Yampa River closes below Stagecoach Reservoir

A 0.6-mile section of the Yampa River between the dam at Stagecoach State Park and the lowermost point of the park is under a mandatory, full-day closure as of Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife/Courtesy photo

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is implementing a mandatory, full-day closure on a 0.6-mile stretch of the Yampa River below Stagecoach Reservoir due to decreased water flow.

The closure, which extends from the dam at Stagecoach State Park to the lowermost park boundary, will go into effect on Saturday, Oct. 22, and continue until rescinded.

“We are trying to be proactive in protecting the outstanding catch-and-release fishery we have downstream of Stagecoach Reservoir,” said CPW Area Aquatic Biologist Bill Atkinson in a news release. “This closure is an effort to protect the resource by giving the fish a bit of a reprieve as they are prone to increased stressors related to these extreme low-flow conditions.”

When water flows are low, fish concentrate in pools and become stressed with increased competition for food resources. Additionally, the grouped fish become easier targets for anglers, another stressor on the fish that can lead to increased hooking mortality, according to the release.

The Yampa below Stagecoach is flowing at 20.4 cubic feet per second, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It’s the lowest recorded flow in 34 years of monitoring.

The new closure is not related to the closure of the small section of the Yampa River at the Fish Creek confluence implemented to protect spawning mountain whitefish.

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