Full-day voluntary fishing closure reinstated on Yampa River
Due to high water temperatures and a decline in flow, Colorado Parks and Wildlife reinstated a full-day voluntary fishing closure on the Yampa River beginning Friday, Aug. 12.
The closure on the river runs from Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area to the western edge of city limits at the Steamboat Springs KOA Holiday.
Previously, the river was under a partial-day closure that was put into place on Tuesday, Aug. 9. However, water temperature eclipsed 76 degrees for two consecutive days, peaking at 79.52 degrees on Thursday, Aug. 11, leading CPW to expand the closure to all day.
When water temperatures rise above 70 degrees, there is less dissolved oxygen in the water, which makes it harder for fish to breathe.
Additionally, flows dropped below 80 cubic feet per second on Friday, which adds to the stress on the fish.
Despite river conditions prompting CPW and Steamboat Springs to open and close the river multiple times, this closure will likely stick.
“We understand it’s confusing to go back and forth,” said Christy Bubenheim, administrative assistant at CPW in Steamboat Springs. “It’s hard to keep it closed if we don’t have to, but knowing that if we do open it, we’re going to have to close it again in a day or two typically. I would assume at this point we’re going to keep it closed through these next hot couple weeks.”
June 1 – Mandatory fishing closure implemented at tailwaters
July 18 – Mandatory commercial closure, voluntary activities closure
July 20 – Voluntary fishing closure implemented downtown
July 25 – Yampa River reopens to activities such as tubing
July 28 – Yampa River reopens to fishing downtown, at tailwaters
Aug. 2 – Mandatory commercial closure, voluntary activities closure reinstated
Aug. 9 – Voluntary partial-day fishing closure reinstated downtown
Aug. 12 – Voluntary full-day fishing closure reinstated downtown
The Yampa River has been in flux this summer, closing and opening a couple times as warm weather and rains altered the flow and temperature.
CPW issued a full-day voluntary closure on July 20, two days after the Yampa River closed to commercial tubing. On July 25, the river reopened to tubing, and CPW reopened the Yampa River to fishing downtown and at the tailwaters three days later. The tailwaters are still open to fishing although downtown is closing.
Last year, after an emergency closure shut down the tailwaters near Stagecoach Reservoir in May, the section remained closed through the fall. When the river downtown shut down in 2021, it didn’t reopen until the fall.
For a full list of fishing closures across the state, go to cpw.state.co.us/thingstodo/Pages/StatewideFishingConditions.aspx
Shelby Reardon is the assistant editor at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach her, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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