DENVER (KDVR) – Those who’ve been planning a trip to some high-country rivers may want to consider a rain check now that officials with Colorado Parks and Wildlife have imposed voluntary fishing restrictions for three rivers.

According to CPW, those who’ve been planning to fish in sections of the Fraser, Colorado and Eagle rivers are being asked to delay doing so as the result of high temperatures and low water levels impacting the fish populations. Starting Friday, they are asking the public to abide by voluntary fishing restrictions that begin at noon and run until midnight every day.

“We know that anglers care deeply about these cold-water trout fisheries,” CPW Northwest Region Senior Aquatic Biologist Lori Martin said. “We need their help to conserve these resources and that’s why we’re asking anglers to carefully consider the water and weather conditions when they go fishing. If water seems too warm or fish appear lethargic, it would be best to call it a day or find another fishing opportunity at higher elevations.”

CPW imposes voluntary fishing closures – map
(Credit: CPW/Google maps)

River sections impacted by CPW’s voluntary closure

  • Fraser River
    • The stretch from the County Road 8 bridge crossing at Fraser to the confluence with the Colorado River near Granby.
  • Colorado River
    • The stretch from the confluence with the Fraser River near Granby to the confluence with the Williams Fork River at Parshall.
    • Also, the stretch from the Highway 9 bridge crossing at Kremmling to State Bridge.
    • Full Day Closure: Colorado River from State Bridge to Bair Ranch in Glenwood Canyon.
  • Eagle River
    • From the Eagle County Fairgrounds to the confluence with the Colorado River at Dotsero.

July is typically the hottest month of the year for Colorado and 2022 is no exception, with the Denver metro having already broken the triple-digit temperature mark several times. As a result of these temperature upticks and the drought, water levels are dropping According to CPW, this depletes the oxygen levels in the water needed to sustain the fish populations.

When water temperatures rise above 70 degrees, fish are known to stop feeding and additionally become more susceptible to disease. Algae blooms can develop at these temperatures, and when those blooms start to die out, oxygen levels drop as a response.

“Anglers are also encouraged to seek out high-elevation lakes and streams, where water temperatures are more suitable and fishing doesn’t potentially add additional stress,” Martin said, highlighting the need to adjust plans if needed.

If you do plan to head out, CPW officials ask that you add a personal thermometer to your kit to test the water you fish in. That’s the only way this effort is not turned into a mandatory emergency closure, which CPW said will be imposed if fishing conditions worsen or angler compliance becomes “problematic.”