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Tarryall Reservoir closed for repairs

Brief by Central Staff

Recreation – June 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

If you were planning to fish or boat on Tarryall Reservoir in South Park this summer, you need to change your plans.

The reservoir has been closed to public use, but not on account of the drought. Instead, the problem is a structural crack that was discovered on the dam last year.

In the interest of safety and so that repairs can be made this summer, the reservoir was drained by its operators, the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

And while the reservoir is drained, they’re removing some of the accumulated sediment, so that the reservoir will have a greater capacity once the dam is repaired — assuming that the drought ends and there will be some water to store.

Meanwhile, there’s no lake, so there’s no boating or fishing there. Also closed is the Tarryall State Wildlife Area — and the closure includes hiking and camping.

As the creek ran through the silt this spring, it got quite muddy, with enough turbidity to kill fish for some distance downstream.

“There’s not a whole lot we could do to rescue those fish,” said Greg Gerlich, South Park fisheries biologist for the Division of Wildlife, who added that the trout kill was anticipated, and that fish farther downstream appear to be thriving.

If the repairs are completed by this fall, and if the mountains start getting some precipitation, then the fishing and boating could resume as early as next year.

Tarryall gets its name from an early mining camp, where prospectors were supposed to “tarry all.” Later arrivals discovered that all the promising claims had been staked, and called it “Graball.” They started their own settlement, which would offer “fair play.”