Colorado Parks & Wildlife initiates voluntary mid-day fishing closures on stretches of Vail, Roaring Fork valley rivers | VailDaily.com

Colorado Parks & Wildlife initiates voluntary mid-day fishing closures on stretches of Vail, Roaring Fork valley rivers

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is asking anglers to stay off stretches of local rivers during the hottest parts of the day. The voluntary restrictions could become the law if weather and river conditions do not improve.

EAGLE — High water temperatures and low flows have state wildlife officials asking anglers to stay off regional rivers during the hottest part of the day.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is implementing voluntary fishing closures between 2 p.m. and midnight on sections of the Eagle River, Colorado River, Crystal River and Roaring Fork River.

The fishing closure is effective immediately and will remain in place until further notice, Colorado Parks and Wildlife said in a statement Friday morning, July 20.

It's not illegal, but

Anglers are not legally prohibited from fishing in the closed stretches, but state wildlife officials are asking them to fish early in the day and find alternative places to fish until conditions improve.

"We appreciate the patience of our angling community as we work through some tough climate conditions," said JT Romatzke, Northwest regional manager.

Recommended Stories For You

"Conserving our state's fisheries is critical, not just for anglers, but for the local communities and businesses that rely on these resources for their livelihoods."

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is placing signs along the four sections of rivers to notify anglers and encourage them to consider fishing at higher elevation lakes and streams where environmental factors are much less severe, particularly during the afternoons and evenings.

70 degrees is key

Heat and drought have pushed water temperatures to dangerous levels across much of Colorado, depleting oxygen levels and leaving trout vulnerable. Trout thrive around 50 degrees, get more lethargic when at 60 degrees and can become stressed at 70 degrees.

Josh Nehring, senior aquatic biologist in the agency's Southeast Region, urged anglers to add a hand-held thermometer to their fishing kits so they can test the waters they intend to fish.

"Anglers should end their trout fishing adventures when water temperatures reach 70 degrees," he said. "If trout have difficulty recovering from a catch and are acting lethargic, it's probably time to call it quits for the day."

Staff writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

Voluntary fishing closures

Sections for the voluntary fishing closures include:

• Eagle River from Wolcott downstream to its confluence with the Colorado River

• Colorado River from State Bridge downstream to Rifle

• Crystal River from Avalanche Creek downstream to its confluence with the Roaring Fork River

• Roaring Fork River from Carbondale downstream to its confluence with the Colorado River.

For more information

Local watershed organizations are good resources for information on river health.

Eagle River Watershed Council

Roaring Fork Conservancy

Middle Colorado Watershed Council

Call the Glenwood Springs Colorado Parks and Wildlife office at 970-947-2920, or go to the CPW website.