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Lake: Mack Mesa Lake

Draining of Mack Mesa

Post By: Crosstrekfisher      Posted: 4/21/2021 9:00:23 AM     Points: 17    
When will some people learn about the damage incurred by introducing invasive species without the right controls

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 Reply by: Smelly      Posted: 4/21/2021 1:32:30 PM     Points: 26940
Bucket Biologist = 100% Attitude + Selfishness 0% Brains!!
 Reply by: RogBow      Posted: 4/21/2021 3:28:12 PM     Points: 2757
There are already a lot of places with pike. This is unfortunate.
 Reply by: 007      Posted: 4/21/2021 4:44:35 PM     Points: 81
Got it... so non native predatory pike bad.... non native predatory bass good...If we really cared about native Colorado river fish, why is CPW still planning on stocking bass?
 Reply by: Dakota Dude      Posted: 4/21/2021 5:11:23 PM     Points: 2571
What about non-native brown trout, rainbow trout, walleye, wipers, bass, and lake trout. CPW's agenda on this topic is a complete joke. If you think what is in this article is true and the CPW's portrayal of Pike in this state is accurate, then you're either ill informed or you're drinking the kool-aid.

I hate seeing articles like this.
 Reply by: Santiago84      Posted: 4/21/2021 5:41:49 PM     Points: 7349
Dakotadude, I never thought about it like that but you have a good point. All of those are non native predatory fish. Is the issue that pike have the potential to do really well if they get into the Colorado versus a bass that isnít likely to make it through the winter if they get into the river? Or is that at least CPWs argument for taking them out of Mack Mesa? Wasnít that the claimed issue at GMR? They were worried they would get into the Blue? What is the CPW agenda in this? They just donít like pike and would prefer to manage for trout?
 Reply by: catfishking      Posted: 4/21/2021 5:53:31 PM     Points: 17
Pike are fun to catch why not transfer the pike like to the arsenal or somewhere why kill them
 Reply by: Smelly      Posted: 4/22/2021 2:07:43 AM     Points: 26940
Not a complete joke DD. One big problem with pike is that they donít need real specific requirements in order to successfully spawn !They can reproduce in a lot of different environments !Santiago is on the right track. If I remember correct. All the waters mentioned are part of the Colorado River Drainage. All the fish you mentioned are hatchery raised cause they donít reproduce in our waters . Walleye and Smallies are also being targeted because they can reproduce in river environments . In this case itís per the Endangered Specie Act .In the case of wipers, thatís even a ď Frankenfish ď . Produced in a lab ! This topic been gone over a jillion times on this site. By guys a lot more informed on this topic than most of us will ever be, including myself. So I guess Iím ill informed and drinking the Kool Aid . Same Merry-Go- Round. Different pony!

Catfishking. Your right. Pike are fun to catch . But I think it would cost a lot of $ to have CPW catch those fish and transfer them from the West Slope to the Eastern plains. Since they can do well enough on their own over here . In guessing it would be more than those pike would be worth.
 Reply by: Dakota Dude      Posted: 4/22/2021 11:45:36 AM     Points: 2571
"All the fish you mentioned are hatchery raised cause they donít reproduce in our waters"

What makes you say this? Its incorrect and furthers my point. Hatchery raised rainbows, browns, walleyes, bass, catfish, etc... are stocked and reproduce all of the state. Wipers, tiger musky, and splake, sure, but just because its a hatchery fish does not correlate to "it can't reproduce". It is the opposite unless the fish is a hybrid. The Endangered Species Act is part of the problem and the perception the CPW pushes for a fish that thrives in a significant portion of waters across this country is confusing and unsupported to say the least.

Mack Mesa isn't a good or popular pike fishery. If this was 11-mile, Spinney, Harvey, Navajo, Rifle, etc... this would have been a much bigger deal.

I get worked up when I see these articles year after year because of the way the CPW characterizes only certain predatory fish (pike and lake trout) because they want the general uninformed public to "understand" why they "have" to do these things. Its frustrating for fishermen that enjoy catching these species.
 Reply by: Smelly      Posted: 4/22/2021 3:49:22 PM     Points: 26940
DD Iíll agree with you on the ESA. It is the problem. I think that after a long enough period of time . If a specie canít be brought back to a self sustaining level. We should call it good and move on. Some of those fish have been on the list for decades now. I think there is a lot of politics involved. And it seem that indefinitely seems to be the time frame given those fish.The issue really isnít Mac Mesa. Itís the Colorado River. If those fish escape ( like a dam breach or another bucket bio jackass ) fish like pike , smallmouth ,and walleye can reproduce in the river. And something about spawning time with smallmouth in particular that puts them and one of the ESA fish in the same spot at the same time. And the fish that are stocked, are done so , based on weather or not they can reproduce the river. And our trout are stocked. Because they donít successfully reproduce .There are a limited number of self sustaining trout in Colo. So thatís the correlation with ď it canít reproduce ď. Lake trout are limited more by their environmental needs . Dillon would be great for Lk Trt. But then the char would be at risk . And with the char, thatís a special fishery..This goes back to my Elite Fish Post. Colo has a juggling act to do between what fishermen want and what the feds want. And both sides have $ on the table . Just cause its a cool predator that you ( and me) like to fish for. Doesnít mean itís feasible or ecmonomiclly viable for the state to have it everyplace that it can thrive.
 Reply by: Digginjiggin      Posted: 4/22/2021 4:50:14 PM     Points: 501
Actually, Smelly, there are several fish that you say are stocked because they donít reproduce in the river that dominate the river. You need a lesson on fish biology. The Gunnison River and Colorado have such profuse populations of brown trout that the process of getting the whirling disease-resistant Hofer strain RBT to reproduce and increase their populations is very slow to happen. Brown trout are one of my favorite species and are favored by both CPW and Trout Unlimited. They are as voracious predator as SMB and are not stocked. Just goes as strong evidence that the ESA is strictly a political way of getting more water to California above its allocation under the Compact. California refuses to implement the same recycling practices like Arizona and Nevada have done. When minimum flows are required to let the 4 species reproduce yet have not increased over 20 plus years of ESA enforcement the underlying reasons become clear. I guess brown trout are the elite species because they thrive in the western slope rivers while pike, walleye and smb are killed, netted in Rifle Gap (despite having an expensive screen below the dam paid for by our fishing dollars). IMO DD has more correct points in his post than you.
 Reply by: Walleye Guy      Posted: 4/22/2021 5:52:16 PM     Points: 214
Not sure but I would think most sport fish species could reproduce in Colorado, just not near enough to satisfy us.

