Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced this week changes to the Gold Medal designations for sections of two rivers in the state, one being Summit County’s own Blue River. In Colorado, Gold Medal status is reserved for state waters that produce a minimum of 60 pounds of trout per acre and 12 trout measuring 14 inches or longer per acre.
The agency tasked with managing the state’s fishing, hunting, boating, camping and outdoor education, assigned the status to a 24-mile stretch of the Colorado River. Specifically, that’s from the confluence with Canyon Creek, at the mouth of Gore Canyon, downstream of Rock Creek, near the town of McCoy.
CPW also delisted the status for a 19-mile stretch of the Blue River, from Hamilton Creek Road Bridge crossing at the northern edge of Silverthorne to Green Mountain Reservoir. Local anglers also agreed that this stretch of the Blue River should have this status removed.
“The overall goal is to maintain the integrity of the Gold Medal designation,” Jon Ewert, CPW aquatic biologist, said in a release. “As necessary, we will make recommendations to delist or upgrade waters, keeping in mind the intent of the designation, identifying waters where anglers can catch large, trophy-quality trout.”
The quality of the downgraded section the Blue River declined due to the cumulative effects of a variety of impacts, including unnatural streamflows, sparse aquatic invertebrate populations, low nutrition content and degraded habitat.
Colorado presently has three Gold Medal-assigned lakes: North Delaney Butte, Spinney Mountain Reservoir and Steamboat Lake, totaling 3,206 surface acres. There are also 329 stream miles granted the status out of 9,000 total miles within the state’s borders.