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Lake: Spinney Mountain Reservoir

Pike Infestation

Post By: Browns      Posted: 5/18/2020 7:54:17 AM     Points: 3    
Me and Rich hit Spinney for 11 hours on Sunday. 2 really big Rainbows and 2 really nice Browns. Easily caught over 30 small pike between us and everyone around was doing the same. I wonder if lake that size, with that level of small pike, could the trout food supply be totally wiped out?
 Reply by: badextracab      Posted: May. 18, 9:11:12 AM     Points: 74    
Trout food supply ? heck trout wiped out Too -(

Cutt them up an leave on shore for bird food !!!
 Reply by: 3wayfisha      Posted: May. 18, 9:22:35 AM     Points: 253    
keep them then..i mainly fish from shore n never catch pike there but would keep some if i did
 Reply by: RogBow      Posted: May. 18, 9:24:50 AM     Points: 1871    
Pike are really good eating. 20-30 inchers are perfect for that.
 Reply by: Toadfish      Posted: May. 18, 9:35:41 AM     Points: 3829    
Please donít just leave them on the bank... If youíre going to keep the smaller pike, at least take them home and eat them. I wouldnít suggest keeping a pike longer than 20Ē-ish because they just arenít as good and it doesnít do as much good as cleaning out the ďhammer handlesĒ a little bit.
 Reply by: Anteroman      Posted: May. 18, 10:02:12 AM     Points: 5167    
This is the primary reason the CPW folks want all anglers to cull these fish especially under 24", some idiot years ago put the pike in the lake, (Bucket Biologist)
The pelicans love to eat these also. Pike eat a lot of trout especially the big ones.
 Reply by: Dan Swanson      Posted: May. 18, 11:39:58 AM     Points: 1371    
Northern pike are very good eating. Keep them and eat them if you're going to kill them.
 Reply by: Anteroman      Posted: May. 18, 11:51:15 AM     Points: 5167    
A decent size for the table, and yes they taste better than trout. I prefer them in a Tempura Batter.
 Reply by: PHILH      Posted: May. 18, 12:17:46 PM     Points: 3    
In MN, people are encouraged to keep the smaller pike and throw back the ones over 30". Many lakes have stunted growth of all fish due to the enormous amount of little pike. Big pike are the only things that will eat little pike, so throw back the big ones. Pike taste just as good as walleye if you can filet around the y-bones.
 Reply by: Artsy      Posted: May. 18, 12:32:30 PM     Points: 315    
I swear to god...If I see anyone killing pike and throwing them back in the lake/on the shore, I will report you.

If you going to kill the pike, please take them and eat them or something. Some of us like to catch pike and spinney is the only place locally for us to catch them. PLEASE do not catch and kill the pike.
 Reply by: Hawaiian Punch      Posted: May. 18, 1:08:50 PM     Points: 7473    
Anteroman . .do you cut it into steaks or what? I don't think I'll ever catch one that big,but its good to know what to do before hand,rather than try to figure it out when it happens.
 Reply by: Anteroman      Posted: May. 18, 1:19:42 PM     Points: 5167    

Not to start a pi**ing contest, but, the folks in charge of Spinney, (CPW Biologists) request anglers kill pike under 24". It is NOT the only place to catch pike in South Park 11 Mile which is just down the road a few miles has a better pike population than Spinney

Spinney was never scheduled as a pike fishery, some idiot, (Bucket Biologist) put them in there.
It is not against the law , so reporting the folks who do kill the small pike are not in violation, they are doing what CPW has requested.

If your a serious pike fisherman, you too will help the resource by taking or killing fish under 24". If you've never seen or heard of a stunted lake please investigate it and you'll see where I'm coming from.

There's only so much food in any given biomass and if there are too many fish they all can suffer.

Hope you read this with an open mind.
 Reply by: Toadfish      Posted: May. 18, 1:25:24 PM     Points: 3829    
HP, filet them just like a walleye, cut into nuggets, dip into your favorite fry batter and drop em in the grease! They really do taste better than most trout and comparable to crappie or walleye. The smaller ones taste better and do more positive for the ecology of a fishery than taking out the big ones.
 Reply by: Anteroman      Posted: May. 18, 1:25:36 PM     Points: 5167    
Hawaiian Punch,
I filet it just as I would a wahoo or a kingfish, I then carefully cut around the Y bones and cube the filets into pieces about an inch square.
These I dip in a Tempura batter and fry the chunks in 375 degree peanut oil until crispy. Great eating for sure.
I don't fish for pike but do enjoy them on the table, I may kill one or two a year, for me they are a by-catch.
 Reply by: da_teacher      Posted: May. 18, 1:45:59 PM     Points: 57    
Iḿ down for pike. Are you getting them from shore?
 Reply by: Ryan      Posted: May. 18, 3:28:52 PM     Points: 2242    
Please show me where in the regulations it says that you can kill pike (or any fish) and throw them on shore because that is pretty much the definition of wanton waste. Absolutely terrible and unethical advice.

Keep pike if you can use them. Donít leave them floating or on shore. And release the big ones. Those are the ones that will help the over population of pike.

 Reply by: yard dogs      Posted: May. 18, 3:31:39 PM     Points: 664    
Legal or illegal - throwing fish on the bank to rot is just$!*ty sportsmanship in my mind. Cant think of a worse way to showcase the sport we love. Might as well leave all your trash on the bank as well
 Reply by: Artsy      Posted: May. 18, 3:45:00 PM     Points: 315    

I understand about the stunted population, but I also understand that CPW did not say to KILL ALL PIKE under 24". It says "Please Harvest all pike under 24". If my understanding is correct, Harvest does not mean "kill and throw up on the bank." Harvest means, "gather for consumption".

11 mile is ok for pike fishing, but nothing like Spinney. The quantity and quality of Pike have significantly diminished every since they started those annual Pike Tourneys.

Nonetheless, it is not humane nor sportsmanlike to catch pike, cut the gills, and sling them on the bank. Whenever I do catch a hammer handle, I either put him in the Livewell or release him. I've been on this forum a loong time, and I've read and been involved in the Pike vs Trout arguments before, so we don't need to go back and forth. The only point I'm trying to make is, I don't think it's right to just kill the fish..

You can Harvest them, give them away or release them. Especially since some of us like catching Pike over slimmers.

Just my .02 cents.
 Reply by: RogBow      Posted: May. 18, 4:38:39 PM     Points: 1871    
If you don't get the job done cpw certainly will.
 Reply by: Toadfish      Posted: May. 18, 4:42:48 PM     Points: 3829    
CPW wonít rohip. Spinney, thatís why theyíre asking anglers to get rid of the pike for them. Theyíd lose not just Spinney, but the Dream Stream and 11 Mile and potentially quite a bit of the river downstream from 11 Mile... Thatís a hit to the wallet theyíre not willing to consider.
 Reply by: bigbear57      Posted: May. 18, 4:59:05 PM     Points: 646    
Pike are good eating as everyone is posting. I do recommend that if you are going to eat those toothy critters you are better of with the smaller ones. The amount of mercury that accumulates in the larger fish from all the years of the mindless eating can be significant. Check the CPW site for lakes with mercury level warnings.
 Reply by: Hawaiian Punch      Posted: May. 18, 5:12:08 PM     Points: 7473    
Anterman. . .I never have had the pleasure of catching Kingfish or Wahoo,I'll stick to filet and cut around the "Y" bones . . . .batter and fry.
Thanks everyone . . . .I'm not planning on any pike trips anytime soon,but when the phone rings at 3AM . . . . .ya never know who's on the line!
Lets all be safe,smart,sane and healthy!
 Reply by: callmaker      Posted: May. 18, 6:38:15 PM     Points: 6    
Take this for a fact. It is ILLEGAL to catch any fish and throw it on the bank as waste. You WILL get a citation.
 Reply by: WhoMe?      Posted: May. 19, 8:15:46 PM     Points: 949    
It was not "Bucket Biology", it was the Division of Wildlife. Pike were introduced in an effort to control overpopulation of suckers in Spinney in the late 80's. Clearly it didn't work out, and the trout population declined dramatically, leading to the unlimited harvest on pike. Stocking later in the fall when pike were less active, and stocking larger fish improved the trout population. In it's heyday, Spinney had awesome rainbow, brown and cutthroat populations. Now it's pretty much cuttbows and Hofer strain rainbows. I'll be curious to see what the perch population does to the fishery.
 Reply by: wingman13      Posted: May. 19, 10:25:01 PM     Points: 806    
^^^^^^^ That's what I've heard & thought too ^^^^^^
 Reply by: Ryan      Posted: May. 19, 10:48:37 PM     Points: 2242    
If I remember right the DOW didnít think pike could naturally reproduce in the lake. Thatís the experts for you.

Funny that people complain that there are ďother lakesĒ to catch pike when trout seem to be the dominant biomass in virtually all Colorado lakes.

If you want a trout exclusive lake drive a bit down the road to Antero. Spinney (and a few other Colorado lakes) can be world class Pike fisheries. And still great trout lakes. Letís keep it that way
 Reply by: GaltsGulch      Posted: May. 20, 8:55:54 AM     Points: 92    
fry or pickle the little pike, they're delicious. please do not kill the bigger pike (26"+), that is the number one way to reduce the overpopulation of hammer handle pike. Big Pike chow little pike, maybe even more than they chow little trout. CPW is way too indiscriminate asking to harvest "all pike", if they were using empirical scientific evidence they would have Spinney pike regulations similar to Williams Fork Reservoir (all pike over 26" returned to the water immediately). Trophy Pike and Trophy Trout can exist in the same fishery if it is managed properly. if you fish Spinney with basically a worm-and-bobber you're going to get bit by whatever is underneath your bobber. I know a bunch of guys will get all high-falutin' and say "I'm 'fly fishing' chironomid patterns and balanced leeches and epoxy minnows under an indicator on 4-5X". as Hank Patterson says, call it an indicator if it helps you sleep at night, but it's essentially the same as putting a worm under a bobber and hoping a trout eats it before a little pike finds it. there's an increasing number of anglers seeking trophy pike fisheries and if CPW/Spinney adapted to more scientific fishery management best practices to protect big pike then all species would benefit
 Reply by: lvrider      Posted: May. 20, 9:36:44 AM     Points: 63    
You guys are really simpleminded if you think pike eat all the trout and not the bucket brigade going there to catch one keeper before they hit 11 mile. I get more trout follows pike fishing than I do pike. The 10 pound trout will destroy fingerling trout. I've seen 20 pound trout I am sure can eat a stocker without a problem.

You guys are also simpleminded preaching kill pike when biologists have proven pikes favorite meal is small pike. Pike break down pike easiest in their stomach so they get more calories for less effort. So when antero man kills gators he is responsible for all the hammer handles. Each gator eats how many hammer handles a week? A gator takes 7 years to grow. So every gator killed is 7 years of hammer handles not getting eaten. Cheeseman has a slot on big pike and you can barely catch pike there. Amazing how that works. Guess what else cheeseman has spinney doesnt? A thriving population of salmon. The salmon will chase musky spinners. I've fished spinney way more times and never had salmon schools follow my spinners there.

But the dow told em to do it. Would you eat power bait if dow told you to? C'mon folks your own critical thinking skills.

Why would dow want a self sustaining population of fish they cant get bribe money for stocking them? Dow stocks those inbred rainbows that dont grow past 24 inches and you guys think its the pikes fault. Do you even know theres different strains of rainbows?
 Reply by: skunkmaster      Posted: May. 20, 10:02:40 AM     Points: 1030    
Just pasted this from CPW website indicating no recommendation to only harvest or remove pike below 24" but to harvest all pike regardless of size:

[log in for link]

"Pike Management at Spinney Reservoir

In order to successfully manage both the trout and pike populations in stable numbers, CPW has instituted several innovative management techniques for Spinney Reservoir. These include removing all size and bag limits on pike stocking trout only in the late fall or early winter when pike metabolisms have slowed down (they are less hungry) stocking trout that are at least 12" long and encouraging fishermen to harvest all pike caught, regardless of size.

