MONTE VISTA – Extremely low flows and concerns about water temperature prompts Colorado Parks and Wildlife to ask anglers to only fish the Conejos River in the morning.
This regulation is effective immediately from noon through the remainder of the the day. The section of the river is from Platoro Reservoir down to Broyles Bridge in the San Luis Valley.
If conditions worsen CPW could impose an emergency closure to all fishing in that area.
“The Conejos River is one of Colorado’s most renowned trout streams,” said John Alves, senior aquatic biologist. “We know that anglers care deeply about this fishery and we need their help to conserve this resource.”
The ongoing drought is causing river flows across the state to be much lower than historic levels. During a normal year, flows from the outlet at the Platoro Reservoir are about 60 cubic feet per second. For the past several weeks the flows have averaged about 10 cfs– which is only 19 percent of average.
The water temperature is also a concern. The water is at 70 degrees which is unhealthy for trout. By fishing during the morning hours the water has had time to cool off overnight, according to the CPW this will lesson the impact to the trout.
“This is the first time we’ve made this kind of voluntary-action request on the Conejos. It’s not something we like to do, but it’s the right thing to do and we hope anglers will join us in this conservation effort,” Alves said.
The predominant species in the river is the Brown trout and they spawn in the fall. CPW says the current river conditions may have an affect on the spawning season.