KUSA - Catching this summer's trophy-winning trout may have to wait or at least change locations. Antero Reservoir will be closed on May 1 in order to help with water management in the 2013 drought conditions.
Draining the reservoir will help to save the water supply as long as the drought continues.
Antero is a drought reservoir for Denver Water. That means it exists to help get Colorado through extreme drought conditions. Denver Water is going to drain the water from Antero and move it Eleven Mile and Cheesman Reservoirs.
Because of the elevation and the way Antero is designed it has the highest evaporation rate of any Denver Water source. In moving the water Denver Water hopes to save at least 4,000 acre-feet of water this year.
"It is a lot. Four thousand acre-feet would be pretty much equivalent to about 10,000 single family homes for the year," Travis Thompson, a spokesperson for Denver Water, said.
Denver Water is working closely with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to minimize the loss of fish during the drain and to allow the public to use the reservoir before it closes.
"We have come up with a plan to successfully remove as many trout out of Antero as possible to stock in other reservoirs in Park County," aquatic biologist Jeff Spohn said.
As soon as the ice has melted off the reservoir, CPW will trap and relocate spawning trout. They will also install a series of screens below the reservoir to capture fish as they leave the area.
This is not the first time the reservoir has been drained to help with water management. It was also closed in 2002. Drought conditions will determine when the reservoir can be refilled.
"We will be putting a lot of our efforts back into the reservoir once it begins to fill again, and we hope to see similar trophy trout fishing that we saw last time the reservoir refilled," Spohn said.
Beginning March 20, the bag and possession limit on trout at Antero will be increased from two to eight fish with no minimum size restriction. In April, no camping will be permitted. After the ice has melted, only hand-launched vessels will be allowed.
Questions regarding fishing and camping at Antero can be directed to Colorado Parks and Wildlife at 303-291-7227.
Morgan Aguilar contributed to this report.
(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)