Due to low flows in the White River, Colorado Parks and Wildlife managers are requesting that anglers fish only during the cooler, early morning hours, or to look for alternative fishing locations that are not as significantly affected by the current climate conditions, the agency reported in a news release.
An official, voluntary closure like the one implemented on the Yampa River in Steamboat Springs last week is not currently planned for the White River. Wildlife managers hope to avoid an official closure by asking for voluntary cooperation from local anglers, according to the release.
“The current situation is very stressful for fish,” said Bill de Vergie, Area Wildlife Manager in Meeker, in the release. “We ask the public to help us protect this fishery by honoring our request and avoid it during the hottest part of the day, or perhaps find a cooler, higher-altitude fishery.”
Wildlife officials have observed water temperatures approaching dangerous levels for cold-water fish in the White River during the early afternoon and evening. Although water temperatures dip into the 50s overnight, the high daytime temperatures are a source of concern. Under these stressful conditions, hooked fish may experience mortality even if released quickly back into the water, the release stated.
It could take several years for an affected fishery to fully recover if a significant number of fish die due to the drought-like conditions, according to the release.
Like many rivers and streams in western Colorado, the White River offers world-class fishing and attracts thousands of anglers each year, providing a source of income to hotels, outfitters and many other local businesses that depend on outdoor recreation, the release stated.
“Because of the importance of the river to our community, we believe that most anglers will cooperate,” de Vergie said in the release. “As soon as we see a shift in the weather pattern, people will once again enjoy the great fishing in the White River.”
For more information about fishing in places not affected by low flows, please visit: http://wildlife.state.co.us/Fishing/Pages/Fishing.aspx.