Aug. 11 2004

Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) Director Bruce McCloskey has signed an emergency salvage order temporarily suspending some fishing regulations at Groundhog Reservoir in southwestern Colorado.

Groundhog Reservoir is located between Dolores and Norwood. Because of the imminent danger of fish loss due to the draining of the reservoir for repair work, anglers will be allowed to take an unlimited number of fish from the reservoir without legal repercussions.

The reservoir is owned by the Montezuma Valley Irrigation Company, but through a perpetual easement with the DOW, the water is open to public fishing. Covering more than 667 surface acres when full, the reservoir is home to stocked rainbow and Colorado River cutthroat trout.

Repairs on the reservoir's gate system will require draining the lake to what is considered "dead pool" level and considerable fish loss could occur.

"A lot of fish will be swept downstream as the reservoir is drained," said DOW Aquatic Biologist Mike Japhet. "But there will be a large number of fish that remain in the lake itself."

Effective immediately, all current bag and possession limits have been lifted through no later than Dec. 31. Snagging of fish will be allowed under the order, otherwise fish must be taken by hook and line methods using conventional tackle. No fish may be taken through use of explosives, toxicants, firearms, or electricity. Other fishing regulations remain in effect and can be found in the 2004 Colorado Fishing Regulations & Property Directory, which is available at fishing license agents or any DOW office.

The boat ramp remains open, but Japhet warned that water levels are dropping, and use of the concrete boat ramp could become difficult in the near future.

This emergency regulation does not allow for trespassing on private property. Anglers should still respect the rights of private property owners and only access Groundhog Reservoir at recognized public access points.

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