Sumary of Some drought-imposed fishing limits lifted on Colorado River:
- DENVER (AP) — Colorado lifted some fishing restrictions along a stretch of the Colorado River on Tuesday, but biologists warn that historically low water flows caused by a drought in the U.S. West, high water temperatures and wildfire sediment that all starve trout of oxygen could force future bans.
- Tuesday’s changes allow anglers — a key driver of Colorado’s summer tourist economy — to fish a 27-mile (43-kilometer) stretch of river anytime between midnight and noon, when waters are cooler.
- The changes came after upriver reservoir releases, recent rain and a smaller amount of cold Colorado River headwaters being diverted to the Denver metro area on the eastern side of the Continental Divide, said Kendall Bakich, a Parks and Wildlife aquatic biologist.
- “There have been such low flows beginning this spring that the Colorado River looks more like a creek than a river.
- While cold-water trout thrive in temperatures below 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 Celsius), biologists have recorded temperatures surpassing 75 F (24 C).
- Colorado’s Western Slope also experienced minimal spring runoff from the high Rocky Mountain snowpack this year — runoff that usually flushes out the river and replenishes high-quality habitat for fish, Bakich said.