Steamboat Springs reopens Yampa River to tubers; anglers have to wait

High water temperatures closed river to commercial outfitters a week ago

Makenna Boyd-Yeh, Kaylyn Boyd-Yeh and Devyn Kernohan, shown from left, sit in their tubes as they watch the action at Charlie's Hole on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 from the banks of the Yampa River.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Steamboat Springs reopened the Yampa River to recreational uses other than fishing on Monday, July 25, after rainfall one day earlier pushed water temperatures down to 59 degrees.

The river closed a week ago when water temperatures rose above 75 degrees for two consecutive days, triggering a mandatory commercial closure for outfitters that operate on the river. A voluntary closure for everyone else was also put in place.

The change is effective immediately, according to the city.

“The recent weather with continued cloud cover and rain has allowed the river to move back into a position to reopen,” said Craig Robinson, the city’s parks, trails and open space manager, in a Monday news release. “We greatly appreciated everyone who followed the restrictions as well as the entire community for their continued support of our No. 1 natural resource.”

A fishing closure that went into place on Wednesday, July 20, that extends from Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area south of town to Steamboat’s western city limits remains in place.

In the news release, the city noted that closure could be lifted as well, but Colorado Parks and Wildlife will allow the fishery a few more days to recover before anglers can once again drop their lines.

There is precedent for the river opening to tubers but not anglers.

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Last fall a section of the Yampa River near its confluence with Fish Creek remained closed when the rest of the river reopened. City officials and CPW will potentially consider lifting this closure later this week.

“The fishery has been exposed to challenging environmental conditions with recent high temperatures, and allowing fish populations time to recover is important,” said Bill Atkinson, an aquatic biologist for CPW. “As we get back in the water for recreation, be respectful of the river and know your actions can have significant actions down the road so please practice proper river etiquette.”

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