Trout Unlimited wants to see more wild trout in Colorado's rivers and lakes and fewer diseased fish. If a new Wildlife Commission policy becomes a reality, the nonprofit group may get its wish. Issued in November, the state policy emphasizes restoring streams and native trout like the Colorado cutthroat - a departure from the current practice of releasing some 16 million hatchery trout, mostly non-native rainbow and brown trout, into the state's waters each year. The state's changing priorities "let nature do more of the job and hatcheries less of the job," says Trout Unlimited's David Nickum. He hopes that a Trout Unlimited report, released in December 1997, will provide the agency with a "road map for implementation" of its policy. But while Colorado does expect to reduce its reliance on hatcheries, Todd Malmsbury from the Division of Wildlife warns: "We're not going to have the brown and rainbow trout that Trout Unlimited members love to catch without a hatchery program."
To obtain a copy of the 66-page Trout Unlimited report, Fishing for Answers: Status and Trends for Coldwater Fisheries Management in Colorado, contact the Colorado chapter of Trout Unlimited at 2001 E. Easter #100, Littleton CO 80122, call 303/837-9383, or find the report on the Web at http://www.tu.org.
* Michelle Nijhuis