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Gold Medal Bass

by: Eric Allee 3/2/2016
Whenever I think about Gold Medal fisheries in Colorado I immediately think about pristine mountain fisheries almost overflowing with big trout. A couple still water fisheries and a handful of rivers that for the most part have always been phenomenal fisheries. Naturally there are peaks and valleys with any fishery but for the most part every fishery that has the Gold Medal designation in Colorado has earned its stripes!

Why not expand the prestige that comes with the Gold Medal designation to other species in Colorado! Can you image that designating let’s say Quincy as a Gold Medal bass fishery.

Let me take a step back first. There we have to be some tangible numbers these bass fisheries would have to meet in order to warrant the Gold Medal designation just like the trout fisheries. The biologists would have to come up with the measuring stick for what a Gold Medal bass fishery would look like in Colorado. The measuring stick would have to be something special too to keep the Gold Medal designation what it’s always been.

Most bass anglers in the metro area know that Quincy is flat out special. An average fish at Quincy is a borderline toad at other metro area lakes, and a true Quincy tank is a fish that people question coming from Colorado. Simply put Quincy is one of a few truly special bass lakes along the Front Range…. If the fishing is good already why change anything? It could be better and with the right regulations put in place we could see just how big the bass could get in a body of water like Quincy. The regulars that fish Quincy routinely see big bass taken home; even worse lots of big bass leave the Q every year during the spawn. If Quincy is good now could you image what it would be if those 4’s, 5’s, and 6’s stayed in the reservoir instead of leaving on stringers? Does Quincy have the potential to kick out double digit bass after a few years of protecting these bigger fish? Only one way to find out…

I briefly spoke with Chad LaChance about the idea at this year’s International Sportsman’s Expo and he immediately said Lonetree, another special body of water that could benefit from the Gold Medal designation.

I know Colorado is a “trout state” but I think showing some bass some extra love and designating a few bass fishery’s Gold Medal would be a giant leap in the right direction. Along with the Gold Medal signage that would be added to these fisheries it would be great to have a sign that explained how long it takes for a largemouth and smallmouth bass to reach 5 pounds in Colorado.

What do you guys think about the idea of having Gold Medal bass fisheries in Colorado?
Blog content © Eric Allee
Member comments
TrophySeeker, CO   3/2/2016 1:13:58 PM
Good read and I agree that measures should be taken to promote bass fishing and development. Colorado needs some bass fisheries to diversify the fishing experience.
 
Ziriux, CO   3/2/2016 1:23:05 PM
Great write up Eric! I enjoyed reading it. One can only wish that biologists and the state would put such regulations on for a few years, and even for the foreseeable future. I love my trout fishing no doubt, but Id also like catching a nice size bass and releasing it. Some ponds in ft. collins have a 21 inch regulation and it's been working somewhat well. Again, good article.
 
pikeNcolorado, CO   3/2/2016 2:38:04 PM
I think it's a great idea. Bring on the Gold Metal Bass Waters. Only negative I see is some will get upset with it's "label" and the pressure will increase due to the label.
 
Freestone303, CO   3/2/2016 3:59:38 PM
Does CPW manage the fishery of Quincy or is that managed by the City of Aurora? There would likely be hurdles presenting the idea to either agency, but it could be a challenge worth taking on. Quincy truly is special and I would love to see more lakes of that quality along the front range. I’m sure the entire ecosystem of the lake has a lot to do with it’s quality, and not just the fisheries management aspect. I don’t see why warm water lakes shouldn’t be managed for a Gold Medal designation. We know the state’s lakes can put out quality walleye, pike, and tiger muskie. How about Gold Medal status for Lakers (Jefferson, etc). I can only hope that more anglers get more involved and prove to CPW that we want more than just great trout fishing in this state. I know I personally love flipping jigs into cover as much as I love getting a nice trout to rise to a perfectly drift an Elk Hair Caddis.
 
Ziriux, CO   3/2/2016 4:02:10 PM
You're right Pike, I only hope that people stick to the regulations.
 
LastKast2010, CO   3/2/2016 4:35:32 PM
look at all those CBBM members... holding it down!!!! G, and Shin making the spread!!!!
 
Ajax5240, CO   3/2/2016 5:09:26 PM
I'd be happy if they just made them catch and release, and leave the Gold Medal title out. I do really like the idea of adding signage at lakes to explain why they should be released, i think that would have a better impact than slightly increased enforcement..
 
ColoradoOutdoorsman, CO   3/2/2016 5:56:31 PM
The only thing about that Ajax is that not everybody reads signs. Theres been plenty of times where I've been to Georgetown and seen people fishing from the bridge, or people at the blue river below Dillon using bait, etc. Sometimes people don't care. I'd rather see more enforcement but that's just my 2cents. I'd love to see some of those lakes mentioned and the ones not mentioned as well turn into true bass fisheries. We definitely have the potential for it as a state.
 
