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.
Effective Friday, July 15, Parks and Wildlife is enforcing the following voluntary fishing closures from noon to 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 confluence with Fraser River near Granby downstream to confluence with Williams Fork River at Parshall
- Colorado River from the Colorado Route 9 Bridge at Kremmling Downstream of the State Bridge
- Eagle River from the Eagle County Fairgrounds in Eagle to the confluence with the Colorado River in 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 the possibility of a mandatory emergency closure to all fishing if conditions worsen or fisher compliance becomes an issue.
“We know anglers care deeply about these cold water trout fisheries,” said Lori Martin, senior aquatic biologist for Parks and Wildlife Northwest Region. “We need their help to conserve these resources and that’s why we ask anglers to take the water and weather conditions into consideration when they go fishing. If the water seems too warm or the fish seem lethargic, it would be best to stop or find another fishing opportunity at higher elevations.
Heat, dryness, and low water levels contribute to high water temperatures in Colorado rivers, depleting oxygen levels and leaving fish vulnerable. When the water temperature exceeds 70 degrees, fish often stop feeding and become more susceptible to disease. The hot temperature and low water levels can also lead to algae blooms in rivers and reservoirs, which leads to lower oxygen levels as the 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 look for lakes and streams at higher elevations, where water temperatures are more appropriate and where fishing does not 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.
“Fishermen can monitor the water temperature themselves and stop fishing when the water temperature starts approaching 70 degrees,” she said.
Other suggestions include using a heavier tip and line to quickly reel in and release fish, always get your hands wet before handling a fish, and keeping the fish submerged while unhooking and releasing it. . Anglers are encouraged to avoid pulling fish out of the water even for a quick shot in these conditions. Mandatory and voluntary fishing closures and current conditions can be viewed on the Parks and Wildlife website. Anglers can also check with local parks and wildlife offices to find out about the water conditions at your destination before you travel.