Environmental Management

, 15:833

A modeling assessment of the thermal regime for an urban sport fishery

  • John M. Bartholow

DOI: 10.1007/BF02394821

Cite this article as:
Bartholow, J.M. Environmental Management (1991) 15: 833. doi:10.1007/BF02394821


Water temperature is almost certainly a limiting factor in the maintenance of a self-sustaining rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss, formerlySalmo gairdneri) and brown trout (Salmo trutta) fishery in the lower reaches of the Cache la Poudre River near Fort Collins, Colorado, USA. Irrigation diversions dewater portions of the river, but cold reservoir releases moderate water temperatures during some periods. The US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Stream Network Temperature Model (SNTEMP) was applied to a 31-km segment of the river using readily available stream geometry and hydrological and meteorological data. The calibrated model produced satisfactory water temperature predictions (R2=0.88,P<0.001, N=49) for a 62-day summer period. It was used to evaluate a variety of flow and nonflow alternatives to keep water temperatures below 23.3°C for the trout. Supplemental flows or reduced diversions of 3 m3/sec would be needed to maintain suitable summer temperatures throughout most of the study area. Such flows would be especially beneficial during weekends when current irrigation patterns reduce flows. The model indicated that increasing the riparian shade would result in little improvement in water temperatures but that decreasing the stream width would result in significant temperature reductions. Introduction of a more thermally tolerant redband trout (Oncorhynchus sp.), or smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieui) might prove beneficial to the fishery. Construction of deep pools for thermal refugia might also be helpful.

Key words

Temperature model Urban fishery Meteorology Stream geometry Cache la Poudre River 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • John M. Bartholow
    • 1
  1. 1.US Fish and Wildlife ServiceNational Ecology Research CenterFort CollinsUSA

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