Colorado has over 9,000 miles of rivers and creeks, but only 168 miles of these are considered “gold medal water,” making the Blue River an extremely special asset to Summit County's loyal anglers and general local economy. To earn the rating, rivers and streams must meet the official criteria for gold medal water: 12 trout per acre over 14” or 60-pounds of trout per surface acre. Blue River going through Summit and Grand counties features gold medal waters from Dillon Reservoir to the Green Mountain Reservoir inlet.
“That's a ton of fish,” said Erica Stock, Trout Unlimited outreach director. “That's what makes up the bulk of the Blue River fishery. To have fish that size, you need a healthy ecosystem. They live on bugs. In order to have diverse bug life you need a relatively healthy stream.”
The Colorado Wildlife Commission has designated these stretches of water as offering the greatest potential for trophy trout fishing. An ecologically healthy river is one that retains its major ecological features and functioning similar to the way it did prior to settlement and which would be able to sustain these characteristics into the future. Healthy streams promote aquatic life and nurture surrounding lands.
“You can tell that a river is viable when there is a healthy trout population,” Stock said. “You need to have good oxidation of the water. That comes from having good hydrology. When there's oxygen going into the water trout can grab their food sources.”
To read the rest of the article, visit the Summit Daily's "Wild Colorado: Gold-medal waters in the Summit."