Fishin’ in the dark |

Fishin’ in the dark

Heather McGregor
Post Independent Editor
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Two local fishing guides plan to fly fish for 24 hours straight to raise awareness for catch-and-release fishing, clean rivers and other stewardship practices.

Tony Fotopulos, who sometimes goes by the nickname Gill Finn, and Craig Davis, whose alter ego is Red Humpy (a type of fly), have teamed up to enter the 24-hour fish-a-thon to benefit the organization Recycled Fish.

Fotopulos is a co-owner of Roaring Fork Anglers in Glenwood Springs and Alpine Angling in Carbondale, and Davis is a guide for the fly shops.

In the fishing version of running a marathon, the two plan to cast their rods into the waters of the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9. They must land – and release – the last fish by 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10.

About two dozens teams of anglers across the country have already signed up for the fish-a-thon, now in its second year. Teams can be two or three adults, or two adults and two children.

“You can fish anywhere you want,” Davis said. “But instead of just standing and fishing at a lake, we decided to float the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers.”

They’ll put in at the Westbank Bridge that Friday afternoon and expect to float and fly fish their way down to Glenwood Springs or New Castle by dark. Then they’ll tie up the boat for the night and angle from the riverbank through the nighttime hours. At dawn, they’ll launch again and float the rest of the way to Rifle.

Now that the water levels in the rivers have dropped, flows are more slow and the water is running cool and clear, yielding ideal fishing conditions. For boating anglers, that means lingering in eddies and taking plenty of time.

“We did Silt to Rifle yesterday and it took us 10 hours,” Davis said on Wednesday.

So the two will have no difficulty stretching the 30-mile journey over 24 hours.

And while the effort is intended to run for 24 hours straight, Davis conceded “there might be some napping going on.”

Davis serves as the webmaster for Recycled Fish, so the fish-a-thon is more than a casual interest.

“I tried to get a team together last year, but couldn’t. This year I finally got it going,” he said.

He said the overall ethic and message conveyed by Recycled Fish made sense as soon as he heard about it.

“It’s all about preserving the fishery for future generations. We can’t overfish. We have to take care of things,” Davis said.

While Recycled Fish started in 2004, its focus was on catch-and-release fishing and selective harvest, in which anglers keep only certain species or sizes of fish to build a better fishery.

Now its message has expanded to broader stewardship of rivers, lakes and healthy fisheries through direct and indirect actions.

Through a free weekly stewardship email, Recycled Fish educates members about lifestyle habits that preserve the health of rivers and lakes, such as recycling, cleaning up trash and litter, using non-phosphate soaps, buying organic food, not using polluting fertilizers on lawns, and by conserving water and energy.

To make a donation for the Gill Finn and Red Humpy fish-a-thon team, visit Roaring Fork Angling, 2205 Grand Ave. in Glenwood Springs, or Alpine Anglers, 995 Cowen Drive in Carbondale, or the website

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