(GUNNISON, Colo.) — The Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) Commission welcomed the Gunnison and Taylor Rivers as the newest Gold Medal trout fisheries in the state during its meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 14.

CPW said its Gold Medal Program showcases the most elite fisheries throughout the state. The approved portions of the rivers include 20 miles of the Taylor River below Taylor Park Reservoir and 12.5 miles of the Gunnison River starting west of the town of Gunnison at Twin Bridges extending up to the town of Almont, stated CPW.

“It’s an achievement that came about by a lot of work by a lot of people over a number of decades,” said CPW Assistant Aquatic Section Manager Josh Nehring. “It’s amazing to see the quality of fisheries that we have here.”

Fisheries in Colorado may be designated by CPW as “Gold Medal” if they meet two qualifying criteria: 60 pounds of fish per acre with at least 12 quality trout of 14 inches or greater per acre.

According to CPW, Colorado now boasts 19 Gold Medal sections on 13 rivers that total roughly 362 miles. The state also has three lakes that have earned Gold Medal designation.

While Gunnison and Taylor are newly-designated Gold Medal streams, CPW aquatic biologists believe the rivers have produced Gold Medal quality trout fishing since the 1990s. CPW Aquatic Biologist Dan Brauch said that it was important to ensure the streams provided a long-lasting fish habitat for all life stages of trout.

“We have sampled the rivers quite a few times in the last 10 years, and we continued to see good numbers of quality-size trout and abundant trout,” said Brauch.

While celebrating the conservation success story, CPW Area Wildlife Manager Brandon Diamond encouraged anglers to help protect these resources for generations to come.

“I strongly encourage all of us to evaluate how we can contribute to the long-term conservation of these waters and how we fit in as stewards of the land and river resources,” said Diamond.