Post By: Pathway Posted: 8/31/2017 12:10:52 PMPoints: 534
Fish salvage begins at Harvey Gap Reservoir, Sept. 1 bag, possession and size limits removed for all fish species
SILT, Colo. - Colorado Parks and Wildlife has authorized an emergency fish salvage at Harvey Gap Reservoir, located north of Silt, effective Sept. 1.
Minimum size, bag, and possession limits have been removed for all species in the reservoir including tiger muskie, northern pike, channel catfish, black crappie, trout, yellow perch, bluegill, largemouth and smallmouth bass. On Colorado's Western Slope, there are no bag limits for northern pike and smallmouth bass in most bodies of water, unless otherwise posted.
All other fishing regulations are in effect and will be enforced. Anglers 16 and older must have a valid fishing license. Overnight fishing is allowed to encourage the take of channel catfish. CPW officials advise anglers that the shoreline is extremely muddy and to be cautious when approaching the water. Fishing from the dam is a good option to avoid these muddy conditions.
The Silt Water Conservancy District will lower water levels in Harvey Gap Reservoir this fall to allow the inspection of the damís outlet structure. Although lowering operations have not officially begun, the water level has dropped considerably in the last few weeks.
Silt Water originally planned the outlet inspection during fall of 2016 however, due to the unexpected collapse of nearby County Road 237, the District postponed operations until this year.
According to the District, the reservoir will remain mostly empty until the dam is thoroughly inspected and any maintenance issues are addressed. Once the reservoir is permanently refilled, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will restock the popular fishery with approved species however, when that will occur is undetermined.
Too bad that's an awesome lake, hopefully some fish survive the winter. I did hear they're not draining it as much as they originally thought. Hope that's true and it's not complete loss.
I tried to talk the biologist into a fish salvage, the kind where you actually save fish and transport them to other lakes. I know a lot of guys that would gladly volunteer their time and energy for something productive like that. Unfortunately, I don't think I made much progress. I encourage you all to reach out to the local officials and recommend the same...
Reply by: Fishneveryweek Posted: 9/26/2017 9:39:58 AM Points: 33
Contrary to what Westsloper reported on this site earlier, that the Silt Irrigation District is going to try to leave some water and fish in Harvey when they finish their repairs, Rifle Gap CPW office told me yesterday that Harvey was down to a 10 foot or so deep pond by the dam now. But, once the irrigation people get the last of the water they need for this fall (soon, I would expect), they will drain it down to a deadpool, as in all fish dead and gone and all the crayfish that sustained that fishery, as well. Goodbye Harvey.
I heard that the water will start coming back up as soon as the inspection is finished, should be sometime soon. So I would think any remaining fish would survive and hopefully bounce back in good numbers.
However, if anything concerning is found during the inspection they will drain the lake again next year to begin repairs. Let's all hope everything looks good and the water comes back sooner than later. Even though the CPW has issued an emergency fish salvage, I encourage everyone to release every single fish they catch in Harvey right now. These fish will become the future breeders and the fishery absolutely depends on it.
Reply by: oldguy Posted: 10/2/2017 10:30:46 AM Points: 245
I was at Harvey yesterday for a half an hour. What was a mighty fishery has becomes a big swimming pool with very muddy shoreline. There was 8 people fishing there at the dam with 7 pikes caught and lots of crawdads either got snagged on the big lures or too hungry to resist the lures. I got 1 bite on spoon about 5 feet from the water edge. Sad to see such a fine fishery gone.
I should have said I do not condone bucket biology, but if the CPW gave us the go ahead to transplant fish from Harvey to Rifle, I'd certainly support that effort to save some of the great fish in Harvey.
CPW would never approve taking them to Rifle. And it would be pointless, anyway, since Rifle Gap is just another killing field with CPW exterminating all pike, smallmouth, and walleyes. The western slope is nothing but a trout place now, with even that declining in quality every year. Less effective management is done by CPW, and fishing pressure gets heavier all the time with zero increase in public access or habitat improvement. Now I can count good fishing lakes and streams on the western slope on my fingers, and I need to use fewer of them to do it each year. Even the "good ones" are not as good as they were, and they're "good" for shorter and shorter periods of time during the year. Pike and smallmouth fishing has gone the way of the passenger pigeon.
