“The act of fishing…transports us to a special world, and a state of mind, where we are free.” 

Fennel Hudson, Lifestyle and Countryside Author

On a Saturday in late August 2022, as the morning summer sun began to warm the mountains of Colorado, military kids and their families experienced a special day of fly fishing and exploration at Rocky Mountain National Park, CO. Moose were seen, many Brook Trout were caught, and lifelong memories were made.

The National Park Trust, National Park Service (NPS), Our Military Kids, Trout Unlimited, and Rocky Mountain Conservancy partnered to host this event at Sprague Lake. The program was designed for Denver metro-based National Guard and Reserve families to teach them how to fly fish and connect with their local national park in a deeper and more meaningful way without financial or access barriers. The park’s natural beauty was on full display the day of the event, with clear blue skies, a towering mountain background, and even an appearance from a mother moose and her calf!

Upon arriving at Sprague Lake, Rocky Mountain Superintendent Darla Sidles presented each family with a 2022-2023 Interagency Military Pass. The pass provides free entrance for one year to more than 2,000 federal recreational sites for current military members and their dependents, veterans, and Gold Star Families. After an in-depth fishing lesson from Trout Unlimited volunteers, it was time to head to the lakeshore and start casting. Then NPS Rangers Emily and Olivia provided a guided tour around the lake, highlighting the environmental and wildlife characteristics of the area and the Rocky Mountains themselves. 

Thanks to the Park Trust’s partnership with NPS, each child and guardian went home with fly fishing poles and tackle boxes so they could keep fishing and create more memories as a family. 

This event at Rocky Mountain National Park is the second of five fishing events in 2022 at national park sites nationwide. Other event locations include Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (WV), Mississippi National River & Recreation Area (MN), Canaveral National Seashore (FL), and Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (CA).