LAMAR, Colo. – The Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife on Monday ordered an emergency public rescue of fish at Queens Reservoir, about 15 miles north of Lamar in Kiowa County, due to lower water levels related to with intensifying drought conditions.
Queens is a hot water irrigation storage reservoir as part of the Great Plains Reservoir System which includes Neenoshe, Neegrande, Neesopah and Neeskah Reservoirs. Water for the reservoirs comes through a series of canals from the Arkansas River.
Queens, which had been dry between 2005 and 2015, had filled up again and CPW had reinstated fishing for crappie, catfish, bass, saugeye, walleye and windshield wipers, creating a popular fishing opportunity.
But a series of drought years led to increased demand for irrigation water, causing Queens to fluctuate. Now, it looks like the reservoir may run dry again due to the ongoing drought.
“Due to declining water levels and rising temperatures, the Queens Reservoir is in imminent danger of a catastrophic fish kill,” said Mitch Martin, CPW’s interim southeast region manager. “Realizing that a large number of fish may be lost, a public fish salvage is authorized beginning July 21.
The public rescue is announced in order to optimize the use of the fishing resource in accordance with Regulation 104.G of the Parks and Wildlife Commission. The following emergency lifesaving regulations apply only to the Queens Reservoir and only during the day.”
An emergency fish rescue 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.
The notification of opening and closing of salvage will be made through press releases. And signs will be placed in the reservoir.
This emergency rescue does not include adjacent reservoirs. All bag limits and fly and lure restrictions remain in place and enforced at Neenoshe, Neegrande, Neesopah and Neeskah Reservoirs, Martin said.
The chain of reservoirs is part of the Queens State Wildlife Area, which covers 13,886 acres. Queens SWA offers camping, boating, and hunting, especially deer, pheasant, quail, pigeons, rabbits, squirrels, and waterfowl.