Fly Fishing in the Pandemic Era Poses Tough Challenges and Future Closures

Park County May Shut the Door to Out-of-Town Visitors

~ by Bob Volpe ~

Whether or not to fish during this pandemic, and if you can even access areas to fish, is becoming a growing issue.

Pikes Peak Chapter of Trout Unlimited Vice President Alan Peak had a few things to say about this controversial topic. He stated that within the Trout Unlimited board of directors, opinions are divided.

Some on the board are disturbed that their rights are being infringed upon, while others are subscribing to the stay-at-home policy. The organization has not taken an official stance either way.

Peak did state his personal view. He said, “My personal thoughts are, staying hyper local is important. Staying within the area, but it’s up to the individual.” Peak, who is an avid fly fisherman, does intend to continue fishing, but says he is limiting his travel to no more than 20 miles from his home in Woodland Park. He said, “I can fish within 20 miles of my house all summer long and not get bored. Twenty-miles is something I think is reasonable to stay local.”

Another factor affecting your fishing experience is the closure of some areas. According to a recent press release from Park County, “The coronavirus-related death of a Florida man visiting Park County has authorities considering closing the county to visitors. Summit and Gunnison counties have already closed to visitors.”

“Park County Commissioners will meet virtually for a special meeting at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday when they will discuss the proposed public health order. This proposal is already on the schedule for consideration during a meeting the commissioners have with the county health board. The proposal includes restricting non-resident road access and closure of all short-term rentals.

This decision could impact the future pursuits of area anglers.

Park County is home to the fabled “Dream Stream” and this time of the year is the time when rainbow trout spawn out of Elevenmile Reservoir and into the Dream Stream. Historically, this is when fishermen from all over the world descend on the Dream Stream to try to catch the fish of a lifetime.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has also taken steps to close areas to visitors. According to the CPW website, “Effective March 26, 2020: Colorado State Parks remain open, but Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) will close all playgrounds, picnic areas, campgrounds, dispersed camping and camping facilities (including yurts and cabins) at Colorado’s state parks as well as camping at state wildlife areas. Colorado Parks and Wildlife visitor centers, service centers and offices are also continuing to restrict access to the public. Restrictions and closures remain subject to change.”

To further confound the situation, every fly shop in Teller, Park, and Douglas County are closed until further notice.  So unless you tie your own flies, your stock of buggy patterns will be depleted quickly.