Low water levels, heat impacting summer recreation in Colorado

Fishing and tubing closures increase across state

GOLDEN, Colo. -- This year, Colorado is dealing with extreme levels of drought, and the high temperatures are impacting some opportunities for outdoor recreation in certain areas across the state.

The low water levels stopped thousands of people from tubing down a portion of the South Platte River on Saturday. The city of Littleton closed the area after discovering a Facebook post with thousands of RSVP’s to the event. The city said it wanted to avoid people getting hurt from rocks sticking out of the water, destruction to the river bed and trash potentially being left behind.

The low water levels are also having impacts in Steamboat Springs.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) closed fishing on the section of the Yampa River running through Steamboat. A big reason for the closure is due to water temperature impacting the fish.

“As the oxygen levels drop and the water temperatures increase, that causes the fish to stress out and then as the flows drop it does congregate these fish in tighter areas,” said Jeff Spohn, Senior Aquatic Biologist for the Platte River Basin.

Wildlife officials said the water in the Yampa River is consistently reaching more than 75 degrees later in the day. Trout often stop feeding and become more susceptible to disease in high temperatures.

Anglers are not legally prohibited from fishing in the stretch of the river, but CPW and Steamboat Springs are asking people to find alternative places to fish until conditions improve.

A section of Clear Creek in Golden is still flowing at safe levels for the many tubers who go there to enjoy. The USGS measures the water flow through Stream Gauging Stations along the creek. People can go to their website to learn how many cubic feet per second are flowing by at once in order to make a decision on where to recreate.

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