Post By: 12redblue Posted: 9/30/2014 3:47:32 PMPoints: 256
Thought I would clarify the discussion on Pike or Tiger Muskie in Prospect. Tigers have been stocked by CPW in low numbers in the south Prospect Pond since the late 80's to help drive the size structure of bass and panfish up. Fishseal comments on the dynamics of the pond being good prior to this year and tigers are part of the reason why. Must be working. Hopefully the lake didn't kill too badly with the algae bloom.
Okay, so, let me do a bit of clarification on both parts. :)
First, pike weren't in Prospect Ponds (Fort Collins) for many many years. I know, because I used to fish them regularly. However, it has been a few years and there are only two ways they can get in there. One, bucket biology - which I despise. Two, through the canal and river. The flooding really mixed things up fish wise and the Poudre flows right through there. Either way, it will be interesting to see what happens. Their main forage will eventually become the shad and sunfish (bluegill, green sunfish, and small bass).
Second, as for identification, Anglerwannabe has the majority of the information and just needs a bit of added detail. There will be 10 total pores (not so small, but appear as "holes" in the bottom jaw) in northern pike, 5 on each side. Musky have 12 to 18 total, 6 to 9 on each side. Tiger muskie can have any of those, because it is a hybrid.
However, here is why I think it is a pike, first, tiger muskie are expensive, so I would've expected signs to be posted so people don't harvest the small tiger muskie. Second, signs would be posted because you can't "take" a tiger muskie until it is 36" and greater. :) Biologically, I don't think the CPW would have added tiger muskie because the dynamics of the Prospect ponds were good prior to the flooding. Also, tiger muskie are typically added when there is an imbalance with suckers... not shad. As there really aren't any suckers in the prospect ponds, it just doesn't make sense.
So, I say small pike... hopefully from the flood. The ponds are not the best location as they don't fluctuate a lot and spawning material is scarce. Growth would be awesome as there are some shallow areas and good forage right now, but those ponds will not be able to sustain a whole lot. Now, this is just my opinion, so, I can be wrong. :)
From the pond assessment report by Fort Collins Government site.
Prospect Ponds Natural Area Ponds #3 Species Present: Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, Green Sunfish, Black Crappie, White Crappie, Gizzard Shad, Channel Catfish, White Sucker, Common Carp, Tiger Muskie
Annual Stocking: Largemouth Bass, Bluegill.
General Assessment: Prospect Pond #3 is a 12.7 acre gravel pit pond with a good largemouth bass fishery. This pond grows quality largemouth bass with a variety of forage species. Tiger muskie are planted occasionally to help control stunting but are rarely captured in sampling. Carp are typically represented only by larger individuals. Gizzard shad were a strong component of the fishery but may have disappeared as they have not been sampled since 2006.
Hey Shiverfix, Could you put up a link to that info? I'd like to see it.
I was looking back at the post (it's been a while). Looking at the picture, comparing it to the website that pikencolorado posted and his notes, I think it is a TM. I would still like to confirm with lower jaw pore counts.
This would confirm that they are still in the pond (good news).
So, to help revive and illustrate better... I'm putting things together. This would be good to document for later and start a juvenile pics for species pages on FxR.
The first picture is the OP's pic (link: [log in for link] ) Note the narrow dark bars on a light background. This is the specimen in question - that I'm thinking is a TM.
The second pictures is from the link from pikencolorado (link: [log in for link] ) Note the narrow light bars on a dark background. The site claims this to be a juvenile northern pike.
The last picture is a known pike from Smith Lake (my son's first). You can still see the narrow light bars on a dark background.
So, what is neat, is that though a hybrid, the juvenile coloration and patterning through adult, will be more like a musky (dominant genes) than a northern pike (recessive). It would be neat to do a small study on the patterning and pores to see how much they vary.
One of my concerns with your post, not you, is that if they have been stocked since the late 80's, I arrived in 98 and fished the ponds many times and have never seen or caught one in the years I've been here, is a concern. Small largemouth bass, small sunfish (except 1 of good size), and gizzard shad have been all I've ever seen and caught. A 12" TM will make some impact, but not a lot as it's gape size is still very limited. My assumption then is that they have been stocking very small (edible to other fish) sized TM. Which, in my opinion (my own 2 cents), is not a very good management strategy.
