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Trouts Journal

CPW Lifts Many of the Voluntary Closures on Colorado Rivers

Ivan Orsic / Sep 5, 2018

As of 8/30, Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) announced that they are lifting and changing many of the voluntary fishing closures that they put in place earlier this year. Needless to say, we are happy to see these voluntary closures lifted, as it means that water temperatures are stabilizing and fall fishing will round into shape. The Voluntary Fishing Closures that were lifted include the Colorado River from State Bridge to Rifle, the Colorado River from the confluence with the Fraser River near Windy Gap Reservoir to the confluence with the Williams Fork River, the Fraser River from Grand County Road 8 in Fraser to the confluence with the Colorado River near Windy Gap Reservoir, the tailwater of the Yampa River below Stagecoach, and the Roaring Fork River from Carbondale to the confluence with the Colorado River.

It should be mentioned that a couple of the closures have been amended. The Crystal River from Avalanche Creek to the confluence with the Roaring Fork has been moved to a voluntary full-day fishing closure. The same voluntary full-day fishing closure was also put in place for the Yampa River from Chuck Lewis SWA to the western city limits of Steamboat Springs. We will also note that the Eagle below Wolcott is still on a HOOT OWL closure with voluntary non-fishing times starting at 2 PM and ending at Midnight.

All in all, this is great news, as we're seeing consistently healthier water temperatures throughout the Colorado Rockies. Fall fishing is shaping up well and we are just a little bit excited about that.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife lifts and changes voluntary fishing closures in northwest Colorado

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Effective immediately, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is lifting and modifying existing voluntary fishing closures on multiple waters in the state's northwest region, including the Yampa, Colorado, Fraser, White, Roaring Fork, Crystal, and Eagle rivers.

Voluntary Fishing Closures NO LONGER in Effect

A mandatory fishing closure in place at the tailwater of the Yampa River has been rescinded (see 7/19/18 news release)

Colorado River from State Bridge downstream to Rifle

Colorado River from the confluence with the Fraser River near Windy ​​Gap Reservoir downstream to its confluence with the William​s Fork River near Parshall​

Fraser River from Grand County Road 8 in Fraser, downstream through the towns of Tabernash and Granby to confluence with the Colorado River near Windy Gap Reservoir

North Fork of White River at the National Forest boundary, through the mainstem of the river to the County Road 5 bridge, downstream of the Rio Blanco Lake State Wildlife Area

South Fork of the White River from the National Forest boundary thorough the mainstem of the river to the County Road 5 bridge, downstream of the Rio Blanco Lake State Wildlife Area

Roaring Fork River from Carbondale downstream to its confluence with the Colorado River​​

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is modifying existing restrictions on multiple waters in the Northwest Region. Updated fishing restrictions include:

Voluntary full-day fishing closure

Crystal River from Avalanche Creek downstream to its confluence with the Roaring Fork River

Yampa River from Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area downstream to the western city limits of Steamboat Springs

Voluntary 2 p.m. – midnight fishing closure

Eagle River from Wolcott downstream to its confluence with the Colorado River

A complete list of fishing closures in Colorado is available on CPW’s website.


CPW officials say environmental conditions in these waters have changed in recent days, with some rivers showing improvements; however, some areas still have flows unsuitable for coldwater fish.

On the Crystal River, CPW is modifying the existing voluntary fishing closure due to low flow conditions.

"This closure on the Crystal is moving to a voluntary, full-day fishing closure rather than a closure between 2 p.m. and midnight," said Senior Aquatic Biologist Lori Martin. "What has not changed is the stretch of river affected, which is from the confluence with Avalanche Creek to the confluence with the Roaring Fork River."

CPW is also modifying the existing voluntary fishing closure on the Yampa River from the Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area to the western city limits of Steamboat Springs.

"Flow conditions are still very stressful for fish in this stretch, so we made the decision to implement a full-day voluntary closure as opposed to partial voluntary closure we've had in place over the past few weeks," said Martin.

On the Eagle River, the current voluntary fishing closure from 2 p.m. to midnight will remain in place from Wolcott downstream to the confluence with the Colorado River.

Although anglers are not legally prohibited from fishing in stretches of river with voluntary closures in place, CPW is asking anglers to find alternative places to fish, preferably at higher altitude, until conditions improve.

CPW will remove signs where voluntary fishing closures will be lifted. CPW will also continue to place signs along the Eagle, Crystal, and Yampa rivers to notify anglers of the voluntary fishing closures, and encourage them to consider fishing at other locations where environmental factors are much less severe.

If current conditions persist, CPW may consider mandatory fishing closures to protect fish.

"These fisheries are a very valuable natural resource for the people of Colorado and the many tourists that come here to enjoy fishing in our rivers and streams," said Martin. "With the conditions that we've seen over the summer, it's been hard on fish. We all have to do what we can to protect our fisheries, and we appreciate everyone's cooperation."

CPW recommends anglers contact their local CPW office for the most recent information relative to fishing closures, fishing conditions, and fishing opportunities, as conditions may change quite rapidly.

Local watershed organizations are also good resources for information on river health including the Roaring Fork Conservancy, Eagle River Watershed Council, and the Middle Colorado Watershed Council.

For more information about fishing in Colorado, visit the CPW website.

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