This final measure is important to reduce the number of smaller pike present in the reservoir, allowing for a larger number of healthy, trophy- sized pike to be recruited."
 Reply by: i2fly      Posted: May. 20, 11:02:35 AM     Points: 1887    
Some of the comments are incorrect. Pike migrated into spinney from 11mile prior to closing the impoundment. They have been a bane from the get go. CPW officials say removal regardless of size is permissible with no bag limit. TRUST me I will kill them, remove them. The pike need to be thinned along with the yellow perch. Neither species were intended to be there. The pike population is overwhelming the lake. As far as CPW are concerned I seriously doubt they care if people kill the hammer handles just to dispose of them.
Check out the 2019 biomass link at spinney. Sorry boys if I land them they are done.

[log in for link]
 Reply by: Artsy      Posted: May. 20, 11:23:01 AM     Points: 315    
And you can best believe that if me and my buddies catch our one 20" OR larger trout we will keep/dispose of it.
 Reply by: Fishanator      Posted: May. 20, 11:39:33 AM     Points: 0    
That's the lake management plan. You can keep 1 Trout over 20 inches and i can kill all the pike i want, i do and i will continue to do so. I have been fishing Spinney since it opened in 82 it was one of the best cutthroat fisheries in the US. until the gators were released. If you're a pike fisherman i would go to 11mile, Williams Fork or Stagecoach.
 Reply by: Artsy      Posted: May. 20, 11:52:16 AM     Points: 315    
I suppose I could go to 11 Mile, Williams Fork or Stagecoach. BUUUT, I like spinney.

I guess the same approach could be taken by trout fishermen also. After all, there are trout stocked in every single body of water in this state....

The point I'm trying to make is that some of us like Pike fishing and some of us like trout fishing...or both. The lake is and can be a great fishery with both species coexisting. Killing fish for no reason other than you just don't like them is bad sportsmanship and a bad look for our hobby/profession.

If CPW wants them out, I'd prefer to let them do it humanely. Otherwise, we can all "Harvest" the pike we keep.....Not kill and throw on bank or back in the water.

That is all.
 Reply by: kirbydog      Posted: May. 20, 2:22:25 PM     Points: 82    
The CPW were the ones who originally put pike in 11 Mile-they thought with the water level fluctuations at 11 Mile the pike would not reproduce.

Wrong. And when Spinney was impounded pike were in the river system above !! Mile and thats why they're there.

Bucket biologists didn't do this. it was all a bid mistake by CPW. And for years I enjoyed going up to !! Mile and catching pike up to trophy size, just don't go there anymore.
 Reply by: richw88      Posted: May. 20, 2:43:35 PM     Points: 18    
kirby finally set the record straight. Pike from 11-Mile were in the river above the res. CPW poisoned it all the way up to Fairplay before they closed off the Spinney dam to try to eliminate them before the lake filled. But failed, obviously. That was a sad time, seeing them sterilize that beautiful stream. Now Spinney's too deep to poison like they do Antero and others - the rotenone won't act in deeper, cold water but it would wash down through the C. Myers area.
I release all the small pike I catch. But I try to adhere to the CPW policy too. I qualify them for a handicapped parking spot before I put them back. They're a favorite food for the bigger pike, as someone said, and I just "facilitate" the process and make the little pike an easier target than a stocker trout would be. You pike fans should really do the same - getting rid of the little ones helps the bigger pike by eliminating competition for food.
 Reply by: El Jefe      Posted: May. 20, 3:38:02 PM     Points: 280    

"I qualify them for a handicapped parking spot before I put them back. They're a favorite food for the bigger pike, as someone said, and I just "facilitate" the process and make the little pike an easier target than a stocker trout would be."

Seriously !!!????
You intentionally maim and cripple fish and then put them back into the water???
Thats F'd up man.
I don't care how you look at it.
Get professional help.
 Reply by: setzdahook      Posted: May. 20, 7:39:57 PM     Points: 41    
Now THIS is my kind of thread right here. We got scientific evidence by experts on both sides of the isle, we got heavy hitters weighing in with heavy thoughts, we got folks that are just plain wrong on all the facts, we got emotions running hot, we got trout and pike and suckers and god dam perch all swimming in a lake, we got 300 boats on the lake on a Sunday, we cam't get the gate open in time, the barrels are not set........wait oh sorry I thought this was about the daily press conference I watch on TV about pandemics and stuff. Sorry
 Reply by: i2fly      Posted: May. 20, 7:59:44 PM     Points: 1887    
Setz you do make a point. Lol
 Reply by: setzdahook      Posted: May. 20, 8:12:57 PM     Points: 41    
LOL, My favorite thread ever was called "Saturday Night at the Fights." It was about Antero back in 2009 maybe? It went on for many pages. People calling each other out, challenging each other to meet up etc. One guy was bragging about his kick boxing skills he would put to use at the South ramp if anyone challenged him lol!!
I've had two great days at Spinney (the opener and Sunday. Everyone I met and talked to was as cool as can be all seemed to be getting along and having a good time... now I'm wondering with this type of crowding what the boat ramps will look like when the first nasty t storm rolls in with giant waves/wind/lightning... its gonna be quite the show)
 Reply by: Artsy      Posted: May. 20, 9:39:18 PM     Points: 315    
Setzdahook is definitely the WINNER!!
 Reply by: beewee      Posted: May. 21, 12:30:04 PM     Points: 0    
Anybody who fished early Spinney back in the day can attest that there was way more cutthroat than rainbows. Then all the sudden I was catching these 24 inch cuts with bite marks around them! Like everyone remembers the fishing was terrible for awhile. The pike decimated the cuts. Whenís the last time you caught a true cutthroat at Spinney? Their gone so in my opinion the pike need to go to. Besides you kill a pike the crawfish 🦞 or the birds 🦅 will get them so itís not wasted!
 Reply by: Fishanator      Posted: May. 21, 1:48:28 PM     Points: 0    
That's right Beewee, a fat full of pike crawdad is a happy crawdad...
 Reply by: Walleyeone      Posted: May. 21, 4:32:40 PM     Points: 1250    
This battle has been going on for at least 25 years.
If the pike are eating all the trout why can you still catch good trout.
The former Dow tried to eradicate them in the 90s
It didn't work. They had tournaments, they used electric shock.
They even tried nets.
I think that with proper management it could be a quality fishery for both
I hope that they can find a biologist who can figure it out.
I enjoy catching both.
 Reply by: setzdahook      Posted: May. 21, 10:34:00 PM     Points: 41    
What would Davey Crockett do?
 Reply by: setzdahook      Posted: May. 21, 10:44:34 PM     Points: 41    
I thought Santa Anna and all his pike was back in Mexico...?
 Reply by: sourdiesel      Posted: May. 22, 1:17:00 PM     Points: 32    
I know a guy that fished Spinney in the beginning. He said that they stocked Snake River Cutts in there and didn't let anyone fish it for 3 years. He said that those first few seasons were 30 inch after 30 inch SRC. I too have heard the the DOW put the pike in there to control the sucker population and the reason I heard that was their plan was at that time they believed that pike were unable to spawn at that altitude. Oops! Enter the Tiger Musky! Always remember the DOW reigns supreme and call the shots on the fish they put in lakes. If it wasn't for them there would be nothing in there but trash and dead bodies. Upper Sand Creek is a GREAT high mountain lake full of beautiful Rio Grande Cutts, but they are not pure and the DOW wants a pure strain so they are going to Rotenone that lake and there is nothing any of us can do about it. So when the DOW set out a recommendation I dont agree with I follow it because its what is best for the fishery.
 Reply by: River_FlyFisher      Posted: May. 22, 2:26:37 PM     Points: 1926    
Pike have been in there since nearly the beginning. The lake has been, and still is, just fine. The only caveat is that the Pike spawn naturally, but they have to stock it with Trout. So long as they keep stocking the lake with the Slimers, it will be fine for many years to come, with the Pike still there too.
 Reply by: Anteroman      Posted: May. 22, 7:04:57 PM     Points: 5167    
Note: Survey conducted by CPW biologist Tyler Swarr 2019.

