Another 1,000 trout added to Black Lakes atop Vail Pass | VailDaily.com

Another 1,000 trout added to Black Lakes atop Vail Pass

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This rainbow trout is one of over 1,000 added to Black Lakes on Vail Pass last week as part of the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District's annual restocking effort.

VAIL PASS — The Black Lakes now have another 2,500 pounds of rainbow trout for anglers to enjoy.

The Eagle River Water & Sanitation District completed the second of its summer stockings on Thursday, with a little over 1,000 9-inch to 16-inch rainbow trout added to the lakes, located just north of the Vail Pass exit.

The trout are raised by a Boulder-based fishery that is licensed and health-inspected by the Colorado Department of Agriculture and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, which annually tests the fishery's trout to ensure each lot is healthy and free of disease, said Diane Johnson with the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District.

"They're great quality fish," Johnson said. "And it's great access, this is a really super point for families to come to."

The district stocks the lakes annually with "catchable rainbow trout" under the terms of a 1986 agreement with the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. The two cold-water reservoirs are operated as part of the water supply system developed by the district, which is responsible for the public water system serving the town of Vail and by contract, communities from Eagle-Vail through Cordillera.

At various times of the year, the district releases water from the two lakes into Black Gore Creek that flows into Gore Creek, which runs through the town of Vail. The released water augments Gore Creek streamflows and can be used per district water rights. The lakes are currently "spilling" as remaining snowpack melts and water beyond the storage capacity flows over the spillway into Black Gore Creek. Black Lake No. 2 filled in early May while Black Lake No. 1 filled in late May.

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Black Lakes are visible from Interstate 70, sitting to the west of Vail Pass at an elevation of 10,500 feet and are easily accessed by the public. Black Lake No. 1 covers 27.7 acres and has a capacity of 527 acre-feet of water, nearly 172 million gallons, while Black Lake No. 2 covers 9.6 acres and has a capacity of 98 acre-feet of water, or about 32 million gallons. The lakes are stocked proportionally, with about two-thirds of the 2,500 pounds of rainbow trout going into Black Lake No. 1 and the remaining fish stocking Black Lake No. 2.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife partners with the district to operate Black Lake No. 2 in support of fishing, wildlife habitat and recreation. Information on fishing licenses and fees is available online at wildlife.state.co.us/Fishing/.