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Emergency fish salvage launched at Jumbo Reservoir

CPW implemented the salvage at the Julesburg reservoir Monday to prevent loss of fish in the reservoir near Sterling, Colorado, as water levels are expected to drop.
Credit: FedBul - stock.adobe.com

STERLING, Colo. — Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) launched an emergency public fish salvage at Jumbo Reservoir (Julesburg) beginning Monday to prevent the loss of the entire fish resource.  

Due to high irrigation demand created by severe drought, CPW said the water level in Jumbo Reservoir is expected to decline to a point that will likely result in a loss of the entire fishery resource.

According to the release, the water levels are expected to be below the boat ramp in early August, which would eliminate access for trailer-launched boats.

If the fishery resource is lost, CPW plans to rebuild Jumbo’s fishery as soon as water levels allow, according to local fisheries biologist Mandi Brandt.

“It is very unfortunate to possibly lose such an incredible and popular fishery,” Brandt said. “The fishery plays an important role in the local economy. This public salvage provides a great opportunity for anglers to take advantage of the current resource in Jumbo Reservoir, which includes walleye, saugeye, crappie, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish.”

Due to severe drought conditions, the reservoir was drained in the early fall of 2006. Severe drought conditions returned in 2012 and 2020, resulting in CPW initiating public fish salvages in those years.

Anglers are encouraged to fish the other reservoirs on Colorado’s northeastern plains if the fishery at Jumbo needs to be rebuilt.

“North Sterling and Prewitt Reservoirs both have great walleye and crappie populations for anglers to utilize, and Jackson Reservoir is a great walleye and wiper fishery,” the release says.

The public salvage was announced in order to optimize the use of the fishery resource as outlined:

  • The emergency fish salvage is permitted only at Jumbo (Julesburg) Reservoir from sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
  • All anglers must have a valid Colorado fishing license in accordance with state statutes.
  • No commercial angling is allowed.
  • Current size, bag, and possession limits for all species are suspended for Jumbo (Julesburg) Reservoir until the emergency public fish salvage is terminated.
  • Only angling methods that are currently legal at the reservoir are allowed.


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