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Tips For Fishing Responsibly

Be a Responsible Angler

Did you know that many fish are sensitive to temperature and can survive only in specific temperature ranges? As waters in our local streams, rivers and lakes warm, fish seek out cooler waters in higher latitudes or elevation, or when possible, in greater depths. The low flows and unseasonable high air temperatures have water temperature in many of our state’s rivers much higher than normal. Even the upper reaches of the Colorado River are seeing water temperatures as high as 70 degrees. This can put tremendous strain on the fish, especially if they are experiencing angling pressure. See below for some tips on what you can do to be a responsible angler.

Fish Early

Try to get out on the water earlier in the day when the ambient air temperature is not as hot.

Respect the Fishery

We recommend carrying a thermometer. If the water gets above 65 degrees, we recommend coming back later in the day once the temp has lowered, or seek out a new location to fish.
*Consider fishing in tailwater streams (colder water from the bottom of reservoirs helps fish better handle the warmth)

Focus on the Release

When you do land a fish, try to keep the fight as short as possible to reduce the amount of energy expended by the fish. Get them back in the water quickly, but let them take the time they need to revive.

Fish Higher Up

By fishing higher up in the tributaries and alpine lakes, you can reduce stress on certain fisheries and still have an excellent day on the water.A better understanding of streamflows can lead to improved stewardship practices on the part of anglers, rafters, landscapers and even dog-walkers – as well as anyone who turns on their hose or tap.

And, in our river-loving community, there is a lot of conversation about stream flows – both when they are high and when they’re low. Sign up for the River Report, and you’ll be ready and in the know for these conversations!  Another free tool, helpful especially to anglers in our local watershed, is our Temperature Alert program because it is our responsibility as anglers to adjust our fishing practices to minimize our impact on the fishery. Eagle River Watershed Council is working to spread real-time awareness of critical river temperature information for the streams of our watershed, and you can sign up to be added to these lists.

temperature alert sign-up


Vail is a great place to base your rafting or kayaking adventure from. Boasting its own Whitewater Park in the center of the village as well as Class I to Class V river trips on the Eagle, Colorado, and even the Arkansas rivers.