For Gunnison home owners who have spent time in lakes and streams this summer, you may have noticed something nice. Warmer temperatures have made spending time in the water a relaxing experience. Unfortunately, for the fish, they’re not so confortable. Rising water temperatures are posing problems for fish in Gunnison and beyond.
Because of the drought that has plagued the Western Slope’s waterways this summer, fishermen have reported higher temperatures in Colorado’s streams. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) recently issued a voluntary closure of Tomichi Creek along with at least four other streams in the area in an effort to better the health of the trout population. Water temperatures have reached into the mid-70’s this summer, which creates a poor environment for the fish.
Adds Dan Brauch, an aquatic biologist with CPW, “We’ve received rains that have made temperatures much lower in recent days, but on most days it’s in the mid-70s and tough on the fish.” According to Brauch, when water temperatures get near 72 degrees and stay warm for long periods of time, fish are faced with higher rates of mortality. Increased water temperatures lead to lower oxygen rates in the water, which creates an understandable stress to the fish.
There’s good news for the majority of streams in the Gunnison Valley though. The East, Gunnison and Taylor rivers have maintained a favorable temperature all summer long and have not risen above the mid-60s. So, what can Colorado anglers do? Trout Unlimited and CPW ask everyone to respect signs asking anglers to not fish in certain areas. The last time a voluntary closure was put into place on a local waterway was during the summer of 2002.
Gunnison home owners know why this is such an amazing place to call home. If you’re interested in Gunnison real estate, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m a local real estate expert who would be happy to show you around!