A Colorado Springs Utilities dam repair project will come with a bonus for local anglers.
Starting May 1, they can catch and take as many fish as they want from the Crystal Creek Reservoir on Pikes Peak's northern slope.
Utilities will be draining the reservoir through mid-summer to expose the entire 84-year-old dam and bring it to modern standards, says a news release from Utilities.
So Colorado Parks and Wildlife has called for an "emergency fish salvage" to make use of the brook, brown, cutthroat and rainbow trout that otherwise would die. The reservoir's four-trout limit will be suspended.
The reservoir stores drinking water, but the project won't harm Colorado Springs' supply because the water can be moved to other reservoirs, the news release states.
Officials can't be sure how long the project will take until they can assess the dam's dry surface, but Utilities expects construction to continue through 2020 and the reservoir to be refilled in 2021.
The 136-acre reservoir, which sits at 9,230 feet, is one of three Utilities reservoirs in the North Slope Recreation Area, accessible via the Pikes Peak Highway toll road. Harvesting limits will remain in place at the other two reservoirs, North and South Catamount. Visitors ages 16 and older must pay a $5 admission fee to the recreation area.
Anglers must be licensed and use legal fishing methods during the recreation area's open hours, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 1-May 23 and 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 24 through Labor Day.