SPINNEY now has 53% pike
4% brown trout
3% rainbows
36% cutbows


See link for details

[log in for link]
 Reply by: Fishanator      Posted: May. 22, 8:53:34 PM     Points: 0    
Thanks for the percentages Bill.
When i started fishing Spinney in the early 80's just out of High school, we would walk to the bluffs via the platte. At that time parking was at the gaging station, a short walk to the lake. As a youngster i threw a lot of hardware and an occasional fly and bubble, back then 8 to 10 pound cutthroats were not uncommon. We never started catching pike until the early 90's, so the people saying the pike have always been there are incorrect. No matter how the pike ended up there they should go away. Spinney is still my favorite trout lake in the state and one of the best in the country, however i know what it could become again.

Fish on.
 Reply by: i2fly      Posted: May. 22, 9:10:40 PM     Points: 1887    
Bill I found the same results. Over half of the fish are pike. Not good....Iíve fished all over this country Alaska, and out of country too. Spinney mountain reservoir is one of the best trophy trout Stillwater fisheryís anywhere but certainly in America. I donít want that to change.
 Reply by: JohnnyW      Posted: May. 22, 9:25:30 PM     Points: 840    
Fried Pike is delicious, really underrated in this part of the country imo
 Reply by: River_FlyFisher      Posted: May. 23, 7:50:52 PM     Points: 1926    
I'll say it again, because I KNOW it's true per my own personal experience.

Pike HAVE been in there since nearly the beginning. FOR SURE since '84 or '85. We used to catch a bunch of hammer handles all day long with a white or brown curly-tail on the bottom. The lake has been, and still is, just fine. The only caveat is that the Pike spawn naturally, but they have to stock it with Trout. So long as they keep stocking the lake with the Slimers, it will be fine for many years to come, with the Pike still there too.
 Reply by: devon234      Posted: May. 23, 9:19:04 PM     Points: 168    
if you don't like the fact that Colorado is a better state for trout than any other fish than move and if you cant move quit complaining. I like fishing for pike but spinney was once a world class fishery for trout. there are actually quite a few pike fisheries in Colorado. if you keep pike from spinney eat them because they taste really good better than walleyes in my opinion. release the big ones. so much of this thread is people complaining about how there are so much more trout fisheries than anything else. that's because most of the states fisheries are in the mountains. I don't mind hiking to a lake that's hard to get to in actual wilderness because most fisherman don't want to physically work hard to catch there fish especially people who use boats. I like fishing for everything but I realize where I live and that is Colorado. theres a lot more to trout fishing than using powerbait to catch stockers.
 Reply by: RD_3      Posted: May. 25, 9:18:20 AM     Points: 6    
Spinney is out of balance. No body of water can contain 53% pike and be balanced. And odds are this yearís gillnetting will show the pike are >53%. If nothing changes, Spinney will deteriorate for both pike and trout. There are plenty of studies that show that lakes that are mostly pike end up being of little value to the angling public. In the end, we all lose.

CDPW will not poison Spinney. It is too expensive and the pike above the reservoir will migrate back into Spinney and start the problem over again. CDPW will stop stocking trout once they feel their efforts and dollars are causing more harm than good. They did it in the late 90s and they will do it again.

So what can we, as fishermen, do? At 53%, there is little effect the angling public can have on those numbers. But it is worth trying and feeling that you helped when you could. No matter what side of the trout vs pike fence you are on, you should kill all small pike you can. It improves Spinney for both species.

Small pike + kill = better for everyone. Great, got it. What about the large pike? The trout guys are not going to land many large pike, so what few they do catch is insignificant, even if they kill 100%. The pike guys are not going to kill many large pike. In the end, neither group will have a significant effect on the large pike population. The trophy pike are safe as long as the trout stocking continues.

Personally, I do not enjoy killing any creature. But I understand killing small pike is the best action for Spinney right now. If I catch a small pike at Spinney, I will gladly kill it. And no, I am not taking it home to eat, sorry. I do not want the pike to feed the seagulls or pelicans. I want the nutrients retuned to the aquatic creatures. I want the pike to die, but also sink to the bottom of the lake.

To do that, I use a pointed knife and I puncture the swim bladder with it. And by puncture, I mean a large cut, not a pinhole. The pike swim off and I believe they die on the bottom of the lake where crawdads and various larva and nymphs consume them and benefit. It is simple, quick, and discrete.

Finally, I want to say something to the pike advocates... Spinney is on the top trophy trout destinations in the USA. CDPW is going to manage Spinney for trophy trout above all else, and for good reason. Not only can you not change that, but why would you? Why would you take away one of the best trophy trout lakes in the USA to have another pike fishery? Remember the trophy pike fishery is 100% dependent on stocked trout. If CDPW stops stocking trout, we lose one of the best trophy trout lakes in the USA and the trophy pike. Then we will be left with a windy hammer handle fishery that almost no one visits. And once the visitation drops, CDPW will close Spinney.

