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Stream Explorers learn about local water ecosystems and get to fish for the trout that inhabit them. Photo: Trout Unlimited.

Colorado Trout Unlimited’s Youth Conservation and Fly Fishing Camp is scheduled from June 11 through 17 just over Cottonwood Pass at AEI Base Camp in Taylor Park.

The purpose of those special youth-focused camp is to inspire the next generation of river stewards by providing youth a safe, fun, and inclusive environment to learn how conservation and a passion for the outdoors and fly fishing come together in an overall ethic.

Courtesy photo

From the beginning, the Arkansas River-based Collegiate Peaks Chapter of Trout Unlimited (CPC) has paid the tuition for up to two students from the valley to attend ($600 per camper). Students must fill out an online application and write a short essay as to WHY they want to attend. Only 20 students are accepted. The deadline to apply to attend this year’s camp is April 10, 2023.

Students must be ages 14-18, and first-time camp applicants will receive preference along with underserved populations (including females). A statewide group evaluates the applications. It is not all about grades, but rather a passion for science, conservation, and/or the outdoors. Applicants do not have to know how to fly fish as there are experts there to teach. Chosen campers must pay a $50 application fee after selection and the rest of the cost is covered by the local chapter of Trout Unlimited.

Since 2006 more than 250 teens have attended the camp representing all corners of the state of Colorado, and some states beyond. Campers complete a week-long program that balances STEM-based conservation education with building and improving fly fishing skills. They participate in hands-on conservation activities and receive one-on-one and group instruction in the art of fly fishing and fly tying.

The experience is enriched as youth who attend often make lifelong relationships, “find their people” and bond with peers of similar interests. The program exposes campers to the complexity of water management in the West and its relationship with recreation. The diversity of the conservation program is designed so that participants can envision multiple education and career paths that align with their personal passion for the outdoors.

Students from BV, Westcliffe, Fairplay, Leadville and Salida have attended camp thanks to CPC. Campers learn so much and have a ball meeting new people from all over the state and camping out (some for the first time!).

For more info and to complete applications follow this link: