Division of Wildlife says trout need no more lures this time of year
It’s almost spring, and rainbow trout are in the mood for love.The Colorado Division of Wildlife doesn’t want the fish falling for anglers’ lines.A ban on fishing spawning waters at the confluence of several tributaries along the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers goes into effect soon.From March 15 to May 15, fishing will be barred at the confluences of Four- and Three-Mile creeks along the Roaring Fork River, and Grizzly, No Name and Canyon creeks along the Colorado River.The closures extend a half-mile up the creeks, and 50 yards upstream and downstream on the rivers. The same areas are closed in the fall to protect spawning brown trout.The closures first went into effect in 2001, after anglers told the Division of Wildlife some people were taking advantage of the fact that the fish were congregating at the confluences to spawn.According to the Web site for Frying Pan Anglers in Basalt, females use their tails during spawning to create a nest, or redd, by stirring up a current that moves away gravel. The female and one or two males then simultaneously deposit eggs and sperm into the redd, which the female then covers up with gravel.”It is terribly bad form to fish … the spawning trout, so keep an eye out for the redds and avoid them,” the Web site reads. “The fish will tend to stack up downstream from the redds, waiting to move in. If you see a fisherman near them who is unfamiliar with the sensitivity of the area, a kindly warning will not go astray.”At first, the DOW also was simply warning those who violated its rule against fishing spawning waters. But Sonia Marzec, district wildlife manager in Glenwood Springs for the DOW, said the rules have been in place long enough that it is now ticketing first offenders. The fine for the offense is $68.Offenders also can be ticketed for any fish they caught, because those fish were taken illegally.Marzec said local fishing guide shops and other anglers have been good at warning others about the rules.”We’ve got people pretty much policing the area themselves lately,” she said.The heightened awareness about the spawning areas also is attracting more people who want to watch the fish rather than catch them. This also probably improves compliance with the fishing ban, Marzec said.”The people who want to poke that line in there anywhere are not going to do it if somebody’s watching.”She said compliance has improved since the ban began. Most local anglers follow the rules, but sometimes visitors to the area don’t see the DOW’s signs and fish where they shouldn’t.It doesn’t help that people have taken down signs probably a half-dozen times, Marzec said. That’s a ticketable offense, too.She suspects the sign vandals are generally anglers who disagree with the closure.Despite occasional noncompliance, Marzec believes the closure has helped improve trout numbers. She said the local DOW office appears to be in the forefront statewide in implementing bans on fishing spawning waters, in terms of the number of tributaries in the area and the fact that the bans cover both spring and fall.Before, she said, spawning areas were fished heavily, “because that’s where the big fish are at the time.”Larry Pretti, an employee at Roaring Fork Outfitters, said he thinks the ban is helpful in protecting trout from anglers.”They’re not bothering the spawners when they’re up there in the creek,” he said.The problem of fishing spawning waters becomes worse because a lot of people who do so keep the fish rather than releasing them, he said.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Hanging Lake will once again be taking visitors starting May 1.