Low flow and warm water lead to voluntary fishing closures for some Colorado rivers

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KREMMLING, Colo. (KDVR) – High water temperature and low flows have created less-than-perfect living conditions for fish prompting voluntarily fishing closures, Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced on Wednesday.

Voluntary fishing closures:

  • The Colorado River between Kremmling and Rifle – from the Highway 9 bridge in Kremmling downstream to the Highway 13 bridge in Rifle
  • Gunnison River in Tomichi Creek State Wildlife Area – the 4-mile section of Tomichi Creek that runs through CPW’s Tomichi Creek State Wildlife Area, located just east of Gunnison

“Currently, water temperatures are exceeding 71 degrees fahrenheit consistently,” CPW Aquatic Biologist Dan Brauch said. “The temperatures are tending to spike in the afternoon. Fish that are caught when temperatures are that high may experience increased stress and anglers may find it difficult to release fish safely.”

The voluntarily closures are in effect until further notice, a mandatory emergency closure is possible if conditions worsen.

Most of the major rivers on Colorado’s Western Slope are experiencing adverse conditions. The Fraser, Yampa River and upper Colorado Rivers are being monitored by biologists.

“We’re likely looking at moving into a voluntary fishing closure on the Yampa River from the upstream boundary of the Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area downstream to the west city limits of the town of Steamboat Springs,” said CPW Aquatic Biologist Bill Atkinson. “Water temps surpassed 75 degrees on Tuesday, so if it hits 75 degrees on Wednesday, the closure will be implemented.”  

Multiple mudslides and flash flood events resulting from last year’s fires has increased the sediment load in some river sections., according to CPW.

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