There is hope for fishermen casting about for good news to hook into this year
Dry conditions and low stream flows are affecting trout fishing in several ways, but not all for the bad, said Crystal River Hatchery supervisor John Riger.For one thing, the low runoff kept some trout in local rivers, rather than them being swept downstream.And on the Crystal River, more trout than normal spent the winter there, and the Colorado Division of Wildlife also stocked it earlier than usual.”So it should be good (on the Crystal) from here on out,” said Riger.Anglers have several fishing options in the Glenwood Springs area. There are major rivers such as the Colorado, Roaring Fork, Frying Pan and Crystal. There are also tributaries such as Three Mile and Grizzly creeks.”Some creeks could go dry altogether,” Riger said.Just because the creeks are small and can be stepped across in places doesn’t mean there aren’t trout in them. Last week, DOW conducted a salvage operation on Three Mile Creek south of Glenwood Springs, to net and save what turned out to be 287 brood rainbows that were trapped and couldn’t make it down to the Roaring Fork.”There were some big pools up there, and people along the creek called to say they (the rainbows) were trapped,” said aquatic biologist Alan Czenkusch.Volunteers from Roaring Fork Anglers helped in the rescue operation. “The total weight was 600 to 700 pounds,” which means the average rainbow was 2 to 3 pounds, Czenkusch said.Some anglers hike to high country lakes to cast about for trout. Riger said lakes above 10,000 feet will be open by mid-June, “and that’s about two weeks earlier than normal.”Riger said that right now, trout in area rivers are doing great.”Later in the summer, it (the drought) will challenge them,” Riger said.Pat Tucker, DOW’s area manager, said river flows are lower than expected, and he expects them to go lower. As the summer goes on, he looks for trout to congregate in deeper holes where they could be easier to catch.Parts of the Colorado, Roaring Fork and Frying Pan rivers are catch and release. Between the catching, releasing and stress brought on by higher water temperatures and lower water levels, it’s easy for trout to get stressed out and die. To keep trout around so they can fight another day, Tucker said to keep them in the water while removing hooks, and not play them too long.As for the drought itself, Riger said he’s a little concerned about how it might impact local fish populations, “But drought is not foreign to Colorado. … It’s part of the normal process.”Every spring, anglers start asking about DOW’s stocking plans. Riger released the stocking schedule last week, so here it is:-Beaver Lake – DOW has stocked or will stock 5,000 rainbow trout, 10-inchers, on June 1 and 3, and July 3.-Chapman Dam – 1,000 rainbows, 10 inch, on May 4, June 3 and 7.-Lake Christine – 1,000 rainbows, 10 inch, on June 1.-Frying Pan River – 2,000 rainbows, 10 inch, on April 1.-The Gypsum Ponds – 2,000 rainbows, 10 inch, on July 19 and 20.-Sweetwater Lake – 4,000 rainbows, 10 inch, May 3, and June 3 and 7.-The Roaring Fork River from the Colorado River to Carbondale – 300 rainbows, 19 inch, no date available.-Ruedi Reservoir – 100 rainbows, 19 inch, through the year.-Rifle Gap Reservoir – 200 rainbows, 19 inches, in April.
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