Low flows and warm water temperatures have led Colorado Parks and Wildlife to ask anglers to curtail activity during the heat of the day on several rivers in Southwest Colorado.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife issued a statement Monday that some rivers in the region are reaching more than 70 degrees, a threshold where trout species can become dangerously stressed, sometimes resulting in death, aquatic biologists say.
The Animas River, for instance, hit 69 degrees Monday, running around 170 cubic feet per second. The Animas is typically running about 520 cfs this time of year.
When temperatures rise past 70 degrees, trout can stop feeding and are more easily at risk of disease. Add pressures from fishing, and the situation can become untenable for fish.
“Recently, conditions at several rivers in CPW’s Southwest Region that receive a lot of fishing pressure have deteriorated to critical levels for trout survival,” CPW said.
CPW is asking anglers to stop fishing at noon on five rivers:
The Animas River through Durango from the Emerson-Parks Bridge (32nd Street) downstream to Rivera Bridge near Home Depot.The San Juan River through Pagosa Springs, from the intersection of U.S. Highway 160 and Colorado Highway 84 downstream to the Apache Street Bridge.The Conejos River from Platoro Reservoir downstream to Broyles Bridge.The Rio Grande from Rio Grande Reservoir downstream to the town of Del Norte.The South Fork of the Rio Grande from Big Meadows Reservoir downstream to its confluence with the Rio Grande below the town of South Fork.The voluntary closure runs until Sept. 25 or until conditions improve, CPW said.
“We’re asking for cooperation from anglers on this voluntary closure to protect our trout resources in these rivers,” said John Alves, a senior aquatic biologist for CPW.
“Anglers are encouraged to fish high-elevation lakes and streams. But there might be some streams in the high country that also become too warm. We encourage anglers to carry a thermometer to check the water temperature. If it’s 70 degrees or above, please stop fishing.”