May 25, 2017
Colorado is offering the northern pike bounty in effort to remove the illegally introduced fish and protect native species.
There's a bounty of the heads of northern pike in one Colorado lake.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife says a cash reward of $20 will be given for each northern pike caught out of Green Mountain Reservoir, where the illegally introduced pike are threatening native species.
The program, offered by the park and wildlife agency and the Colorado Water Conservation Board, resumes on May 25, the agency said in a news release.
CPW biologists say the presence of the predatory fish in Green Mountain is a significant concern. In addition to the potential impacts to fish in the reservoir, if they escape and take up residency downstream in Gold Medal sections of the Blue and Colorado rivers, sportfishing opportunities for trout could see negative consequences.
If the predatory fish eventually reach federally listed critical habitat in the Colorado River, they would prey upon the state's endangered native fishes - the Colorado pikeminnow, humpback chub, razorback sucker and bonytail. — CPW news release
Green Mountain Reservoir is located in Silverthorne, Colo.
"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," CPW's Jon Ewert, aquatic biologist from Hot Sulphur Springs said in the news release. "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."
To claim a reward, take the fish to Heeney Marina, located on the lake, and make sure you have your driver's and fishing licenses. CPW will keep the fish heads for analysis. If you don't want to keep your fish, you can make a donation for later distribution.
According to the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program, predators like northern pike and smallmouth bass in critical habitat makes it difficult to de-list endangered native fish.
"We all have an interest in making sure our waters are managed appropriately and we encourage the angling public to stay involved," said Ewert. "We had excellent response last year, and we expect anglers will be eager to take advantage of this opportunity again this year."
For 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.
For more information about fishing in Colorado, visit the CPW website