Arkansas River has "Gold Medal Status" for Fishing 103 Miles
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Arkansas River given Gold Medal fishing status
By Brandon Hopper
POSTED: 01/10/2014 08:29:51 PM MST
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission announced in a press release Friday that the upper Arkansas River has been added as the newest addition to the statewide list of Gold Medal Trout Waters.
The stretch of water reach is 102 miles long from the confluence with the Lake Fork of the Arkansas River, near Leadville, downstream to Parkdale at the U.S. 50 bridge that cross over the river, the release stated.
"It's a pretty amazing designation for the Arkansas to get 100-plus miles, (which) is pretty unheard of anywhere," Royal Gorge Anglers owner Taylor Edrington told the Daily Record on Friday.
The 102-mile stretch triples the previous longest stretch in Colorado, which was the South Platte River.
In order to receive a Gold Medal listing, the release said, a body of water must consistently support a minimum trout standing stock of 60 pounds per acre, as well as consistently support a minimum average of 12 quality trout — trout larger than 14 inches — per acre. The Arkansas smashed those requirements with an average of 170.3 pounds per acre, and 75 trout larger than 14 inches-per acre, Edrington said.
"The upper Arkansas River fishery is the best it has been in over a century thanks to the efforts and hard work of many agencies and individuals that have recognized its great potential," CPW Aquatic Biologist Greg Policky said in the press release. "I am very pleased that this outstanding river has received the Gold Medal designation and is now ranked among the elite trout fisheries in Colorado."
The total amount of Gold Water in Colorado is now 322 total miles, up 50 percent since the addition of the Arkansas River's 102 miles.
Because of mining done upstream in the 1900s, there were traces of metal deposits in the river as late as the 1990s. Edrington said to have such a high rank for the Arkansas River less than 20 years later is a testament to groups, such as the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Association and the biologists who have put in time to nurse it back to health.
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