Dolores River Anglers host clinics

Dale Smith instructs Ben Byerly, Thorin Howell and Jackson Byerly on fly casting during the fishing derby clinic in Parque de Vida. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Dale Smith instructs Ben Byerly, Thorin Howell and Jackson Byerly on fly casting during the fishing derby clinic in Parque de Vida.

Hoping to expose anglers to the joys of fishing, the Dolores River Anglers of Trout Unlimited hosted several fishing events in Parque De Vida on June 11.

Kicking off the day, members of the Dolores River Anglers hosted a free youth fishing clinic for young people between the ages of 10 and 16.

Over the course of the two-hour clinic, 18 young fishing enthusiasts learned about fishing gear, knot tying, fly tying and proper casting technique.

Among the fishermen participating in the clinic was 11-year-old Ben Byerly, who, already an experienced fisherman, cherished the opportunity to learn new things.

“We learned different knots to tie and how to cast,” said Byerly. “We fish quite a bit. We go with our grandfather.”

Shortly after the clinic, the Dolores River Anglers hosted a free adult fishing clinic.

According to Dolores River Anglers Education Chairperson Brad Waltman, adults who attended enjoyed the experienced.

“They were awesome and learned a lot,” said Waltman.

Capping off the day’s fishing activities, the Dolores River Anglers hosted its fifth annual fishing Derby at the Parque de Vida pond.

Hoping to catch one of the many trout stocked in the pond by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department, scores of fishermen showed up for the event.

Although fishing proved to be slow in the early stages of the event, things picked up in the early evening as a record total of 35 fish were caught.

Mario Espinoza caught the biggest fish, a 15.5-inch monster, while Casen Allmon won the award for the most fish caught.

A fly rod was presented to Espinoza, while several tackle boxes and other awards were presented to other prize-winning participants.

Speaking about the value of the clinics and derby, Waltman stated that the goal of such events is to expose individuals to the joys of fishing.

“One of my goals was to spread the word of fishing without charging money for it,” said Waltman. There are a lot of places that you can learn to fly fish and tie flies, but it costs you money.”

In addition to offering low cost fishing events, the Dolores River Anglers sponsor winter fly tying classes and participate in environmental reclamation projects throughout the area.

The Dolores River Anglers also seek to promote a family atmosphere through a shared love for fishing.

“You look out here at all these parents with their kids, it’s awesome,” said Waltman of the event.

For more information on upcoming fishing events or to learn more about the Dolores River Anglers of Trout Unlimited, contact Waltman at 970-759-0175.