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Some Drought-Imposed Fishing Limits Lifted on Colorado River | Colorado News

DENVER (AP) — Colorado lifted some fishing restrictions along a 27-mile (43-kilometer) stretch of the Colorado River on Tuesday, but biologists warn that historically low water flows caused by the Western drought, high water temperatures and wildfire sediment that all starve trout of oxygen could force future bans.

On July 7, Colorado Parks and Wildlife imposed a rare 120-mile (193-kilometer) voluntary fishing ban from the town of Kremmling in north-central Colorado to Rifle in the western part of the state. Tuesday’s move allows anglers — a key driver of Colorado’s summer tourist economy — to fish anytime between midnight and noon, when waters are cooler, from State Bridge on the Upper Colorado to Red Dirt Creek west of Glenwood Springs. Restrictions have also been partially lifted for 50 miles (80 kilometers) upstream.

Tuesday’s change came after a combination of upriver reservoir releases, isolated recent rains and diminished diversion of cold Colorado River headwaters to the Denver metropolitan area on the eastern side of the Continental Divide, said Kendall Bakich, a CPW aquatic biologist based in Glenwood Springs.

Days of smoke from wildfires burning in western states also has deflected solar radiation that heats up the river, slightly lowering temperatures, Bakich said.

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