For the good of everyone, please kill all small pike you catch. And if you can catch a few trophy pike alongside, great! I am glad you enjoyed it. Perhaps one day I will catch a large pike at Spinney. But please, do not be selfish about it!
 Reply by: skunkmaster      Posted: May. 25, 9:52:59 AM     Points: 1030    
Compelling, RD_3. One thing's for certain IMHO, and that is that these types of issues are incredibly complex and highly variable for each individual fishery/ecosystem, and most arm-chair biologists like the vast majority of us on sites like this don't have enough information/education/experience to really know what the answer is for any particular fishery.

Due to piqued curiosity, I tried to look into some more of the science out there on pike overabundance issues and noticed this editorial that cites quite a few studies:

[log in for link]

It doesn't deal with pike effects on stocked trout populations, but it does appear to show there are a lot of fisheries with similar problems, and it describes ways that others have tried or considered for managing the problem, particularly in the context of walleye fishery enhancement. Big pike are not the problem, and removing them actually makes the small pike problems worse, at least for walleye fishery management in some/many places. Makes sense it could well be similar for trout management in Spinney.

One idea in the article that makes me think "hmmmmm , . . ?" is the experience with bounty systems for achieving adequate reductions of small pike. I cringe to think about the outcry from Spinney pike fans with firmly entrenched confirmation biases should such a thing be considered for this fishery, but it sure sounds interesting to me.

Regardless, it appears to me that you're right, RD_3. Interested in other thoughts and interpretations, of course. As I said, it's incredibly complex . . .
 Reply by: anglerwannabe      Posted: May. 25, 9:56:40 AM     Points: 57539    
RD_3 - welcome to the forum. BUT the NERVE of having a well thought out rational opinion, with no name calling or politicizing. gee!

Truly appreciate your post and please let me be the first to give you a fins up. I can see whether I agree or disagree with your opinion, you're someone that you can have a constructive conversation with!

thank you

 Reply by: buffchip      Posted: May. 25, 10:53:47 AM     Points: 2605    
Ok fine. Kill the Pike. But be a sportsman and eat the pike. If you don't want to eat them then put the effort into finding someone who will. Cant be that hard. I'm one that would gladly put them on the table
 Reply by: Budha      Posted: May. 25, 1:48:27 PM     Points: 163    
I didnít start fishing Spinney until 1990. I didnít really learn how to catch fish from Spinney until the mid 90ís couple years before the decline. I did get to enjoy the SRC and high quality bows for a couple years before the decline. I also caught hammer handle size pike then as well. Over the years, what I notice the most is that more sportsmen have learned how to fish Spinney and have been successful at catching trout (not hard). But mostly I have seen much more harvesting of trout than before due to greater success. Unlike Antero, I use to see much less harvesting at Spinney. Maybe one or two anglers hear or there. Now a days, almost every angler who is successful catching Trout will walk out with a fish in their net. Maybe one or two who are exclusive catch and release. I am not judging. I am okay with any angler who exercise their right to harvest per regulation. I am not an exclusive catch and release angler myself. On the flip side, in my 30 yrs of fishing Spinney I have only on two occasions seen two other anglers who kept Pike. Once before the ďharvest all PikeĒ request from DOW and once after. I myself have harvested two Pike (once before and once after), but I have harvested much more trout than that. I just think that Spinney as special as it is, Spinney is still a put and take lake like Antero, but just at a slower put and take rate. Again Iím not judging nor do I have a problem with how it is managed as a put and take. Believe me...over the years I have harvested more trout than the two pike but far less than what Iíve caught. I believe others have been more successful and have also contributed to higher Trout harvest numbers as well. It seems to me that there may be a Trout/Pike harvest imbalanced issue.

Maybe the best solution for this imbalance issue is to post more inspirational Pike preparation recipes?
 Reply by: MOJO      Posted: May. 25, 5:26:09 PM     Points: 612    
This is great news for me as I want to try some pike recipes and learn how to properly fillet them. My first pikefest was a very overcast and calm day at 11Mile. My Fl Org Z-Ray ended up with so many toothmarks by end of day it was ridiculous. It may be time to plan another day like that.
 Reply by: walleyeshark      Posted: May. 25, 6:45:26 PM     Points: 0    
These posts are incredible about the pike. Where are people from that call them Hammer Heads? Like so many, I have fished Spinney for 30+ yrs. Lived in Steamboat for 12 yrs. Targeted trophey fish all my life. Seen a lot of so called hard core fishermen complain about crap like this forever! Had an itch, drove to Spinney in the early 90's. Tied my cabelas stl leader & targeted pike. Caught a 46". State record at the time. My dog & I decided to revive it & put it back in the lake. So sorry! I am a member of cenntennial bass club & Co. Walleye assoc. I have learned & have worked very hard to enjoy my time on any waters & target whatever I choose at the time. While I understand the pain from Spinney purists, it really is what it is in most of our lakes here. CPW? Thats a whole 'nother joke right there. Not a lot of control or desire to get back to what was. As for anybody that would kill any fish and leave it on the shore or leave it sink to the bottom, you are truley irresponsible people. Your rants & responses are way off base! My days now are Walleye @ night. Something I have perfected & enjoy. I will get back to to NW or South part of the state to target trophey Trout again whenever, but I would never have an issue turning in brainless individuals. Fish whatever you want, wherever you want, but do the right thing. Oh yeah, feel free to come up to Carter at any time to erradicate all the trout they dump in there. Seems many people complain because they can't can't catch anything else. Good food for the EYE's though. Oh, and I hail from Minnesota and have all over the midwest but have learned to fish whatever/wherever. And Nate Z. Not so right on at times about here & there. Fish On!🐟🐟🐟
 Reply by: setzdahook      Posted: May. 25, 10:49:17 PM     Points: 41    
Hey man, you can always talk to me bro! You know you can count on your old uncle Setz for some good fireside talks lol!! (seriously I've turned to the Force rather than the Dark Side..)
 Reply by: GaltsGulch      Posted: May. 26, 9:05:19 AM     Points: 92    
good discussion on this thread and great to see people can generally disagree without being disagreeable :). here are a couple points of consideration:

0. everyone can agree in principle that small hammer handle pike are a problem.

