there are some really neat lakes to explore with some really big fish and also sight fishing opportunities. One other point I’d like to mention is to be very mindful of how you use fires and/or stoves in the backcountry. If these RAs burn, it will really impact the fishery in a negative way.
For more information about Roadless Areas here in Colorado or to hear about tactics you can use this summer, come to Trout’s on July 19th to hear Aaron speak. You’ll also have an opportunity to ask questions, talk strategy and tactics and also test out the gear required to fish some of these more technical fisheries.