GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) — Low levels due to drought conditions and insufficient runoff have resulted in raised water temperatures in several western Colorado rivers this summer.
The temperatures are high enough to stress or even kill many of the state’s mountain fish species.
Consequently, Colorado Parks & Wildlife is implementing voluntary fishing closures on sections of the Eagle, Colorado, Crystal and Roaring Fork rivers during the hottest times of day.
“Although anglers are not legally prohibited from fishing in these stretches, CPW is asking anglers to fish early in the day and find alternative places to fish until conditions improve,” the department stated in a news release Friday.
Sections for the voluntary fishing closures include:
– Eagle River from Wolcott downstream to its confluence with the Colorado River
– Colorado River from State Bridge downstream to Rifle
– Crystal River from Avalanche Creek downstream to its confluence with the Roaring Fork River
– Roaring Fork River from Carbondale downstream to its confluence with the Colorado River.
Anglers are asked to not fish between 2 p.m. and midnight in those areas.
CPW noted there are other fishing options at higher elevations “where environmental factors are much less severe, particularly during the afternoons and evenings.”
A similar voluntary closure on the Animas River near Durango was put in place Monday. Debris from the 416 Fire was further complicating river conditions there.
“We appreciate the patience of our angling community as we work through some tough climate conditions,” said CPW Northwest Regional Manager JT Romatzke. “Conserving our state’s fisheries is critical, not just for anglers, but for the local communities and businesses that rely on these resources for their livelihoods.”
Further voluntary closures, or even mandatory ones, may be considered by the state if current water and weather conditions persist.