1. the State can make the biggest impact on controlling small pike with a single sentence in the Spinney regulations. "All northern pike exceeding 26 inches in length must be immediately returned to the water unharmed". all my research shows that big pike enforce an equilibrium on their own species population that dramatically reduces overpopulation of hammer handles. if there is bona fide *science* that shows killing big pike is *good* for a balanced pike population, I am willing to review the science but I have not found it. this proposal takes as a given that there's no feasible way to completely eliminate pike from Spinney, so the strategy should shift to minimizing nuisance-sized pike?

2. CPW-sponsored bounties on small pike < 26". $5 per fish? $20 per fish? I don't know what the exact numbers work out to, but if there are 1000s of hammer handles you want out of the lake without poisoning it, provide an incentive for anglers to provably remove them. the ANS inspectors on the way out can count the hammer handles on your stringer / in your cooler and give you a bounty receipt. I'm pretty confident that I could put dozens on hammer handles on a stringer in a day and show them to an ANS inspector, given a good enough $ incentive. you just have to let the pike >= 26" go back to eat more little pike. yeah those big pike will breed and create little pike, but the ratios will come back into balance

3. if the State is unwilling/unable to sponsor #2, maybe get rid of the idiotic catch-and-kill big pike tournaments on 11 Mile and move the tourneys to Spinney for catch-and-kill *little* pike while catch-and-*release* big pike? you see the pictures in front of 11 Mile Marina with big majestic dead pike and the people involved are all smiling, when all they're doing is destroying the balance in that lake too. make pike tournaments a "quantity of dead little pike" game, with a CPR category for released big pike?
 Reply by: Artsy      Posted: May. 26, 10:05:17 AM     Points: 315    
Good idea's GaltsGulch.

I think I would be open to your idea about Pike Tourney's at Spinney for pike under 26".

I am an Avid Pike fisherman and prefer them over Trout any day. For those who say that we can all go to Williams Fork or Stagecoach for pike obviously don't live in COS or Pueblo. That is a 4 hr drive at best!

As I've said before, you can catch Trout in EVERY SINGLE LAKE in this state. And yes, i know Spinney grows em big, but it also grows nice pike too!

It's a proven fact that Big Pike prefer to eat little pike over slimmers so there does have to be a balance to it. Spinney has been a great place to fish since I've started fishing it back in 95. I personally like it just the way it is...
 Reply by: Santiago84      Posted: May. 26, 10:33:32 AM     Points: 4130    
I am interested in learning about this. Can you point me to the study that proves pike prefer to eat smaller pike over trout?
 Reply by: Fishanator      Posted: May. 26, 11:36:50 AM     Points: 0    
Nice try Artsy.
You forgot to mention 11mile that is even closer to you in cos. Also wrong on pike not liking slimmers, this is why cpw stocks trout in late fall as the pikes metabolism slows and they won't eat as many and gives them a chance to grow.
 Reply by: SPESCHL      Posted: May. 26, 11:38:48 AM     Points: 0    
I wanted to put my 2 cents into this conversation as I feel some of us are missing the point of what we all are and that is Fishermen. When we decided to take this label on it comes with a great responsibility that I feel some have lost. We have many aspects of the outdoors that we have taken upon ourselves to look out for, conservation, image of being a fishermen/hunter/outdoorsmen to others that may not understand what we do and maybe the most important thing of all is passing our way down to the next generation.

I would consider myself a Fisherman, hunter and an outdoorsmen. We all buy the licenses and most of us belong to some club or another to help preserve the environment for what we love to do. We do our part for conservation, Great!!!

Image is something I feel some of us are lacking here. Again we are all fishermen at the core and I do not want my name associated with folks that would just kill an unwanted fish because they feel it is a problem. Taking fish to be eaten by legal means is not at all what I am referring to here. When some talk about just killing a fish because it is small and maybe the unwanted target is just wrong. As fisherman we go out to catch fish, we weed through the unwanted fish (size and species) to find the one big one we have been chasing, sometimes for years, it is what we do. In this day and age with instant feedback and posting to the internet do we as a collective group want to be seen as folks that will just kill because we feel it is right and justified? Do we want to be seen as a group, that will just throw a species of fish that we donít like on the bank of a beautiful lake that we fight so hard to maintain? We fight hard to destroy the stereotypes of fishermen/hunters/outdoorsmen and this can bring us back to square one with one click of a picture or video.

Passing our way down to the next generation our greatest responsibility that some are overlooking. How dare you just kill a fish you deem as an issue, unwanted and unnecessary and take that opportunity from my son to catch that fish. How dare you make me explain to a new fishermen why you feel it is right to kill a fish that they would be proud to catch. It is hard enough to get the next generation into the pass time we so truly love without explaining this to them. I spend a lot of time on this lake and I take my son as often as he wants to go and sometimes small pike are the only thing we will catch, but that keeps him wanting to come back, that keeps him wanting to chase bigger fish, that keeps him wanting to learn how to catch bigger fish. Without those small pike to pass the time he would lose interest in the day and possibility of fishing in general and with that we all would lose.
 Reply by: Fishanator      Posted: May. 26, 11:49:59 AM     Points: 0    
If it stays the way it's going ,that's all your son will catch is small pike.
 Reply by: Artsy      Posted: May. 26, 12:25:46 PM     Points: 315    

I didn't say that Pike "don't like slimers", I said that they "prefer" little pike over slimers. They will and do eat trout...Just like other trout eat trout.

11 Mile does not offer up good pike fishing like Spinney. 11 Mile used to be awesome for northern's, until they started having those tourney's every year. Now 11 Mile is crap for Pike fishing...At least compared to spinney.

