PUEBLO – Colorado’s drought year is showing the toll on the Arkansas River through the southeast corner of the state. The river level is well below normal.
Over the summer there has been a series of agreements to release water from reservoirs to maintain the river at a higher level for recreational activities like rafting and fishing. The agreements ended August 15th. “We knew that the river was going to drop,” said Arkansas River Headwaters Manager, Rob White. In days since the river has dropped so low in many spots the river bottom is showing.
Rafting companies are now strategic about what stretches they float. Aquatic Biologist with Colorado Parks and wildlife are monitoring trout in the river. “Kind of keep a watch on those temperatures. If temperatures get to 75, 76 degrees than you kind of need to be concerned,” said White. Currently tracking is happening at three locations. Higher up the river near Buena Vista the water is registering in the mid 60-degree range. At the lowest elevation near Canon City it hits 70 degrees, but still below numbers causing concern.
Days are getting shorter and nights cooler. It is countering the heat of the day.
Aquatic biologists say Brown Trout in the Arkansas spawn toward the end of September. It can actually benefit from the low flow.