Timnath, Colorado Fish Death Causes Social Media Stink

Hundreds of dead fish, mostly invasive carp, created quite the stench among users of the Nextdoor neighborhood app in the Timnath area this week.

The social media thread originated from those curious about the cause of the stench and rotting meat of dead fish in and along the banks of the Timnath Reservoir outlet channel which runs from the reservoir, under the road to the Larimer County 40 (East Harmony Road) and along the perimeter of the posh Harmony Club Golf Course.

Dale Trowbridge is managing director of the New Cache the Powder Reservoir Co., which owns the water reservoir. He said fish kills are an unfortunate result of dry years when irrigation reservoirs are nearly depleted due to the demand for water for farmers’ fields.

“Many years we have enough water in the tank for the fish to stay,” Trowbridge said. “This year, with such a drought, we had to use almost every drop we had for irrigation, turning a large reservoir into a small pond.”

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When the water level in the reservoir dropped, the fish swam into the channel, where they became trapped as the water in the reservoir receded, leaving them high and dry.

“Probably the last time it happened it was mostly fields instead of houses there, and so more people are noticing it now,” Trowbridge said.

The same situation periodically occurs around the Front Range in reservoirs primarily used for irrigation but later used for recreation such as fishing and boating.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife said staff visited the canal on Tuesday. He said his aquatic biologist “doesn’t think it’s a serious problem”, adding that the water is private property.

Matt Blakely, community development manager for Timnath, said nearly all of the dead fish were carp, which the town is trying to cull in the reservoir. He said a few fish like walleye, crappie, bass and bluegill also died.

“It was not our strategy to get rid of the carp this way, but we looked for ways to eradicate the carp from the lake,” he said. “It’s out of our control, and unfortunately it’s a pretty dramatic event when you get it all at once.”

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Blakely said the city leases the reservoir for recreational use from the irrigation company. He said the city has contracted to pay a consulting firm $25,000 a year for the next five years to improve fishing, water quality and habitat at the nearly 600-acre reservoir. .

He said the city had been restocking the reservoir with predator wipers to help reduce the carp population and would consider restocking the reservoir next year as part of a fisheries management plan.

The reservoir is only open to residents of Timnath, who must obtain a permit to access the property.

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