The trout fisherman keep pointing the pike guys to 11 Mile, why don't you trout fisherman just go to Antero?? It's all trout in that lake.

dam, the trout guys get to have it all??
 Reply by: Toadfish      Posted: May. 26, 12:31:08 PM     Points: 3829    
Then take some home and eat them... I can not believe that a person that considers themselves a sportsman or a fisherman would even consider, let alone condone killing a fish just to kill it and either let it sink in the lake or leave it on the bank... How can you feel so entitled to the resource that you think that is okay or acceptable?? The image of the Sport Outdoorsman is constantly under scrutiny by those that donít understand or agree with the thing that we love. Killing a fish just to kill it is unethical and in my opinion should be illegal. I know if I saw somebody doing this at any body of water I fish, with any species of fish I would call you out on your BS and make sure I reported you to CPW, and you bet your @$$ I would put you, your license plate # and a pic of you if I could get one on blast everywhere.
 Reply by: Artsy      Posted: May. 26, 1:20:00 PM     Points: 315    
Amen, toad. Amen.
 Reply by: SPESCHL      Posted: May. 26, 1:22:59 PM     Points: 0    
if that is what you choose to take away from my post than I think you are missing the point....enough said
 Reply by: walleyeshark      Posted: May. 26, 5:09:43 PM     Points: 0    
Well said speschl. Cannot beleive one would be brought up to kill unwanted fish. Kudos to all responsible fishermen & hunters. I am 66 and have always been taught to avoid or distance myself from misguided people. Hope your son catches that special one he so relishes. I am sure he will with and enjoy every experience you will teach bim along the way. FISH ON!
 Reply by: Toadfish      Posted: May. 26, 6:46:35 PM     Points: 3829    
SPESCHL I was in no way referring to you, Iím talking to the other people that feel it is okay to leave a fish to rot just because it is not a ďtargetĒ species or is a species that they donít feel belong somewhere.

AND just so that everybody knows, this is a picture of the laws about discarding fish in Colorado
 Reply by: SPESCHL      Posted: May. 26, 6:54:29 PM     Points: 0    
Toad. I was referring to fishanator. Not your post, it seem that you and I have the same view point on this.
 Reply by: Spikey      Posted: May. 26, 8:09:02 PM     Points: 40    
Well said Toadfish. I fished Spinney a couple weeks back with my cousin. He caught several pike and indicated erroneously that by law he had to kill them and didn't have much intention of eating them. I informed him that he better be eating them if he kills them. We didn't talk much after that and he won't be on my boat again anytime soon. I suspect his pike saw the the bottom of a trashcan when he took them home. I would have gladly taken them and cooked them up.

Anyone who's ever had a "shore lunch" with fried pike in Canada knows it is some of the best eating fish you'll ever have if cooked right. If I see anybody discarding pike like the guys on this post there will be some choice words said and they should be turned in for wasting a gamefish which by the way are delicious.
 Reply by: beewee      Posted: May. 29, 4:13:34 PM     Points: 0    
I was fishing 🎣 from the boat ramp one afternoon and noticed a dead fish in the water about thirty feet out. It looked like the bottom of the lake was moving! Turned out it was, I donít know 🤔 maybe a hundred or more crawfish 🦞 were moving toward it! So l donít know. Those of us that used to catch a lot of quality fish 🐟 back in the day maybe we need to harvest them all. I donít know I may be wrong...
 Reply by: devon234      Posted: May. 29, 5:23:32 PM     Points: 168    
im not advocating just killing pike and not eating them you should release the big ones. but pike taste really good and if you live in a metro area in Colorado than there isn't as many pike fisheries but you cant have everything. I live in the mountains and would love it if there were more white bass/wiper fisheries close by but that's not the case. at the same time I feel lucky to live in a place where I can catch brookies(which are 3-5 lbs) and cutthroats because that is not as common across the country as walleyes or white bass. complaining about the fish that live where you live isn't going to change anything.
 Reply by: setzdahook      Posted: May. 29, 8:43:12 PM     Points: 41    
Lots of posts about how people are gonna call out other people and yell at them etc...I promise all of you that all that will come of it is trouble. If you feel something is wrong or someone has broken the law then call the DOW or the park rangers. If anyone thinks they can go Regulator Style and FSU out there you are sooo wrong. All your going to do is start a fight that quite possibly will escalate into a shiz-nit storm. Not everyone out there is open to "constructive criticism.... so slow your roll if your a wanna be regulator and let the "law' handle it. I'm sure they won't mess things up...
 Reply by: RD_3      Posted: May. 30, 12:47:17 PM     Points: 6    
There has been quite a bit of feedback about not eating small pike. Since I mentioned I return my small pike to die in the lake, I wanted to mention how I arrived at that decision, because the decision to kill small pike and return them to the water is not an easy or simple decision.

Currently, I believe it is best to not return small pike to Spinney. It benefits the trout and the trophy pike, and therefore, the vast majority of fishermen. I also believe if someone catches a small pike and wants to remove it from Spinney, eating it is a great outcome. A young pike from Spinney would be a healthy meal in a world where it is hard to eat fish without significant amounts of PCBs and mercury in the meat.

Unfortunately for me, bringing home any fish is not an option. My wife does not want any fish in the house. And she is very clear about it. I like to eat fish and eat fish at restaurants or enjoy one when camping overnight. I have tried several times to peddle pike to every fisherman I encountered on my way out of Spinney. It was like offering them a dead cat. I was practically laughed at by some people. Pike just is not a popular fish to eat, probably more so at Spinney.

So what is one to do if they inadvertently catch a small pike at Spinney, but will not eat it and cannot give it so someone who will eat it? I agree that CPWís ďharvest all pikeĒ is a guideline and does not supersede the state law about wasting game. But I also feel that, at 53% pike, the worst option is to return the small pike back into Spinney unharmed. So I take a gamble for what I feel is the best long-term option. I return the small pike back to Spinney to die. I feel it is worth the gamble for the greater good.

That brings me to the more recent posts about killing a small pike but not eating it. To me, I am hearing the only acceptable outcome of killing a small pike is to eat it. We are only talking about removing small pike at Spinney today. Not forever and not trophy pike. The argument seems to be that the only ethical justification to kill a small pike is to feed a human. Any other outcome is unethical. To me, that is not wrong at all, but it is also not singular.

Take a look at the studies about the impact dead salmon have on the local river environment where they spawn and die. Those dead uneaten salmon are a good thing for everything living in and near the river. They benefit the whole local ecosystem and are the opposite of wasted. In an isolated situation like Spinney is today, returning a dead pike back to the lake seems more beneficial to the lake than putting those nutrients into my stomach. But that is just me.

