Parks and Wildlife Suspends Bag Limits During Dam Reconstruction
OURAY – With dam reconstruction set to begin the week of July 16 at Crystal Lake Reservoir near Ouray, Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced on Monday that all bag and possession limits for taking fish from the lake have been suspended through July 31.
Anglers who have a valid 2012 Colorado fishing license may keep all the fish they can catch by hook and line, and by snagging. Parks and Wildlife spokesman Joe Lewandowski said the lake, which is located four miles south of Ouray on Hwy. 550, was last stocked in 2010, with 2,500 Colorado River cutthroat trout.
“This is a high elevation lake, so are a few wild brook trout up there but what we stock up there is cutthroat trout. I’d say the ones that are up there are anywhere between 10 and 12 inches in size,” he said.
Construction on the reservoir’s dam will begin on July 16, at which time the area around the dam and the Saint Germain Rock Storage area will be closed for public safety purposes. The closure includes parking areas, portions of hiking trails, day-use activities, fishing, and travel within the construction zone. Trails affected by the closure include the Hayden Trail and the Mears Trail where they cross the dam, and the Albany Trail in the vicinity of Saint Germain. All closures will be fully marked.
Ouray District Ranger Tammy Randall-Parker said work on the dam is needed to address various deficiencies, including the lack of a functioning outlet and an emergency spillway. Construction will include the rebuilding of leaking embankments, installing a 120-foot spillway, installing riprap on the face of the dam, and replacing the spillway piping.
“Crystal Lake Reservoir is a special place, enjoyed by locals and tourists and we apologize for the short-term closure of this area,” Randall-Parker said. “We hope recreationists will respect the closure and understand that the need to provide for a safe-operating dam is of utmost importance. The closure order will be lifted as soon as it is safe to do so.”
While fish possession limits have been lifted at Crystal Lake Reservoir until July 31, Lewandowski said the use of explosives, toxicants, firearms and nets remain illegal. Once completion of the dam work is finished, he said Colorado Parks and Wildlife will restock the lake.
“As soon as the lake has water in it again, we will begin restocking it,” Lewandowski said. “If they get the dam repaired and filled up with water by the fall, we will probably try to get some fish in there this fall.”
State officers will post signs at Crystal Lake to notify the public of these requirements. For more information on fish salvage, contact the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Office in Montrose at 2300 S. Townsend Ave, 970/252-6000, or visit wildlife.state.co.us/.
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