ColoradoOutdoorsman, CO   3/2/2016 5:56:58 PM
And great blog by the way!
 
bluecollarguy, CO   3/2/2016 6:29:25 PM
Well you know my thoughts on this, as I sat next to you at the last Angler Roundtable and threw plenty of ideas on the table to the biologists for protecting "decent" bass to make them "big" bass. Who knows, maybe by the time the next regulation review rolls around in 5 years there might be some progress. The most aggravating thing to me is watching quality fish leave during the spawn, which could easily be solved by putting a no harvest regulation in place for half the year. The only lake I know of that had a regulation like this was Rifle Gap on smallmouth which is now removed. While I personally don't agree with taking a 5lb fish home in any situation with our current angling pressure and lack of resources, I'd be less disappointed about it if the angler actually worked for that fish in the summer as opposed to annoying the hell out of a spawning fish 10' away from the shore until it finally made one last mistake and grabbed a lure. A regulation like that would really help smaller ponds with small populations that for most of the year aren't exposed when they are most vulnerable. I'm totally for Gold Medal Waters but believe a HUGE amount of education is required as the general mindset here in Colorado isn't conversation minded when it comes to bass even if a regulation is staring someone in the face. Might need to be in a few languages on a 15' high sign! The overall harvest of bass may be low but the majority of kept fish I see over a year are over 15" which definitely impacts a population. The only warm water area I know of that was ever referred to as "Gold Medal" quality with a catch and release regulation for all fish on one of the ponds was pounded hard, abused and is nothing like it once was even with that regulation due to lack of enforcement and a complete disregard for rules by the fishing public. I'm not sure you can have multiple bodies of water with different regulations and avoid that, but lack of enforcement doesn't help. Quincy has good enforcement which probably means Gold Medal status with no harvest would realistically give more people a shot at a Colorado bass of a lifetime. The watering holes out in Hygene had heavy enforcement as well, and while maybe there weren't 9lb fish being caught (who knows, but not by me!) the quality of fishing was always first rate. RMA has dropped off after many years (IMO), but showed that enforcement with PAY access works too. Enough complaining for now, but I'll keep dreaming and hoping the bass I release aren't heading down the city sewer line by the next guy that catches them, decides to eat them and send them to a final and stinky watery grave!
 
Mike V., CO   3/3/2016 8:09:31 AM
I think it's a genius idea. Colorado could be put on the map for big bass because of these fisheries. But with all propositions like this, there are some cons. Labeling a fishery as "gold water" causes ALOT of pressure, I mean look at the dream stream, you can rarely find a spot with no people at it. Another thing, which has already been mentioned is people taking out buckets of bass which I don't see why people eat them because I personally think they taste like was. If there was far better enforcement for regulations on all bodies of water in this state, we would have it a lot better and would not have to worry about these things.The other problem is which I see is said a lot is that most people that use this site understand these problems and follow rules and regulations religiously and the people that need to know and be enforced for breaking laws aren't seeing what we have to say about it...
 
Eric Allee (TigerHunter), CO   3/3/2016 8:55:58 AM
I agree that it could lead to more people fishing these bodies of water, but realistically do we ever expect Colorado to have any bodies of water that are destination fisheries. I know we have a few world class smallie fisheries, but there's a few x-factors that make these smallie fisheries less than desirable for anglers looking to spend a week chasing huge smallies.... I guess that's where I see the difference between the gold medal trout fisheries we have and the idea of designating a few Bass Fisheries. Is anyone from the midwest going to fly out to Colorado to fish Quincy? I've been on tailwaters surrounded by anglers from all over the country... Like Bluecollar mentioned enforcement is good at the Q which in my opinion makes it a wonderful location to give this Gold Medal bass water a go. I'd like to think cities and counties would love the prospect of having the first Gold Medal bass fishery in the states history! Don't get me wrong it's not a perfect solution for some of the things holding back the potential of some of our better bass fisheries, but it's trying something different which I think would be a breath of fresh air for many of us.
 
Sugar D, CO   3/3/2016 9:33:42 AM
Great post. I think Colorado should do more to have "Gold Medal" waters for a variety of species: LM Bass, Smallies, Pike, Tiger Muskie, and wipers to name a few. The concept that I don't think the CPW /biologist gets is that not everybody wants to catch and take home stocker trout. Another problem we will run into in the future is that our water laws blow, some of the worse in the country and we are only losing more access and with the population boom. Check out what just happened in UT. There is enough water and money in our State to accommodate a wide range of world class fisheries.
 
Sean D, CO   3/3/2016 4:14:22 PM
Absolutely agree. A simpler way of handling the limits would be a slot limit. Put back everything over say 18" and only allowed to keep a limited number down to say 12". My suggestion though, is Reuter-Hess. It's supposed to be stocked as a trophy trout fishery. Do we really need another one? Let's get some structure in there, and build a trophy LMB fishery.
 
Eric Allee
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