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Conditions Net Steamboat Springs a Voluntary Fishing Ban

Greg Hamilton
Flickr – Creative Commons

No more tubing, and now, no more fishing in Steamboat Springs for the foreseeable future.

Lack of water and higher than normal water temperatures have led to a voluntary fishing ban exclusive to the area of the Yampa River in Steamboat Springs.

“We’ve asked our anglers to voluntarily not fish in that section of the river because of such low flows and high water temperatures,” said Mike Porras, the spokesperson for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “We are concerned that fishing can put an enormous amount of stress on the fish and kill them,” said Porras. 

Porras attributes the current conditions to the minimal spring runoff and unseasonably warm weather the state has been experiencing.

For now the ban is voluntary, but Porras says the ban could be enforced by law as an "emergency closure,"  depending on these factors:

  • Average daily water temperature above 74 degrees
  • If fungus is found on the fish, or other signs of physical deterioration are present
  • Daily minimum dissolved oxygen level below 5 parts-per-million
  • Average daily temperature exceeding 72 degrees
  • Wildfire or mudslide change the overall river conditions

Porras says the warmer waters cannot hold as much oxygen as the colder water the fish are used to, and that the worsening conditions across the state could trigger more voluntary closures rivers other than the Yampa.

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