When to Stop Fishing | #ResponsibleRecreation

Responsible recreation includes so many things and refraining from handling fish when they are stressed is one of importance. No one likes to see a belly-up trout float by. In today’s #ResponsibleRecreation reminder, I’d like to suggest that you first buy your licenses online and also that you look to see if there are any alerts for the area you intend to visit.

This week, Colorado Parks and Wildlife issued more than one press release in regards to fisheries. One is that the Swim beach at Ridgway State Park closed for summer, and the other announcement is asking anglers to curtail fishing on some southwest Colorado rivers.

Lesson 2: Plan ahead, purchase licenses and passes online to avoid overcrowding of public lands.

DURANGO, Colo. – Because of the low flows and warm water temperatures on some southwest Colorado rivers, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is asking anglers to curtail their fishing activity early in the day and to observe a voluntary closure.

Recently, conditions at several rivers in CPW’s Southwest Region that receive a lot of fishing pressure have deteriorated to critical levels for trout survival. Water temperatures have approached or exceeded 71 degrees and daily flows are far below normal at less than 50% of average. Consequently, anglers are being asked to stop fishing activity at noon on these rivers:

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  • Animas River through Durango from the 32nd Street bridge downstream to Rivera Crossing bridge near Home Depot.
  • San Juan River through Pagosa Springs from the intersection of U.S. Highway 160 and Colorado Highway 84 intersection downstream to the Apache Street Bridge.
  • Conejos River from Platoro Reservoir downstream to Broyles Bridge.
  • Rio Grande from Rio Grande Reservoir downstream to the town of Del Norte.
  • South Fork of the Rio Grande from Big Meadows Reservoir downstream to confluence with Rio Grande below the town of South Fork.

This voluntary closure is effective from now through Sept. 25 or until river conditions improve significantly, said John Alves, senior aquatic biologist for CPW in Durango.

“We’re asking for cooperation from anglers on this voluntary closure to protect our trout resources in these rivers,” Alves said. “Anglers are encouraged to fish high-elevation lakes and streams. But there might be some streams in the high country that also become too warm. We encourage anglers to carry a thermometer to check the water temperature. If it’s 70 degrees or above, please stop fishing.”

CPW is an enterprise agency, relying primarily on license sales, state parks fees and registration fees to support its operations, including: 41 state parks and more than 350 wildlife areas covering approximately 900,000 acres, management of fishing and hunting, wildlife watching, camping, motorized and non-motorized trails, boating and outdoor education. CPW’s work contributes approximately $6 billion in total economic impact annually throughout Colorado.


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Mia Anstine is an outdoor writer, licensed outfitter, hunting guide, keynote speaker, and a range safety officer, firearms instructor, and archery instructor. She is the founder of MAC Outdoors and Host of the MAC Outdoors Podcast. 

Mia Anstine strives to encourage others to outdoors, hunt, fish, shoot, and survive life with others in a positive way.

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