A pot of gold for local anglers | PostIndependent.com

A pot of gold for local anglers

Collin Szewczyk
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials added new life to the Colorado River on Thursday morning. No pots of gold were found, but plenty of rainbows were seen.

Four hundred 3-year-old male rainbow trout were released at Two Rivers Park. Most of the lunkers dispersed quickly, while a few remained close to shore, still unsure of their new surroundings.

The trout were retired breeder fish, approximately 18 inches in length, raised at the Crystal River Hatchery south of Carbondale.

Thursday’s stocking is an effort to make up for an unfortunate accident last Nov. 2 that killed 84 trout in the river. The fish kill was determined to be caused by a Hot Springs Pool “maintenance problem” that led to chlorine bleach being discharged into the Colorado River.

The pool’s management filed a report at the time to the Colorado Water Quality Control Division, stating that about 190 gallons of 10 percent bleach mixture was discharged into the river by mistake.

“They felt terrible about the whole thing,” Parks and Wildlife area wildlife manager Perry Will said. “They’re fishermen and hunters, and they’ve been very cooperative in replacing the resource. Accidents happen.”

The Hot Springs Pool was fined $35 for each fish killed last November, for a total of $2,940, which directly paid for Thursday’s fish release.

The fish are a special whirling disease-resistant breed known as Hofer/Harrison rainbows.

“They are a hybrid wild strain and highly whirling disease-resistant fish, one of three breeds that are most resistant.” said Crystal River Hatchery manager Robert Streater.

“These are hearty, big fish,” Streater said. “Some could bite today, but most will be active for fishermen in one to two days.”

While whirling disease isn’t a big problem in local waters, it still does occur.

“It’s better, but we still see some problems,” Will said. “We’re lucky we have one of the country’s best aquatics departments, they are top notch and do a fabulous job.”

The Crystal River Hatchery produces between 6 million and 10 million eggs per year. Most are dispersed locally, while some are sent out of state.

The hatchery is open to the public from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, and special tours can be arranged for educational purposes.

“We can’t run the big tours all the time,” Streater said. “We’re slammed,” he added with a grin.

The stocking of the fish will undoubtedly boost the already productive local fishing waters, and is a fine example of a local business accepting responsibility for an accident and rectifying the situation, said Will.

“As soon as [the Hot Springs Pool] found out what had happened, they stepped up and helped out,” Will said. “Everyone will benefit from this, especially the anglers.”

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