New fishing regulations in effect in western Colorado |

New fishing regulations in effect in western Colorado

Post Independent staff report
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Anglers in western Colorado have some new regulations to keep in mind as they take to the local waters.

According to the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the new regulations, which took effect Jan. 1, were developed through an extensive public process last summer and fall as part of the Division’s five-year review of fishing regulations in the state.

The regulations were passed by the Colorado Wildlife Commission last November.

New statewide regulations include a prohibition on transporting bait fish between bodies of water and on transporting crayfish on the Western Slope.

The regulations also allow underwater spearfishing, archery and the use of gigs for the take of carp and northern pike in locations where these fish are illegally introduced and where these methods are allowed by the land and water managing authorities.

Anglers in western Colorado will find new regulations in the following locations:

• Connected Lake and Duke Lake: Bag and possession limit and minimum size for largemouth bass is two fish, 18 inches in length. This regulation will allow harvest of largemouth bass while increasing the quality aspects of the population.

• Highline Reservoir: The bag and possession and minimum size for largemouth bass is two fish, 15 inches in length. Smallmouth bass were dropped from the regulation as they are not managed in Highline Reservoir.

• Parachute Creek, East Middle Fork: Added to the protected cutthroat waters list and special regulations added (artificial flies and lures only, all cutthroat trout must be returned to the water immediately upon catch).

• Rifle Gap Reservoir: Bag and possession limit and minimum size for walleye is one fish, 18 inches in length or over. This regulation will help protect a declining walleye population while biologists work on a long-term option to manage and stock walleye.

• Trappers Lake: All cutthroat trout must be returned to the water immediately upon catch. This regulation is designed to help protect the population of genetically pure cutthroats.

• Yampa River (from Stagecoach Dam downstream to Catamount Lake): Spawning areas (redds) are closed to fishing as posted to protect spawning fish. This regulation will protect large fish that are spawning and prevent destruction of redds while fish eggs are incubating.

• Sweitzer Lake: All fish must be returned to the water immediately upon catch.

• Colorado River (William Fork River to the state line), Dolores River (from McPhee dam to the state line), Uncompahgre River (Ridgway Reservoir downstream to Gunnison River), Eagle River and White River (North and South Fork confluence to Kenny Reservoir): There is no bag or possession limit for channel catfish, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, walleye, green sunfish, bluegill, bullhead, yellow perch or crappie. This regulation is an expansion of an existing regulation that targets non-native fish to reduce those populations and aid in conservation of native and endangered fish species.

Regulations at other waters in the metro Denver area were not changed from 2010 and remain in effect.

In all, the Wildlife Commission adjusted fishing regulations at more than 30 bodies of water statewide. Anglers who fish outside of western Colorado should check for new regulations in other areas on-line at

Complete fishing regulations are available online at the following site:

Regulations booklets for the upcoming fishing season are being printed and should be available next month.

Fishing licenses for the 2011 season take effect April 1 and run through March 31, 2012. Licenses for the 2011 season will go on sale at license agents, Division offices, online and by phone on March 15.

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