Colorado Parks And Wildlife Improves Salmon Fishing

For the last couple years, Colorado anglers have faced a controversial struggle between maintaining the populations of Lake Trout and Kokanee Salmon in Colorado Reservoirs.  Blue Mesa Reservoir, one of the nation's largest Kokanee Salmon fisheries, is also known as one of Colorado's Lake Trout hot spots.  While many people go to Blue Mesa looking for trophy Lakers, the majority of the Blue Mesa anglers are after Salmon.

Storm Clouds of Blue Mesa Reservoir

In the last few years, Blue Mesa's Salmon populations have dropped from over one million fish, down to a current estimate of about 280,000 fish.  The growing Lake Trout population is believed to be one of the largest causes of the drop in numbers.  In the last two years, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has removed the limits on smaller Lake Trout and started harvest programs designed to reduce the numbers of Lakers in the reservoir.

The CPW has also implemented changes in the way they harvest Salmon eggs, hoping to increase the number of fish that are stocked each year.  CPW recently released some info on the 2011 stocking efforts.  According to the CPW website, they collected a record number of eggs:

"Colorado Parks and Wildlife collected 11 million eggs from kokanee salmon running out of Blue Mesa Reservoir this fall, a record harvest which ensures that it and 26 other reservoirs which rely on stocking will receive an ample supply of salmon fry next spring.
        This fall's record eclipsed the previous mark of 9.2 million eggs harvested in 1993 and more than doubled the 5.4 million eggs taken in 2010"

While the CPW warns that the extra harvest does not necessarily indicate that the Salmon population has recovered, it is encouraging to see that more Salmon will be raised and stocked than ever before.  When I fished Blue Mesa last year, I was told by several of the guides and marina employees that they had seen a better catch in 2011, then they had seen in the last few years.  While the eggs from this year's harvest will not be big enough to catch in 2012, they will hopefully start to improve the fishery over the next few years.  

Here is a link to the CPW Press Release.

I also found a very interesting video on the CPW website that talks about how they collect eggs, you can check it out below:

Which species of fish do you prefer to catch, Lake Trout or Salmon?  Let me know in the comment section below.

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