Congratulations Erica Nelson!

Erica Nelson in one of her happy places, on the river.

We’d like to congratulate Erica Nelson on her recent feature in The New York Times! Erica is a fly fishing guide, diversity and inclusivity consultant, and host of the Awkward Angler Podcast. She’s also an ambassador for one of our nonprofit partners and 2020 grantees, Brown Folks Fishing.

The first episode of the Our Rivers Podcast features Erica’s work to improve equity in the fishing industry with the Angling for All Pledge, as described in the article. We highly recommend learning more about Erica and checking out the New York Times article, which includes gems like:

In Diné culture, there’s a concept called “living in Hohzo,” a philosophy of striving for a balance that encompasses beauty, order and harmony.

I try to have a reciprocal relationship with fly fishing. 

I see a lot of people in the sport and industry wanting to take. When I’m on the water, I want to show up as my full self and maybe give back too. I want that for everyone.

Erica Nelson

A Fly Fishing Rod and Reel For Rivers

If you’re going to invest in fly fishing, shouldn’t you invest in rivers? We’ve collaborated with SaraBella Fishing and Abel Reels to build a Forever Our Rivers fly rod and reel combo. For every package sold, over $650 goes back to rivers.

The rod is a 9’5 weight with a medium-fast action. It’s metallic charcoal gray with gold, deep blue and white threads that are hand-wrapped in Colorado by veterans and survivors. The reel seat is hand-lathed, locally sourced Russian olive, an invasive tree that plagues the west. And the Abel reel is a deep metallic blue with a golden drag knob and our signature wave in white. 

You can visit SaraBella’s website to customize your rod, or pass the word along to your favorite fishing buddies.

Great Blue Heron Rookeries are Surprisingly Sensitive

Great blue heron with feathers blown by the wind by Andrew Peacock.

Great blue herons are nesting now, settling down in colonies to protect their young. Look for clusters of large stick nests in tall cottonwood or spruce trees near water. These stunning birds are surprisingly vulnerable to disruptions when nesting.

Western Colorado University has monitored heron nests along the Slate River annually since 2018. The surveys found that “great blue herons do not tolerate human disturbance and will flush, leaving nests unattended and eggs or chicks vulnerable to predation,” according to researcher Pat Magee! in the Spring 2021 issue of The Westerner Magazine. In many of the stressful interactions, people were floating by in boats and paddleboards.

Now the Slate River Working Group that commissioned the study must decide what to do with its findings. “The central question for the Slate River Working Group and the Crested Butte community is not whether herons are disturbed by river recreationists, but whether we should float this river stretch. That is a values question that can’t be answered by science,” writes Magee! in The Westerner

These squawking beauties have been around for nearly two million years. As we welcome more people to a river-loving lifestyle, let’s save some room for the herons. Remember, if you see wildlife alter their behavior because of your presence, you’re too close or too loud.

Great Blue Heron family feeding the kids. One parent resting head on the neck of the other. by John Morrison