For more information or to volunteer on upcoming projects contact us at

Ongoing projects

  • South Arkansas River Re-naturalization / Ecosystems Learning Center
  • Monarch Park Ponds – Habitat Enhancement and ADA accessible fishing pier construction. Anticipated completion: Fall 2024
  • River Watch – Monthly water quality monitoring in collaboration with GARNA and CPW. Volunteers needed!
  • High Country Cutthroat Stocking – Annually in cooperation with CPW
  • Electrofishing Surveys – Annually in cooperation with CPW
  • Youth Education (see Education Page)
  • Monofilament collection tubes: 24 tubes at 13 locations from Salida to Leadville. We are always looking for volunteers to help empty these tubes on a regular schedule!

Recent Completed Projects

  • Fourmile Creek Beaver Dam Analogs – in collaboration with Envision Chaffee County and USFS
  • Otero Pump Station Fishing Access Fence Ladder
  • Habitat Structures built and installed in local lakes in cooperation with CPW
  • Arkansas River Habitat Improvement Project (Canon City) – (CTU’s Exemplary Project Award)
  • Cottonwood Creek Habitat Restoration – west of Buena Vista at state fishing lease (CTU exemplary project award)
  • South Fork of the South Arkansas Restoration (west of Maysville) – in conjunction with USFS .
  • South Arkansas river stream health assessment
  • Fremont Pass Habitat Restoration (north of Leadville)
  • Hayden Creek-EAS
  • High Country Cutthroat Stocking
  • Knight Imler Fence Maintenance
  • Reddy Stream Fencing to protect stream from cattle – Leadville
  • Eleven Mile Reach (Leadville) – mine tailing restoration
  • Colorado Gulch (Leadville EAS) – habitat restoration
  • Dill Lease Trail Maintenance
  • Colorado Parks & Wildlife requested fence stiles at some river access points
  • Kerber Creek restoration

  • High country greenback stocking 2019 (10/27/2019)

    We had the bi-annual high country fish stocking on September 25th, 2019. It was coordinated by Michael Atwood from Colorado Parks & Wildlife. We had ten volunteers who (some in teams, some solo) stocked 11,000 fingerlings into about nine creeks. CPW stocked another location on horseback.

    Chalk Creek – 2,000 fish
    Middle Cottonwood Creek – 1,500
    South Cottonwood Creek – 1,500
    Flume Creek – 600
    Fourmile Creek – 3,000 – Stocked by CPW on horseback
    Frenchman Creek – 500
    Glacier Creek – 600
    South Halfmoon Creek – 800
    La Plata Gulch – 500

    Participants: Keith Krebs, Tom P, Richard Frey, Eric Heltzel, Gene Milus, Mr. and Mrs. Bryan Lally, Larry Siemiet, Larry Payne, Mike Perry.


    View a video that follows one chapter member who narrated stocking South Halfmoon Creek:

    Volunteers from afar

    This couple is from Joplin, Missouri. They heard about our stocking program while they were in the area, and they joined us! In their own words: “We did each have a bag of fish, we received them at the trailhead and hiked up from there. We stocked one bag at 3/4 mile as instructed. We gave our other bag to someone who didn’t have one to carry another 3/4 mile higher. What an incredible experience! We are forever grateful for having this experience! Thank you!!”

  • Celebrate (2/26/2019)

    By Keith Krebs

    This year Collegiate Peaks Chapter of Trout Unlimited (CPC-TU) is joining Colorado Trout Unlimited (CTU) in celebrating 50 years of protecting Colorado’s coldwater fisheries. Founded in 1969, CTU is the state’s leading non-profit, non-partisan organization providing a voice for Colorado’s rivers. CPC-TU is a member chapter and celebrates being the oldest conservation organization, founded in 1984, in the upper Arkansas River valley.

    CTU leverages the power of its 11,000 members who contribute approximately 44,000 volunteer hours annually to restoration, education and other local conservation projects, equivalent to the power of 22 full-time employees.
    The vision is simple – by the next generation, CTU will ensure that robust populations of native and wild coldwater fish once again thrive within their original Colorado range so that our children can enjoy healthy fisheries in their home waters.

    CPC-TU works to conserve, protect and restore Colorado’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds. As one of the grassroots arms of CTU, we use cooperation, collaboration, advocacy and education to promote conservation. Our popular and on-going annual program, Stream Explorers, is now provided to middle school students in Salida, Buena Vista and Leadville.

    We are celebrating the success of our collaborative partnership with Central Colorado Conservancy (CCC), Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA), Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC), Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and Salida Parks, Open Space and Trails (SPOT).

    Our legacy project has come to be known as the Ecosystems Learning Center (ELC) at a Salida site along the South Arkansas River on SCC property. The late and legendary Fred Rasmussen conceptualized the project and CPC-TU was instrumental in identifying a superb site, compiling a list of outstanding, capable and committed collaborators and is helping to guide site development.

    The purposes of ELC are to develop a local population of young citizens who know, understand and appreciate the diversity, beauty and value of our native river ecosystems; To restore the natural stream channel and adjacent riparian areas; To improve stream flows thereby enhancing aquatic life; To create a long-term site where local students learn to observe, measure, record and understand aquatic and other ecosystems; To provide a location where students develop and maintain a database over time; To provide a location where local groups set-up studies of specific aquatic, terrestrial, amphibious, avian and vegetative organisms.

    We also want to celebrate a milepost of sorts. CCC has secured funding for engineering analysis and design documents to restore the South Arkansas River from the ELC site to the confluence with the main stem of the Arkansas. CPC-TU provided significant dollars to meet the high level of matching funds required.

    To learn more about ELC and to find out how to support this project visit our website at

  • Volunteers from Trout Unlimited help CPW process 20,000 young rainbow trout for release in Arkansas in bid for wild, self-sustaining population (3/4/2018)

    Video courtesy of Denver Post

    By Bill Vogrin, reposted from Colorado Parks & Wildlife press release

    March 2, 2018

    Volunteers key in grueling quest for wild rainbow trout resistant to whirling disease

    SALIDA, Colo. – As snow piled up outside the Mount Ouray hatchery building late last month, inside a handful of Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff and volunteers from the Collegiate Peaks chapter of Trout Unlimited were huddled over large plastic tubs filled with rainbow trout swimming in 50-degree spring water.

    For six hours that snowy day, the heavily-bundled volunteers repeatedly reached inside the buckets with double-gloved hands, dipped out a 3-inch trout and used scissors to snip off the tiny left pelvic fin. Then they dropped the squirming fish into a concrete raceway in the hatchery and grabbed another from the bucket, stopping occasionally to warm themselves next to a propane heater.

    The snipping went on for four days until 20,000 trout had sacrificed a pelvic fin for science. The fish will be released in April into the Arkansas River downstream of Salida. When CPW biologists conduct surveys on the river, they’ll be able to identify these fish as unique and determine their rate of survival.

    CPW wants to track them because these are special rainbows. They are the spawn of wild rainbows from the Gunnison River – rainbows that have somehow resisted succumbing to the deadly outbreak of whirling disease that ravaged Colorado’s rainbow trout population after it first erupted in the 1980s.

    The effort of precisely marking 20,000 small fish was undertaken because CPW needs to know if the Gunnison River rainbows can establish themselves in the Arkansas and other rivers around the state.

    Restoring to the Arkansas and other streams a wild, naturally reproducing rainbow trout that is resistant to whirling disease would be a huge wildlife conservation victory for CPW. So snipping a pelvic fin, which does not hurt the mildly sedated fish, is an important part of this effort.

    By 1997, Colorado’s wild rainbow trout population essentially vanished and brown trout, which are more resistant to whirling disease, took over most of the state’s major rivers. Ever since, CPW aquatic research scientists and biologists have worked to combat whirling disease and re-establish wild rainbow trout in Colorado.

    The effort included spending more than $13 million to clean up infected hatcheries and convert them to spring- and well-water rather than surface sources.

    “CPW has been trying to create a wild reproducing population of rainbow trout in the Arkansas and other major Colorado Rivers for decades,” said Josh Nehring, senior aquatic biologist in the Southeast Region. “There have been several obstacles in the Arkansas River including competition with brown trout, river flows and whirling disease, which is present in the river.

    “These Gunnison River rainbows have shown resistance to the disease. This would be a big breakthrough if this project succeeds.”

    CPW biologists will stock the fish in a few weeks and return in October to survey the Arkansas to try to determine if and how many of the wild rainbow survived the summer.

