High Water Tempetures = High Trout Mortality

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Anglers must show restraint as trout in the Fraser and Colorado face a brutal summer of survival

Trout Unlimited is asking Colorado anglers to voluntarily restrict fishing on portions of the Colorado River headwaters stricken by drought and high water temperatures. TU is urging anglers to avoid fishing on the Fraser and Upper Colorado rivers during the hottest part of the day, or to fish in Grand County’s higher-elevation lakes or cooler tailwater areas until conditions improve.

Trout Unlimited’s recommended closure comes on the heels of a similar call by Colorado Parks and Wildlife for anglers to voluntarily limit their fishing on the Yampa River through Steamboat Springs, which recently recorded temperatures of 72 degrees through town. Water temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit can be stressful or fatal to trout.  Peak temperatures on the Fraser River near Tabernash have surpassed 70 degrees in recent days. Anecdotal reports indicate that similar high temperatures are found on the Colorado River between Windy Gap and the Williams Fork.

“These problems underscore how important healthy flows are to our rivers,” said Peternell. For years, the Upper Colorado and Fraser rivers have struggled with low flows and stressed habitat due to major water diversions to the Front Range. Two new projects, the proposed Moffat Tunnel and Windy Gap expansions, will add to that stress. “Drought and water diversions have put these rivers in a vulnerable state, and, as anglers, we need to do our part to protect fisheries.”

“We are asking our 10,000 state members and all Colorado anglers to exercise restraint and good sportsmanship in the use of these priceless resources,” said David Nickum, executive director of Colorado TU. “Failure to do so could set back fishing opportunities and the region’s recreation economy for years to come.”

Erik Myhre

by Erik Myhre