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The City of Steamboat Springs will lift the restrictions for recreational and commercial use on the Yampa River effective immediately.
“All rivers ebb and flow, but the Yampa River has seen its share of significant stresses this year,” said Craig Robinson, Parks, Open Space and Trails Manager. “We’re glad the river is returning to healthier levels allowing the community to again access one of its premier natural resources.”
With the arrival of wetter weather, combined with increased releases out of upstream reservoirs, the Yampa River is experiencing improvements in aquatic conditions. Cooler temperatures and increased flows, coupled with significantly less demand, has permitted the river to rebound and reopen for recreation.
While these two key indicators are showing positive recovery, river flows remain approximately 40% below average for this time of year. River managers will pay continued attention to flow levels which impact aquatic habitat by concentrating larger numbers of fish in limited areas. Water temperatures have remained in the mid to high 50°s during the daytime and dropped into the upper 40°s overnight.
Concurrently, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is lifting the full day, 24-hour voluntary closure on the Yampa River from Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area (CLSWA) to the western edge of the city limits of Steamboat Springs, effective immediately.
A construction closure, on a short stretch of the CLSWA will remain in effect as posted. The public is required to stay out of this construction closure as long as it is posted. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is working with contractors to complete river restoration and habitat improvements. For more information, related to fishing and the construction closure at Chuck Lewis SWA, please contact the CPW Steamboat Springs office at 970.870.2197.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife would like to thank all of our constituents for the compliance of the closures in place this summer. Having good compliance facilitates the process and alleviates the need for CPW to implement mandatory closures if deemed necessary. Colorado Parks and Wildlife would also like to thank the Colorado Water Trust, Tri-State Generation, the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District, and the City of Steamboat Springs for facilitating the release of additional water out of Stagecoach Reservoir to improve conditions throughout the river system during this drought period.
Earlier in the summer, the Yampa River closed due to high water temperatures and low flows from July 9 through August 17. After water releases from local entities, as well as the Colorado Water Trust, the river rose to acceptable levels and reopened for ten days before closing again August 28.
“While much may lie outside of our control, we do control as a community our commitment to adhering to closures; and, we want to thank the public and commercial operators for all their efforts,” continued Robinson. “Without a unified approach and continued protection, the river as we know it may be very different in the future.”
City staff will be removing signs from the river corridor in anticipation of this re-opening. Please understand, river restrictions could be implemented again should conditions change.
Craig Robinson, Parks, Open Space & Trails Manager, 970.871.7034 or email
Brad Setter, Open Space & Trails, Rodeo and Howelsen Hill Supervisor, 970.871.7035 or email
Bill Atkinson, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, Aquatic Biologist, 970.871.2868 or email