Antero Reservoir to be drained, fishing limit increased

PARK COUNTY, Colo. - Antero Reservoir will be drained this summer to finish work on the century-old dam.

Because of the draining plans, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will raise the fishing limit to eight trout, with no size restrictions, starting Saturday.

Work on the 1909 dam started began in 2013. However, to finish the project, the reservoir needs to be drained, according to Denver Water.

"The primary benefit of this project is to bring the dam up to current safety standards, which will allow us to restore our normal water levels," said Bill Dressel, Denver Water dam safety engineer.

Denver Water said Antero Reservoir has been operating at a reduced capacity since May 2011, when officials lowered water levels at the reservoir to investigate the condition of the dam and as a safety precaution to reduce water pressure and seepage.

Denver Water will begin drawing down the reservoir based on the progress of the construction project and the spring snowmelt. Antero Reservoir will close to the public once the drawdown begins.

While fishing limits are being raised, people planning to fish at Antero will still need a valid Colorado fishing license and all current legal fishing methods at Antero Reservoir will continue to be allowed.

"No snagging of fish will be allowed," according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

When the reservoir level recedes, CPW staff will conduct a salvage operation below Antero Reservoir, as fish migrate out of Antero Reservoir.

The salvaged fish will be relocated to other Park County waters.

"Once Denver Water’s dam construction project is complete, and the reservoir refills to a level that will overwinter trout, CPW is committed to rebuilding the fishery," CPW officials said.

Denver Water hopes to begin refilling as soon as spring of 2016.

It is expected to take one to four years to refill the reservoir, depending on the amount of snowfall and timing of snowmelt.

Denver Water expects the reservoir to return to its normal operation by late 2018, when construction ends.

Learn more about Antero Reservoir here.

Learn more about fishing in Colorado.

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