Count on a ticket this year, not a warning, for fishing spawning areas
For the second year, the Colorado Division of Wildlife will close certain tributaries of the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers to fishing in order to protect spawning rainbow trout.
The closures, which run through May 15, apply to Three Mile and Four Mile creeks, which are tributaries of the Roaring Fork River, and to Canyon, No Name and Grizzly creeks, which feed into the Colorado, said Alan Czenkusch, aquatic biologist for the DOW district office in Glenwood Springs.
Anglers will be prohibited from fishing for one-half mile up the creek from its confluence with the river. Fishing will also be prohibited for 50 yards on either side of these creeks, with the exception of Canyon Creek. There, fishing is closed on the creek only on the north side of Interstate 70, Czenkusch said.
In addition, the rivers themselves are closed to fishing from bank to bank where those tributaries enter.
Last year wildlife managers issued warnings to those violating the regulation. But not this year.
“They’ll get a ticket for $68 for fishing in a closed area,” Czenkusch said, and get an additional fine if they have fish in their possession.
Three years ago local anglers and outfitters asked the DOW to consider imposing the regulations to protect rainbow trout, which have been especially hard hit by whirling disease, Czenkusch said.
“Normally we initiate regulation changes, but this came as a result of a front-page photo in the Glenwood Independent of people grinning walking out of Grizzly holding a multiple-pound rainbow,” Czenkusch said.
A few days later at a roundtable discussion between the DOW and local anglers, the anglers brought up the idea of prohibiting fishing for spawning rainbows in the early spring.
“We considered it and said this is worth doing if the public is for it,” he said.
While the regulations were in place, and the signs posted, last year, “people I ran into were 100 percent in favor,” he said.
Czenkusch said he issued about six warning tickets last year.
He will post signs along the affected creeks warning anglers about the new regulations.
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