Rio Grande cutthroat trout
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Rio Grande cutthroat trout are being restored to the Sand Creek area in Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.

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Fishing limits have been lifted from waters in the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Anglers can keep all the fish they catch in the Sand Creek drainage there from July 22 to Aug. 25, a Colorado Parks and Wildlife news release said.

The state agency is teaming with the National Park Service to restore the native Rio Grande cutthroat trout population. Their work is part of a reclamation project combating 100 years of the fish's decline because of water diversions and land-use changes.

The end of the fishing limits is the first step toward removing other fish varieties, such as rainbow, brook and non-native cutthroat trout, that now dominate the waters, edging out the Rio Grande cutthroat.

Those fish populations will be removed in late August by treating the Sand Creek water with Rotenone, a chemical that targets fish.

Rare, indigenous trout species reintroduced to Colorado

But removing fish from the Upper Sand Creek Lake, Lower Sand Creek Lake and Sand Creek can be tricky because of the many side creeks, said Joe Lewandowski, a spokesman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

If the removal succeeds, Rio Grande cutthroats will be stocked in the fall of 2020, available for anglers to catch.

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@JessySnouwaert

Jessica is a 2019 intern at The Gazette. She is a Colorado native who is currently a student at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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