  • Flies for Charity (10/18/2017)

    Below is the list of flies that are needed — along with names of people who volunteered so far. If you’d like to help us, please pick a pattern and contact Jim Impara ( to let him know. Thanks!

    Flies Sizes Number needed
    for each size
    Tier’s Name Group
    Brassie 16 12 CFR
    BH Flashback Pheasant Tail 18 12 CFR
    BH Flashback Pheasant Tail 16 12 CFR
    Red Egg 16 12 CFR
    Black Nymph 14 & 16 6 CFR
    Red Midge 18 12 CFR
    BH Prince 16 12 CFR
    Zebra Midge – Black 18 12 CFR
    Black Beauty – Olive 18 12 CFR
    Zebra Midge – Olive 18 12 CFR
    Red San Juan Worm 16 12 CFR
    Black Midge 18 12 RR
    BH Prince 16 12 RR
    BH Hare’s Ear 16 12 RR
    Black Beauty – Black 18 12 RR
    Hare’s Ear 14 12 RR
    Brassie 18 12 RR
    BH Flashback Pheasant Tail 18 12 RR
    BH Flashback Pheasant Tail 16 12 RR
    BH Flashback Pheasant Tail 14 12 RR
    Tan San Juan Worm 16 12 RR
    Flashback Pheasant Tail 16 12 RR
    BH Prince 14 12 RR
    Mixed nymphs various 7 RR
    Black Wooly Buggers 10 12 RR
    Olive Wooly Buggers 8 12 CFR
    E H Caddis 16 12 CFR
    E H Caddis 14 12 CFR
    Foam Ant – Tan 16 12 CFR
    Parachute Adams 16 12 CFR
    Stimulator 14 6 CFR
    Blue Winged Olive 18 11 CFR
    E H Caddis 16 12 RR
    E H Caddis 14 12 RR
    Foam Ant – Black 18 12 RR
    Parachute Adams 14 12 RR
    Parachute Adams 14 12 RR
    Parachute Adams 16 12 RR
    Royal Wulff 12 12 RR
    Stimulator 14 6 RR
    Mixed dries various 15 CFR
    TOTAL 471
  • Semi-annual Highway 285 clean-up: May 20th (5/1/2017)

    Highway 285 spring clean-up
    May 20th, 10am-noon

    We’re doing our semi-annual Highway 285 cleanup on May 20th. It starts at 10am at the 1806 Rest Stop (sometimes called the Christmas Rest Stop, click here for directions), mile marker 132, about 1 – 1.5 miles south of where State Road 291 cuts off toward Salida. If we have enough people (10 – 12) it only takes about 1 – 1.5 hours. Bring gloves and sunscreen. The chapter supplies pick up tools and big orange bags. (Some people bring a stick or something to hold the orange bag open.)

    In addition to the highway cleanup, the 20th is also AHRA Clean Up/ Green Up day. We will have badges for all participants so they can enjoy the AHRA lunch at Salida’s River Park starting at noon.

    If you will participate contact Jim Impara by email attwopi@hughes.netor by phone at 719-221-9581.

    Thanks for your help.

  • Project Healing Waters helps disabled vets through fishing (8/29/2016)

    As seen in the The Mountain Mail, August 29, 2016, edition

    by Bill Perrill
    Special to The Mail

    Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) is a nonprofit organization committed to supporting disabled veterans in their rehabilitation.

    “The sport of fly fishing holds many therapeutic benefits that encompass the physical, mental and emotional,” said Daniel Morgan, communication director for PHWFF.

    The beauty and peace of nature, the physical challenges of fly fishing and the fellowship of the PHWFF programs all contribute to positive and healing experiences for veterans. The Collegiate Peaks Chapter of Trout Unlimited is privileged to partner in this effort.

    PHWFF began in 2005 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and has expanded to over 200 programs in 50 states and Germany. There are also affiliate programs in Canada and Australia. In 2014 alone, more than 6,300 veterans participated in PHWFF programs, assisted by more than 2,800 volunteers.

    PHWFF programs offer a variety of opportunities to veterans. Activities may include basic fly-fishing instruction, fly-tying classes, fly-casting workshops, rodbuilding and fly-fishing outings. All fly fishing and tying equipment is provided to the participants at no cost.

    Fishing trips, both 1-day and multi-day, are provided free of charge to participants.

    Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing is funded through donations and grants, and 79 percent of the funds collected go directly to the veterans for equipment, trips, meals and support.

    Project Healing Waters relies on Trout Unlimited, the International Federation of Fly Fishers and independent fly-fishing clubs to conduct programs, using volunteers who are experienced fly fishers.

    In Colorado, four veterans’ health care facilities sponsor Project Healing Waters programs and activities, and three of those are partnered with Trout Unlimited chapters. The local Collegiate Peaks Chapter of Trout Unlimited provides guide and support services for any PHWFF program that comes to our area to fish the Arkansas River or area lakes.

    Volunteers’ experiences with PHWFF programs are often extremely rewarding. Last year, I volunteered as a guide for a group of vets from Colorado Springs who fished the Arkansas River near Stone Bridge.

    One veteran needed help tying on his flies, but once he was set, he had a great time on the river. He told me that Project Healing Waters has helped him with his recovery and rehabilitation. The camaraderie of the group activities was especially meaningful to him.

    Recently, volunteer flyfishing guides from the Collegiate Peaks Chapter and three other Trout Unlimited chapters helped 13 veterans fish Crystal Lake. The Cutthroat Chapter from Denver was the host and provided the transportation, meals and fishing equipment and flies.

    On this outing, I fished with Bruce, a Navy veteran with some significant health issues and physical challenges. Bruce had never fly fished before becoming involved with PHWFF and was surprised that he was actually able to catch fish.

    He said, “When I am fishing, it’s just me and the water.” He feels the program has made a positive difference in his life, providing hope, peace of mind and friendship. He also appreciates what he has seen the program provide for other vets.

    Bruce says, “It is nothing short of miraculous the healing growth and peace of mind this worthy project brings. Without the help of the volunteers, some of the activities would overwhelm me with the disabilities I have. These trips mean the world to me.”

    For more information about Collegiate Peaks Chapter and our events, visit our website,

    Bill Perrill is membership chair and a current board director of the Collegiate Peaks Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

  • Greenback stocking 2015 a success (8/26/2015)

    Yesterday’s greenback trout stocking went very well. Seventeen volunteers stocked 11,000 fish in 9 locations ranging from North and west of Leadville south to Chalk Creek. DPW personnel stocked a little over 18,000 fish in an additional 6 locations. Time investment ranged from as little as 4 hours to as many as 8 hours.

    Hope you join us next time!

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  • Project Healing Waters outing, May 2015 (5/8/2015)

    This year, like in 2014, we had the opportunity to spend a few fun days with the veterans from the Project Healing Waters. There were nine veterans who came to fish with us this year, and despite challenging conditions I think we all had a good time. Challenging conditions: although the famous caddis hatch had started, it hadn’t moved too far north yet. Cold weather, rain, and rising off-color river made fishing more challenging. Thankfully we could fish a private pond with big rainbows (thank you Mr and Mrs Kelly!). Then again, one group went north of Granite and had an all day BWO hatch — from 10:30am until they left around 3pm!

  • 2015 River Conservation & Fly Fishing Youth Camp (3/6/2015)

    Colorado Trout Unlimited is now accepting applications for the Tenth Annual River Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp, June 14-19, 2015 at the Bar N I Ranch near Weston, CO. Applications must be received by April 15, 2015.

    The camp is designed to educate 14 to 18 year old students on the importance of coldwater conservation and provide hands-on fly fishing instruction. Approximately 20 students are selected each year, based on their qualifications and a written essay on why they would like to attend the camp.

    “Our hope is that kids who attend our camp today will become the conservation leaders of tomorrow,” said Shawn Bratt, a veteran youth camp counselor and winner of national Trout Unlimited’s Outstanding Youth Education Volunteer. “It’s important for these students to understand the value of healthy streams and clean water and how they relate to our everyday lives. The camp curriculum has been structured to provide the necessary foundation for that education.”


    For more information, including applications, rules, and additional information for parents: click here.

  • South Arkansas Restoration Project finishes (11/12/2014)

    Passing along from Jason Willis, TU Mine Restoration Project Manager and one of our chapter board directors:

    As many of you know, the South Arkansas Restoration Project finished up last Friday with a volunteer planting day.  This project has been a huge success with community-wide involvement.  Attached is a photo compilation of the volunteer day.  Thanks again to all who participated!