Co2ld Water: A wake-up call

by Chris Hunt

If you've been to this year's edition of the Fly Fishing Film Tour, you've likely seen the new conservation film Co2Ld Water that focuses on the need for action when it comes to climate change, particularly as it pertains to our fisheries. The film, sponsored in part by Trout Unlimited and a host of other organizations and companies in the fly fishing industry, should serve as a wake-up call to American lawmakers who, quite frankly, are spending a whole lot of time and energy trying to assign blame for this issue rather than genuinely searching for solutions. 

The world is getting warmer. Science has proven that. It's time to get past the hot air surrounding the issue and instead get down to business of solving the real "hot air" issue--the impacts of a warming climate on the natural world, the people who live here and the resources we all need to survive. Oddly, it's a fly fishing film that perhaps serves as the warning bell for anglers and other sportsmen when it comes to this issue. No longer can sportsmen and women be counted on to walk a traditional political course when they are among the first to see the impacts of climate change on the pastimes they love.



The movie, put together by Todd Tanner and Conservation Hawks, features big-time fly fishing personalities, like Tanner himself, as well as Yvon Chouinard and Craig Mathews. It's tough to ignore the powerful messages delivered by these highly respected figures in the world of fly fishing and conservation--all of them understand that, in order to be economically successful in the fly fishing space, one important resource must be readily available: a place to fish. That, of course, translates into intact habitat--functional watersheds that have the capacity to support trout. And that, of course, means cold, clean water. 

And, if you've been a member of the TU family over the years, you know that one of our consistent efforts when it comes to accomplishing our mission of protecting trout and salmon is the goal of protecting cold, clean, fishable water. 

You see, TU has been involved in battling climate change for decades. Our on-the-ground work to restore degraded streams, reconnect headwater streams to mainstem rivers and protect intact, functional habitat has been keeping water colder and making fishing better for a generation. Only recently is our work gaining the much-needed recognition it deserves in this arena. When we shade trout water with native vegetation, or help a small tributary reconnect with it's larger downstream waters, we're keeping cold water in our prized fisheries. By protecting the headwaters streams that start as melting snow high in the backcountry healthy and intact, we're ensuring a source of cold, clean water for downstream users, like irrigators and municipalities... and anyone who turns on a tap.

At this year's Orvis Guide Rendezvous in Missoula, Mont., TU's Kirk Deeter and John McMillan partnered with Tanner and screened the film to dozens of guides and outfitters in the fly fishing industry, to a rousing reception. Climate change isn't a fringe issue for anglers anymore. It's front and center. Addressing its impacts are now part of our culture. 

And Co2ld Water puts these efforts into a powerful message, one that shows the need for action, not argument. It's time to quit assigning blame. It's time to assign remedies, and they're out there, as the film ably describes.

Spend 10 minutes on the movie, and then get in touch with your state's federal delegation. Tell them the time has come to stop making climate change a political issue. It's the most important issue facing our world today, and it's too important to future generations to continue debating. It's real. Let's get to work and do our best to fix it. 

Chris Hunt is TU's national communications director. He works from Idaho Falls, Idaho.


said on Friday, June 5th, 2015

Here are some good solid pieces about trout and climate changes. Joe Witte.


Craig Matthews, long-time fly-fishing guide, gives an eyewitness account of the changes he's seen in over thirty-plus years on the rivers around West Yellowstone, Montana.




said on Saturday, October 24th, 2015

Add Content