Colorado Parks and Wildlife enacts voluntary fishing closures on the Fraser River, Colorado River and Eagle River until further notice
Drought and warming temperatures take their toll on fish in local rivers
Due to warm water temperatures, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is asking anglers to voluntarily avoid fishing on sections of the Fraser River, Colorado River, and Eagle River.
Beginning Friday, July 15, Parks and Wildlife is placing the following voluntary fishing closures in effect from noon until 11:59 p.m. daily:
- Fraser River from the County Road 8 bridge crossing at Fraser downstream to the confluence with the Colorado River near Granby
- Colorado River from the confluence with the Fraser River near Granby downstream to the confluence with the Williams Fork River at Parshall
- Colorado River from the Colorado Highway 9 bridge crossing at Kremmling downstream to State Bridge
- Eagle River from the Eagle County Fairgrounds at Eagle to the confluence with the Colorado River at Dotsero
In addition to the partial day closures, a full-day closure is in effect on the Colorado River from State Bridge downstream to Bair Ranch in Glenwood Canyon. These voluntary closures will remain in effect until further notice, with a possibility of a mandatory emergency closure to all fishing if conditions worsen or angler compliance becomes problematic.
“We know that anglers care deeply about these cold-water trout fisheries,” said Lori Martin, a Parks and Wildlife Northwest Region senior aquatic biologist . “We need their help to conserve these resources and that’s why we’re asking anglers to carefully consider the water and weather conditions when they go fishing. If water seems too warm or fish appear lethargic, it would be best to call it a day or find another fishing opportunity at higher elevations.”
Heat, drought, and low water levels are contributing to elevated water temperatures in Colorado’s rivers, depleting oxygen levels and leaving fish vulnerable. When water temperatures exceed 70 degrees, fish often stop feeding and become more susceptible to disease. Warm temperature and low water levels can also lead to algae blooms in rivers and reservoirs, which cause oxygen levels to drop when algae die and decompose.
“Get out early to avoid the higher water temperatures commonly seen in the afternoon and evening,” Martin said. “Anglers are also encouraged to seek out high-elevation lakes and streams, where water temperatures are more suitable and fishing doesn’t potentially add additional stress.”
Martin also urged anglers to add a hand-held thermometer to their fishing kits so they can test the waters they intend to fish.
“Anglers can monitor water temperatures on their own and stop fishing when water temperatures start to approach 70 degrees,” she said.
Other suggestions include using heavier tippet and line to quickly reel in and release the fish, always wetting your hands before handling a fish, and keeping the fish submerged while unhooking and releasing it. Anglers are encourages to avoid taking the fish out of the water even for a quick photo in these conditions. Mandatory and voluntary fishing closures, as well as current conditions can be found on the Parks and Wildlife website. Anglers can also check with local Parks and Wildlife offices to learn about destination water conditions before traveling.
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