CO: Bonny Lake Fish Slavage Authorized
BURLINGTON, Colo. – Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists have
begun salvaging sport fish from Bonny Reservoir in Yuma County in
preparation for the draining of the lake over the next two
The State Engineer began releasing water from the reservoir on
September 21 to satisfy a legal obligation to release all the water
to Kansas and Nebraska. The result will most likely be the loss of
the entire fishery.
As long as conditions allow, biologists will trap as many fish as
possible and relocate sport fish to other public fishing waters.
Anglers can continue to remove fish provided the shoreline remains
stable and access is safe.
“Right now it looks like it might take as little as 90 days to
drain the lake,” said Parks and Wildlife Area Wildlife Manager Cory
Chick. “We encourage anglers to harvest as many fish as possible
before the water is gone.”
Under the salvage order signed by Southeast Regional Manager Dan
Prenzlow, all legal methods of fishing will be allowed including
the use of trotlines, jugs and seines. Commercial angling is
prohibited. There are no limits on the number or species of fish
anglers can keep, but everyone must have a valid Colorado fishing
license to be in possession of fish and must complete an angler
survey card available at the reservoir.
Access may be closed to boats and/or anglers if the receding lake
creates unstable banks or other hazards.
“I grew up hunting and fishing at Bonny Lake State Park,” Prenzlow
said. “This is difficult to watch.”
Bonny Reservoir was created in 1951 when the U.S. Bureau of
Reclamation built a flood control dam on the South Fork of the
Republican River. Shortly after the completion of the project in
1951, the former Colorado Division of Game Fish and parks
negotiated an agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation to manage
fish, wildlife and recreational assets of the reservoir and the
federal land around the lake.
As a result of draining Bonny, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will
transition Bonny from a State Park into a State Wildlife Area
beginning Oct. 1, while simultaneously exploring other potential
options with a variety of partners. Public hunting access areas
will remain open to the public.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is working with Yuma County
Commissioners, Three Rivers Alliance, and Yuma County Economic
Development Council to determine whether management of 56 acres,
including the Visitor Center and Wagon Wheel Campground along with
other facilities in Bonny Lake State Park, can be transitioned to
Pending completion of discussions with these local groups, the
North Cove and East Beach Campgrounds will remain open in October,
although without potable water sources. The Foster Grove campground
facilities, however, will be shut down and winterized until a final
resolution is reached with Yuma County and local groups. Tables and
grills will be removed from isolated picnic sites on the north and
south side to be distributed to other Parks and Wildlife areas in
critical need of such items.
For more information on the South Republican State Wildlife Area,
For more information about Division of Wildlife go to: