Colorado Parks and Wildlife on Monday ordered an emergency public fish salvage at Queens Reservoir about 15 miles north of Lamar in Kiowa County due to declining water levels related to intensifying drought conditions.
Queens is a warm water irrigation storage reservoir as part of the Great Plains Reservoir system that includes the Neenoshe, Neegrande, Neesopah and Neeskah reservoirs. Water for the reservoirs comes via a series of canals from the Arkansas River.
Queens, which had been dry from 2005-15, had refilled and CPW had re-established fishery with crappie, catfish, bass, saugeye, walleye and wiper, creating a popular angling opportunity.
But a series of drought years led to increased demands for irrigation water causing Queens to fluctuate. Now, it appears the reservoir may run dry again due to ongoing drought.
“Due to declining water levels and increasing temperatures, Queens Reservoir is in imminent danger of suffering a catastrophic fish-kill,” said Mitch Martin, acting CPW Southeast Region Manager. “Realizing that a large number of fish may be lost, a public fish salvage is hereby authorized effective July 21.
The public salvage is being announced in order to optimize use of the fishery resource in accordance with Parks and Wildlife Commission Regulation 104.G. The following emergency salvage regulations apply only to Queens Reservoir and only during daylight hours.”
An emergency fish salvage means bag and possession limits, as well as fly-and-lure restrictions, are suspended for Queens Reservoir until this order is lifted. Anglers must use legal fishing methods and a valid Colorado fishing license is required.
Notification of the salvage opening and closure will be made through news releases. And signs will be placed at the reservoir.
This emergency salvage does not include adjacent reservoirs. All bag limits and fly-and-lure restrictions are still in place and being enforced at Neenoshe, Neegrande, Neesopah and Neeskah reservoirs, Martin said.
The string of reservoirs are part of the Queens State Wildlife Area, which covers 13,886 acres. The Queens SWA offers camping, boating, and hunting, especially deer, pheasant, bobwhite quail, dove, rabbit, squirrel and waterfowl.