The 19 mile Blue River stretch between Silverthorne to Green Mountain Reservoir has been degraded of it's Gold Medal status by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. The river still has 15 miles of it's Gold status from the Dillon Dam to Hamilton Creek Road bridge crossing and also from Green Mountain Dam to the waterway's confluence with the Colorado River. The decision comes after CPW has been monitoring unnatural stream flows, sparse aquatic habitat, and low nutrient content all contributed to the decline of the water. CPW said that stretch of the river hasn’t met the Gold Medal standard for about 15 years.
"The overall goal is to maintain the integrity of the Gold Medal designation," Jon Ewert, a CPW aquatic biologist, said in a statement. "As necessary, we will make recommendations to delist or upgrade waters, keeping in mind the intent of the designation — identifying waters where anglers can catch large, trophy-quality trout."
CPW will be working with the Town of Silverthorne, Denver Water and local anglers to get the stretch to the point where it can be relisted.
In order to be a Gold Medal fishery, the area must be able to produce a minimum of 12 “quality trout” (14+ inches) per acre. It also must be able to produce 60 pounds of standing stock (the amount of living organisms in the ecosystem- including fish, plant life and micro invertebrates) per acre, and can only be designated Gold Medal if the water is accessible to the public.
While 24 miles of Gold Medal water was lost on the Blue, CPW added 24 miles of Gold Medal Waters to the Colorado River, from Canyon Creek, at the mouth of Gore Canyon, to the confluence of Rock Creek, near the town of McCoy.
“We studied this section of the Colorado River extensively over the past eight years,” Ewert said. “We found that it is an excellent fishery.”
Colorado is home to over 300 miles of Gold Medal fisheries including 11 different rivers and 3 lakes.