WATER PURCHASED FOR SOUTHEAST RESERVOIRS
Colorado Springs, Colo.) - Two important fisheries in southeast Colorado have more water this year as a result of agreements reached between the state and the cities of Aurora and Colorado Springs. Excess run-off from near record winter snowfall made it possible for the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) to buy water for Nee Noshe Reservoir.
The DOW and the city of Aurora reached agreement for 10,000 acre-feet of water for Nee Noshe Reservoir in Kiowa County near Eads, Colo.
Earlier this year, the DOW and Colorado State Parks split the cost to purchase 3,800 acre-feet for John Martin from Colorado Springs Utilities. The two agencies went together to buy water from the Pueblo Board of Water Works last year.
Both John Martin and Nee Noshe have been steadily shrinking the past several years. This is the second year in-a-row the DOW has been able to get additional water for John Martin, but the first time water was added to Nee Noshe.
DOW biologists were contemplating salvage operations to prevent fish from going to waste, but the infusion of new water will give them new life.
Not too many years ago, anglers considered Nee Noshe as one of the best places to catch large wipers in Colorado. Recently, however, the reservoir shrank to less than ten percent of capacity. In 2000, Nee Noshe was 3,500 surface acres. This spring, it was only a few hundred surface acres.
Sampling last fall found fair numbers of catfish, but Nee Noshe's remaining wipers and saugeyes were in poor shape. "We plan to evaluate the reservoir and re-stock the lake according to the improved water conditions," said Jim Ramsay, a fishery biologist with the DOW's Lamar Office.
"We came close to losing it, but with the addition of this much needed water, we can continue stocking the reservoir with sport fish," said Ramsay.
John Martin almost went dry in the fall of 2006. At that time, the DOW and DPOR were able to reach agreements with local irrigation companies to keep it from dying. In the spring of 2007 water was purchased from both the Pueblo Board of Water Works and Colorado Springs Utilities.
When full, John Martin can hold over 600,000 acre-feet of water – giving it the potential to be the largest reservoir in the state. John Martin is known as one of the top spots in southeast Colorado for crappies, wiper, catfish, walleye, saugeye, perch, bluegill, bass and other warm water species.
"John Martin and Nee Noshe reservoirs have always been key fishery resources for the lower Arkansas Valley. They bring anglers to the area for excellent walleye, white bass, wiper, and crappie fishing," reports Dan Prenzlow, the DOW's regional manager in southeast Colorado. "But an adequate conservation pool and decent water levels are needed to provide the habitat for strong fish populations. These purchases will help the fish and benefit boaters and anglers."