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Papers of William J. Wiltzius

Identifier: WWIL

Scope and Contents

The Papers of William J. Wiltzius consists of documents dated 1775 to 2013, with the bulk falling from 1875 to 1920. The collection compiles information about hatcheries, fish species, sport fishing, and the men who established privately and publically managed fish culture in nineteenth-century Colorado. Wiltzius took a special interest in Gordon Land, Colorado's State Fish Commissioner from 1889 to 1892 and 1895 to 1896, and he accumulated a large amount of genealogical material on the Land family. Materials are primarily scrapbooks of newsclippings, computer printouts and photocopies of news articles and genealogical information, and other publications and notes by Wiltzius, though photographs, correspondence, and published reports are also present. News article printouts, primarily gathered from the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection, were printed between 2009 and 2011 and cover the 1860s through 1923. Genealogical information gleaned from and other online databases was printed at the same time and generally covers the 1840s through the 1920s.


  • Creation: 1775-2013
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1875-1920


Restrictions on Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection. However, it is stored off-site, so advance notice is required.

Restrictions on Use

Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.


William J. Wiltzius was a long-time employee of the Colorado Game and Fish Department and a respected expert on Colorado's fish culture and stocking history. Wiltzius researched extensively and wrote about the history of fisheries in the state during his career and retirement.

William (Bill) John Wiltzius was born August 5, 1933, in Chicago, Illinois, and he lived in the area until he graduated from high school. He attended Colorado A & M (now Colorado State University) from 1951 to 1955 where he earned a degree in Fish Management. After working for the Colorado Game and Fish Department briefly, the U.S. Navy drafted Wiltzius into service in December 1955. He served on the Aircraft Carrier Princeton (CVS-37) until his discharge in 1957.

Wiltzius returned to Colorado State University (CSU) shortly afterwards and earned a master's degree in Fishery Science in 1961. He also pursued a Ph.D. at CSU but did not complete it, though the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation published his dissertation in 1967 as Effects of Monolayers on Insects, Fish and Wildlife.

In 1965, Wiltzius resumed work for the Colorado Game and Fish Department as a fishery biologist researcher. One of Wiltzius' first projects was writing the pre-impoundment study for the Curecanti Project (Aspinall Project) on the Gunnison River; the project created Blue Mesa, Morrow Point, and Crystal reservoirs. Wiltzius studied the effects of the project's dams on fish populations for twelve years and in 1978 completed the final report, Some Factors Historically Affecting the Distribution and Abundance of Fishes in the Gunnison River.

In the 1980s, Wiltzius focused his research on the history of early private fish culture and stocking in Colorado. The Colorado Division of Wildlife published his 1985 report, Fish Culture and Stocking in Colorado, 1872-1978. After retiring in 1987, Wiltzius continued to collect information on and write about Colorado's fish culture history until his death on August 22, 2013.

Wiltzius married Nancy Kay Sherman on December 26, 1964. They had two children, Andrew and Katherine.


5 linear feet (2 record cartons, 1 document box, 2 flat boxes)

Language of Materials



William J. Wiltzius (1933-2013) was a long-time employee of the Colorado Game and Fish Department and a respected expert on Colorado's fish culture and stocking history. The collection compiles Wiltzius' research about hatcheries, sport fishing, and the people who established fish culture in nineteenth-century Colorado. Materials include scrapbooks of newsclippings, computer printouts and photocopies of news articles and genealogical information, published reports, notes, correspondence, and photographs.


A portion of the collection had an inherent arrangement that was retained; other portions were arranged for the ease of research use by material type.

The collection consists of 2 series in 5 boxes:

Series 1: Scrapbooks, 1860-2007

Series 2: Files, 1775-2013 and undated


The Papers of William J. Wiltzius was donated to the Water Resources Archive by Nancy K. Wiltzius in September 2013.


Processing was completed in March 2016. Two boxes of Wiltzius' genealogy research on the Wiltzius and Land families without relevance to the history of fish culture in Colorado were removed. Materials were re-housed in acid-free boxes and folders, though original folders for the category "Foldered Internet printouts" were retained. Minor spelling errors were corrected for research convenience. Paper clips and rubber bands were removed. Photographs were placed in polyester sleeves. Scrapbooks were re-housed in flat storage boxes, plastic covers were discarded, and loose materials in scrapbooks were removed and foldered separately. Duplicates beyond two copies were removed, as were non-relevant photographs, receipts, microfiche, loose Internet printouts, and photocopies of books easily accessible elsewhere and not annotated by Wiltzius.

Inventory Note

Note: Title information supplied by the archivist is bracketed. Estimated paginationis preceded by an "e." Two identical copies of the same item are indicated by thephrase "2 copies" at the end of the entry, following the number of pages of eachcopy.

Guide to the Papers of William J. Wiltzius
Edited Full Draft
Prepared by Clarissa J. Trapp
Copyright 2016
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository

Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA