(CHAFFEE COUNTY, Colo.) — Between now and Sept. 11, anglers are encouraged to catch as many fish as they can as Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) prepares to make a new home for the rare, Hayden Creek cutthroat trout at Hunt Lake near Monarch in Chaffee County.

On Friday, Aug. 11, CPW Director Jeff Davis ordered an emergency fish salvage operation, effective immediately, at Hunt Lake and a stretch of the Middle Fork of the South Arkansas River near the Continental Divide.

The emergency fish salvage order comes as CPW prepares to reintroduce the Hayden Creek cutthroat trout, a rare fish known only to the Arkansas River basin. “That means CPW must remove all fish currently in Hunt Lake and the river above Boss Lake Reservoir,” wrote CPW in a press release.

A file photo of a rare Hayden Creek cutthroat trout. Photo courtesy of Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Courtesy: Colorado Parks and Wildlife, photo is of a rare Hayden Creek cutthroat trout.

Reclamation work is set to begin on Sept. 11, so between now and then, catch-and-release rules are lifted on Hunt Lake, according to CPW. “Better get going!” wrote CPW’s SE Region, encouraging anglers to catch all the fish they can.

“Anglers must use legal fishing methods and fish only during daylight. Multiple rods up to 4 are authorized while the salvage order is in effect,” warned CPW. “Everyone needs to be aware that the salvage operation does not extend into Boss Lake Reservoir. All existing catch and bag limits remain at Boss and CPW will continue to stock it with recreational cutthroat strains.”

Hunt Lake sits just below Bald Mountain, about three miles west of Monarch on U.S. Highway 50.