Colorado wildlife officials lift fishing advisory on Roaring Fork, Colorado rivers | AspenTimes.com

Colorado wildlife officials lift fishing advisory on Roaring Fork, Colorado rivers

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

A group of fly fishermen fish the Roaring Fork River near Veltus Park on a recent summer day, as a duckie raft floats by.

Fishing restrictions are being relaxed on parts of the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers in the Glenwood Springs area, but state wildlife officials advise the lower Crystal River should still be avoided.

Just in time for the long Labor Day holiday weekend, Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced Friday that it is modifying voluntary fishing closures on several stretches of river in northwest Colorado. In addition to the local rivers, the changes also affect the Yampa, Fraser, White and Eagle rivers.

Voluntary fishing closures are no longer in effect for the Colorado River from State Bridge downstream to Rifle, and for the Roaring Fork River from Carbondale downstream to its confluence with the Colorado River​​ in Glenwood Springs.

CPW officials said Friday that environmental conditions in these waters have changed in recent days, with some rivers showing improvements. Voluntary fishing restrictions, especially between 2 p.m. and midnight, have been in place since the middle of the summer due to low stream flows and hot daytime temperatures.

However, some areas still have flows unsuitable for coldwater fish, including the lower Crystal River from Avalanche Creek to the confluence with the Roaring Fork River at Carbondale.

On the Crystal, CPW is modifying the existing mandatory afternoon and evening fishing closure to a full-day voluntary closure due to low-flow conditions.

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"What has not changed is the stretch of river affected, which is from the confluence with Avalanche Creek to the confluence with the Roaring Fork River," said Senior Aquatic Biologist Lori Martin.

As of Thursday, the Crystal River at the state fish hatchery on Highway 133 was running at just 17.3 cubic feet of water per second, or just 22.7 percent of the median flow of 76 cfs for this time of year, according to the Roaring Fork Conservancy's weekly river report.

The Roaring Fork River between Basalt and Carbondale was running at 292 cfs as of Thursday, according to the report. That's just 60 percent compared with the median flow of 483 cfs.

Elsewhere in the region, a previous mandatory fishing closure in place at the tailwater of the Yampa River has been rescinded.

The Eagle River from Wolcott downstream to its confluence with the Colorado River at Dotsero has a voluntary fishing restriction from 2 p.m. until midnight, but the Colorado River from the confluence with the Fraser River near Windy ​​Gap Reservoir downstream to its confluence with the William​s Fork River near Parshall​ no longer has any closures.

A complete list of fishing closures in Colorado can be found on CPW's website.

"Although anglers are not legally prohibited from fishing in stretches of river with voluntary closures in place, CPW is asking anglers to find alternative places to fish, preferably at higher altitude, until conditions improve," according to a statement from the agency.

CPW also will continue to place signs along the Eagle, Crystal and Yampa rivers to notify anglers of the voluntary fishing closures, and encourage them to consider fishing at other locations where environmental factors are much less severe.

"These fisheries are a very valuable natural resource for the people of Colorado and the many tourists that come here to enjoy fishing in our rivers and streams," Martin said. "With the conditions that we've seen over the summer, it's been hard on fish. We all have to do what we can to protect our fisheries, and we appreciate everyone's cooperation."

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