That is exactly why we have to keep fighting to protect and improve the few fisheries the west slope does have. Until every lake and stream is drained and filled with concrete I will keep fighting.
I knew Pike and Smallmouth could never be salvaged from Harvey and put in Rifle but I was hoping Tiger Muskie and Largemouth could be. They pose basically zero threat to the Colorado River. I tried to convince the Biologist but she wouldn't budge, tons of red tape regarding approved and non-approved species.
I'll keep trying, it's all I can do. As always, I encourage everyone one here to practice 100% catch and release on these struggling west slope fisheries. Pike, Smallmouth, and Walleye populations depend on it. Keep trout and panfish if your hungry.
Reply by: Pathway Posted: 10/6/2017 9:09:26 AM Points: 534
Neither largemouth nor tiger musky are approved for stocking under the lake management plan. This is what happens when you lose control of your fish management people because they have been been subverted to the will of the F&WS.
Reply by: Durroar Posted: 10/6/2017 10:08:35 AM Points: 196
I am surprised that they are going ahead with the draining??? I was there in August and the state stocked the lake with brood fish of some type. They were large fish because I could see the individual splashes from across the lake. Why stock it if you are going to drain it????? I caught a MA small mouth last year and this year and to see the resource lost, also the tiger muskies that have been stocked numerous years looks like they will be lost also. So Sad!! In one day I came close or caught on 4 different species for master angler award at Harvey. (pike, small mouth, blue gill & perch ) Now that will be lost, GREAT PLANNING CP&W!!!
Reply by: Fishneveryweek Posted: 10/6/2017 10:58:20 AM Points: 33
Let's look at what this Harvey deal really is - a big three way win for the three parties who control everything in the way of water resources and fisheries: the Silt Irrigation District, CPW, and FWS. The Silt outfit gets its valve fixed the cheapest and easiest way possible. CPW gets rid of a bunch of fish it never liked in the first place, and without dirtying its hands or spending its money. This, in turn, inspires cudos from FWS, who gets what it demands. All of them are happy as clams, and the fisherman, as usual, is totally screwed, and endangered species are no more or less threatened than before. Sure, there are alternative, but more expensive, ways to repair a dam, but heh, they own the water, so why spend more for some fish? It has happened many times on the Grand Mesa. Super trophy trout lakes, drained to deadpools, sometimes for no real reason at all, while CPW sits helplessly on the sidelines. Meanwhile, we have other reservoirs up there that are not ever used for irrigation at all, and CPW doesn't even bother to stock them. The whole system is crazy and way past due for change, but I doubt the controlling parties have any interest in doing so. And our opinion means nothing to any of them.
I was there three weeks ago and three guys landed pike(all were released) with one of them real close to M.A. status! Hopefully they will refill before winter then maybe a few decent ones will survive!
Reply by: Fishneveryweek Posted: 11/11/2017 11:09:25 AM Points: 33
I wonder if CPW applied rotenone while it was at it's lowest level. Won't know for sure until we see what fish species, if any, remain later. Interesting how we earlier heard from Westsloper how the irrigation district had been struggling along with the bad valve during the last years, needing despirately to replace it. Now we get the story that the inspection showed no problems at all. Something does not add up here.
Some of us were fishing Harvey right up to the point that the valve was closed. I doubt that CPW did rotanone as it would be hard to administer with the water level of 2 to 3 feet. We did see a number of pike come out.
Reply by: Fishneveryweek Posted: 11/28/2017 10:30:49 AM Points: 33
CPW just flat hates pike and takes any opportunity to kill them. The whole concept of stocking sterile fish in the Gaps is to have them mate with the non-sterile fish, resulting in a nonproductive mating that is intended to reduce the numbers of non-sterile fish. It's just BS that stocking of tiger muskies in Harvey and triploids in Rifle were for the sportsmen. FWS spilled the beans on that when, while interviewed with the GJ Sentinel several weeks ago, they stated that they were going to stock triploids in the CO River to reduce the population of walleye from Lake Powell that are swimming upstream and stuffing themselves on endangered pike minnows in the CO River.