Despite some rainy weather that kept some less hardy fishermen indoors, this year’s annual Dolores River Anglers Fish Derby proved to be a rousing success for the ninth consecutive year.
Taking place at Parque de Vida on June 16, the annual event began with an adult fly-fishing clinic early in the afternoon that featured four attendees. According to Dolores River Anglers’ acting president Brad Waltman, the clinic featured four attendees, including two campground hosts from the Telluride area who made the drive to Cortez.
Topics covered during the clinic included knot-tying, casting, and other fly-fishing basics and because the number of attendees was lower than previous years due to the rainy weather, plenty of one-on-one instruction took place.
“We had a family from Cortez at the clinic, and they learned how to tie knots and cast,” Waltman said. “It was also pretty cool that the (campground hosts) from Telluride were able and willing to make the drive to Cortez.
After the conclusion of the fly-fishing clinic, members of the Dolores River Anglers prepared for the club’s annual fishing derby, which took place in the Parque de Vida pond. Approximately 30 people came to fish for the 200 trout that were stocked in the pond by employees of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Waltman said that more than 100 anglers have attended the annual derby in recent years, but numbers were down this year because of the rain.
Because only 30 people attended this year’s event, every individual who fished received at least one award. Prizes were awarded for the first fish caught, the largest fish caught, and the most fish caught
Award winners included Ray Montoya, whose fish of 13½ inches was the largest fish caught. Montoya also caught the most fish – a whopping load of 15 edible trout.
Music played throughout the afternoon and into the evening ,and although algae in the pond was thick because of an issue with the pond’s aerator, smiles were aplenty and fun was had by all.
“This year was a little tougher, and the (algae) was a little tough for some of the kids who were new to fishing, but it was good for them to work through that for next time,” Waltman said. Everyone had fun though. We play music and catch fish and have a good time.”
While the annual fishing derby is the most familiar event hosted by the Dolores River Anglers, the club hosts several other annual events that focus on preserving and conserving the area’s watersheds.
The club has undertaken consistently organized stream restoration projects on Lower Taylor Creek, and club members are currently monitoring the temperatures of local streams.
Eighty-four individuals are currently registered with the club, which generally fluctuates between 70 and 90 members. Waltman emphasized that the club is always looking for new members and encouraged any individuals interested in fly fishing to join.
“The Dolores River Anglers is a good chapter of Trout Unlimited ... which is a nonprofit organization,” Waltman said. “We’ve done a lot of good for this community and this watershed.”
Those interested in joining the Dolores River Anglers can contact Waltman by phone at 970-759-0175 or club vice president Dale Smith at 970-759-3020. Individuals interested in the club can also access information at www.tu.org, which contains links to information on the Dolores River Anglers.