I was told of the TM as North Shields Pond (didn't believe it), until I saw and almost caught the bugger (around 3' long). That's a story. I thought it was a log at first, then saw it was a fish. I thought it might be one of the carp, so I casted at it. Spooled all my line out in the cast, lure hit just on the far side of the fish. The TM wheeled around (carp don't wheel around, they shoot straight), I realized what it was... and yanked my lure back before it could get it. My heart was racing. Never saw it after that - and I'm sure it's gone now.
Glad you made me revisit the forum thread and think about it, do some research, and come to a conclusion. I know what to look for now. :)
FS, 15 yrs. ago I caught a 32 in. Tiger out of the south pond. I also saw one that was close to twice that swimming in close to the trees on the NW side. I've seen 2 others porpise out toward the middle like they do sometimes at Lon Hagler. There were no actual signs back then either. I talked to Courtney Crawford, a long time game warden in northern Colo. and he confirmed they were being stocked in the south pond. He's no longer with us but he said they put a few in about every other year to control the bluegill, crappie, and bass stunting. Haven't fished it in a long time so I can't confirm it currently. That does look like a small Tiger though.
That is really cool fishman1. I have yet to see a TM over 18" in real life. I didn't know that they porpoised. I'll have to check into the reasoning for that.
My first TM was at Watson lake. They had stocked them for sucker management and I caught one by the inlet... maybe 8". Cool, but now I wish I had taken more time with it, checked it out, taken a pic, etc.
Knowing that there are a few places around, I'll have to try it once again. However, it usually isn't my cup of tea, I just might wait for chance to happen. :)
Reply by: pikeNcolorado Posted: 10/1/2014 8:56:17 AM Points: 17861
Something else to think about...... Although it is private (and private lakes can stock what they want ) I have heard that Terry Lake and a few others around have pike in them. Now, looking at a map there is channels or waterways (look for Canal Access Road) that actually flow into the Poudre. ( I do not know if it is an inlet or an outlet ) Then the Poudre flows right along Prospect Ponds. I'm not too familiar with the area but I can say that there is a possibility with the flood the pike could've escaped Terry and made it into Prospect. Even without the 2013 Flood the Poudre breaks bank every few years during Spring runoff.
I also know of a pike in Colorado ( 15 or so years ago ) that was tagged, released and then caught again 7 days later 80 or 90 miles up river. There is a link to the research but I'd rather not post it on FXR. I would say that when spawning or escaping from a home water, (which is in spring/late winter when water levels are high ) that pike will go to the extreme in finding new waters. I don't know how far those waters are appart, but I can say that in my opinion, this is not too far fetched. I still think it's a pike looking at the pics that we actually have. Again my 2 cents and my opinion. I've been wrong before and could be wrong on this.
Reply by: pikeNcolorado Posted: 10/1/2014 8:57:31 AM Points: 17861
Actually I was trying to finalize and state I was still thinking it was a TM. Man, I'm getting confused now. That's what happens when I get pulled away from my desk 3 or 4 times when I'm trying to respond to something HA HA. Sorry Gents!
PS, FISHSEAL, I gotta admit, I smile everytime I see that pic of your boy with his first Esox. Those are times we never forget as both the child and the adult.
Reply by: FishSeal Posted: 10/1/2014 9:18:33 AM Points: 3316
Shiverfix, Looking at the assessment, I noticed that it isn't complete. For example, I have caught bass out of Sterling and #3 at Prospect ponds. Nothing of size, but they were bass I caught. It makes me wonder how they sampled them. Also, this is only a single years data represented. I'd love to see the real amount of data? 5 years? 10 years? 2 years? or was 2014 the first? Was the data collected before or after the flood? Just some questions I would have.
Reply by: FishSeal Posted: 10/1/2014 10:57:14 AM Points: 3316
CACHEM ALL, I have family that live there also. My second cousin asked me some management questions (years ago) about suckers. My great uncle was a walleye tournament fisherman and he used to use Terry as his training grounds. Do they still have a sucker problem? or did they introduce some TM to help control the sucker population?