SILVERTHORNE, Colo. — Like to fish?
Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and the Colorado Water Conservation Board is offering a cash-based incentive to encourage anglers to catch northern pike at Green Mountain Reservoir.
Beginning Thursday, May 25, you can get $20 for each northern pike you catch.
The reward program, which began in 2016, encourages anglers to participate directly in ongoing efforts to remove the illegally introduced predators from the reservoir.
“Northern pike are aggressive predators with big appetites and if their population continues to grow in Green Mountain Reservoir, that will likely have profound impacts to local fisheries in the future,” said CPW’s Jon Ewert, aquatic biologist from Hot Sulphur Springs.
CPW biologists say the presence of the predatory fish in Green Mountain is a significant concern. In addition to the potential impacts to other fish, if they escape and take up residency downstream in Gold Medal sections of the Blue and Colorado Rivers, sportsfishing opportunities for trout could see negative consequences, according to officials.
“This is beneficial in several ways. Anglers can catch a predatory fish and earn some money, it helps us protect fishing here, and helps with our native fish recovery efforts as well,” said Ewert.
If northern pike eventually reach federally listed critical habitat in the Colorado River, officials say they would prey upon the state’s endangered native fishes – the Colorado pikeminnow, humpback chub, razorback sucker and bonytail.According to the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program, the presence of predators like northern pike and smallmouth bass in native fish critical habitat significantly increases the difficulty of de-listing the endangered fishes.
If you’d like to participate, bring northern pike to the Heeney Marina along with your driver’s and fishing licenses.
CPW will keep fish heads for analysis and will return the body of the fish to anglers. Anglers not wishing to keep northern pike can donate their catch to the Marina for later distribution.
Anglers are encouraged to catch and keep as many northern pike and smallbouth bass as desired.
If you’d like more information, contact CPW’s Hot Sulphur Springs office at 970-725-6200 or Heeney Marina at 970-724-9441.To report illicit stocking or any other illegal wildlife activity anonymously, call Operation Game Thief at 877-265-6648.