My point is thisÖ If someone catches a small pike at Spinney this year, returning its nutrients back to the lake just might be a somewhat honorable and possibly a hard thought out decision. It does not mean it is the right decision for everyone, but hear them out before you go all ďSaturday Night at the FightsĒ on them.
 Reply by: Cootswatter      Posted: Jun. 1, 2:47:52 PM     Points: 0    
I catch them and keep everyone over 20". I throw then rest way the heck up in the bushes and when I go back the next morning they are magically gone. Too many pike mess up a trout lake! Per the State.

Plus the coyotes have a healthy shine to their coats.
 Reply by: beewee      Posted: Jun. 1, 3:42:38 PM     Points: 0    
Thatís why a big fat coyote startled me as he was laying down in the Brush! Heís eating all the doggone dead pike!

 Reply by: FalconPilot      Posted: Jun. 1, 7:07:16 PM     Points: 0    
In Spinney, a dead pike, is a good pike ... I just take my hemostats and remove their gill plate and senb them to the bottom.

I was very encouraged today as I saw several dead pike on the north side of the lake today.

If we donít control the pike population the state will with a hefty does Rotenone and it will take several years for Spinney to recover.
 Reply by: beewee      Posted: Jun. 2, 2:22:52 PM     Points: 0    
Killing all the fish and starting all over has happened before. I know Lake John up in North Park has had it done before because of a sucker problem. So hereís the question. Are you all willing to start over in Spinney? A pike population of over 50% is a problem. Would you sacrifice I donít know 🤔 maybe 3 years to get it back to where it used to be! A Bonanza!
 Reply by: Bubba02STi      Posted: Jun. 3, 1:51:19 PM     Points: 515    
Pike are predatory cannibalistic. They will eat pretty much anything. Not just singling out trout.

Too much of any fish will stunt a lake.

CPW relies heavily on anglers to help manage all fish populations. Some of us know what it is like to have our favorite waters killed off because of overpopulation or introductions of fish such as pike that completely wipe them out.

Itís not always bucket biologists. Eagles herons seagulls and other birds who feed on fish are known to drop live fish in other waters. But bucket biologists can kindly sit on a barb wired bat.

Trout struggle to survive here in many parts of the state and it takes a lot of time and money to keep our populations up. So itís understandable for so many wanting to protect them.

WE are the biggest threat to these ecosystems. Do your part to protect them.

IMO Pike are a ton of fun to catch. Especially on the fly. Personally Iíd rather target trout, but Iím not going to limit myself to one species over another. Hell if my line is getting Iím happy. Iím 99% C&R mainly because Iím not a fan of the taste of fresh water fish. The are very few times Iíll keep or kill a fish. And on those rare occasions that I do kill several fish in a trip is because of bounties that are set by CPW.

We all love to fish. We all have our favorite species that we target. None of us are going to win one side of this debate over the other. What we can win at though is doing our parts and being a community that protects our water for everyone to enjoy.

Also if youíre killing any kind of fish for what ever reason. Whether you think it is legal or not, please donít leave it on shore. Thatís just gross. Period. Nobody wants to stand around the smell of rotting fish. Clean up after yourselves.
 Reply by: RogBow      Posted: Jun. 3, 2:08:19 PM     Points: 1871    
Can't wait to go see what this imbalance is all about! Should be fun.
 Reply by: 007      Posted: Jun. 3, 6:34:20 PM     Points: 71    
That people somehow feel morally superior catching and releasing a stocked concrete raceway bred, chow fed, RBT that has no hope of reproducing or sustaining itself, but will turn around and kill a wild fish that is sustaining populations and growing to trophy class in these lakes because the Man sanctions it or because of some poor excuse that "its good for the trout population" asinine and reflects poorly on anglers as a group. This is a different argument than westslope native fish protection, where predator control has a legitimate conservation purpose. You would all do well to remember that hunting and angling are not rights, they are privileges.... that are enjoyed by a minority. We should have zero tolerance when it comes to wanton waste even if CPW suggests otherwise. They are often slow to evolve as an agency and in particular, young bios dont stick their neck out on these issues when agency dogma has been handed down. Learn to fillet a pike, and enjoy the bounty of our wild places.
 Reply by: beewee      Posted: Jun. 3, 7:15:44 PM     Points: 0    
Donít see to many dead fish littering the shore at Spinney. Anybody who lives in the mountains 🏔 knows nothing gets wasted. So basically to feed the animals some pike that you leave on shore could be sustaining a family of badgers, my friend came upon one at the shore line! If you look 👀 upon the shore thereís tracks everywhere! The point is you can have both! If we harvest all the pike itís good for the lake and all the animals not to mention the trout!!
 Reply by: bron      Posted: Jun. 3, 7:37:57 PM     Points: 37348    
Stock perch, suckers, and sunfish.
 Reply by: GaltsGulch      Posted: Jun. 6, 7:57:29 AM     Points: 92    
for anglers to have an impact on pike overpopulation, anglers need to Release Big Pike. it might seem counterintuitive, but a Big Pike is going to take out wayyyy more smaller pike than any angler could hope to accomplish. for pike less than 24", go ahead and harvest them by the truckload. CPW should require "all northern pike greater than 26 inches be returned to the water unharmed" if CPW really was in tune with science and biology to control the pike population. the anglers who prefer to fish for non-native rainbow, brown, and hybrid trout species can still sit in their little inner tubes and stare at their little bobber (sorry, indicator) and call it "fly fishing". just stop killing Big Pike, take out all the little pike you want, and the lake will be better for all.
 Reply by: RogBow      Posted: Jun. 6, 10:32:30 AM     Points: 1871    
We kept 4 pike from Spinney yesterday, just little pike under 22". Given the lures we were using I have a hard time believing any natural reproducing trout, such as a brookie, would last longer than a week in that lake of teeth.
 Reply by: beewee      Posted: Jun. 6, 1:46:39 PM     Points: 0    
Staring at that little bobber can be addicting and is easier than truly fishing in a stream where you have to work for the fish. But to me its still fly fishing. Once you catch a fish on a fly rod its hard to go back to chucking. Plus to catch fish you still have to match the hatch! By the way was anybody there Friday around 3 pm when that Giant Dust Devil 👿 came!
 Reply by: RogBow      Posted: Jun. 6, 2:41:57 PM     Points: 1871    
Yes. I was there for that. I thought it might clear out after and calm down but no. There may be no other place on earth where the weather forecast can be so far from accurate.

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