 Reply by: Fishneveryweek      Posted: 4/23/2021 12:38:12 PM     Points: 42
Then I must say again that the big farce of this all is that while CPW and FWS are ostensibly fighting to keep a possible one little pike, walleye, or smallmouth from getting into the endangerd's home territory (the GJ section of the CO River), the other door is wide open since walleye, smallmouth, catfish and stripers can pour on into the area by simply swimming upstream from Powell. This situation demonstrates that this wasteful disgusting fish killing program by CPW and FWS is nothing but stupid dark humor that only an idiot would think to be sensible fish management.
 Reply by: Smelly      Posted: 4/23/2021 3:41:35 PM     Points: 26940
See guys . I like these ď stir the pot ď kind of posts. I have an opinion. It doesnít mean itís the only one ,nor the most correct or popular one. And the thing about these posts is . That once the dust settles, the smoke clears ,and bruises heal. I walk away learning something. And seeing other Peopleís POVs. Is a good thing IMO. Fishineveryweek , I donít think the ESA and sensible fish management have ever even met. To me, 2entirely different objectives. Diggin , you seem to be in the know on the politics aspect of this . And what you are saying. Makes sense to me. And your right Iím not any kind of fish fish expert. And donít claim to be. Hell , Iíve been ď bulldozed ď so many times on this site, by Fishseal on fish ID. Im actually starting to it ! And I walk away with a little more education. But I wanna give this pot , just one more stir. Diggin , you say the Colo R. If chock full of browns. You would know best. Fishin, you say all the Powell fish can run up the ColoR . I donít know , so Iíll agree with you. Hereís the ? With all those predators in the water already. How have the ESA fish managed to hang on for so long?
 Reply by: FishSeal      Posted: 4/23/2021 9:22:09 PM     Points: 3482
Okay, I'm going to point out a few things also for thought. You guys already know my stance and views on this.

1) Biological / environmental constraints. Not all fish can live in the same environment. Some require colder water, some warmer water. Some require more specific habitat to reproduce successfully, some won't reproduce hardly in the same habitat.
That is some of the reasoning for the decisions that have been made regarding allowing some non-native fish to be allowed in certain areas. Black crappie are known to be okay producers in a lake, but not nearly as successful in the river. Trout prefer cold water, where the native fish prefer warmer water (there is some overlap, but the warmer the water, the trout are not as likely to survive. Largemouth bass are known to be okay reproducers in lakes, but not in the river. Smallmouth bass on the other hand are opposite and spawn well in rivers as well and require more specific habitat to reproduce well in lakes.

2) Seasonal timing. Unfortunately, the timing for reproduction of non-natives is earlier than the native fish. Spawning times are an important part of trying to recover native fish. Currently non-native fish such as smallmouth bass and northern pike reproduce shortly after ice off. However, the native fish require warmer water. By the time that the native fish hatch from eggs and float/swim downstream, they are the right morsel size for non-native fish that hatched a month or more earlier.

3) Adaptability. Some fish require very stringent environments to survive, while some are very adaptable and can live just about anywhere. This is obvious to all who participate in these discussions. The native fish in the Colorado River Basin, are unique to just the Colorado River Basin. They are not found anywhere else in the world. Very much like the American Paddlefish (now a monogentic family, the only other one was the Yangzee river paddlefish before being declared extinct) that is found only in the Mississippi river drainage. Rainbow trout require cold water and do very poorly in warm water, but a family relative, the brown trout does better in warmer water (still colder than most native fish prefer and really only overlap during native fish spawning season when native fish migrate upstream). Smallmouth bass and channel catfish occupy and overlap the majority of the native fish area and therefore they have a larger impact on the recovery progress. Northern pike is the most adaptable and can be found throughout the basin, with the lower colorado river basin as less inhabitable, but still has some areas where it has strongholds.

As has been said, it is much easier to find "game" fish in many other locations throughout the state. However, you can only find the Western native game fish on the western slope, no where else. You won't find them in Canada (trophy pike), Texas or Florida (trophy bass), Minnesota or Michigan (trophy bass and crappie), just in the Colorado River Basin.

As a biologist and angler, I find the western slope a treasure and should be protected as much as possible. However, I also recognize that there is a lot of money that goes into it and it has been difficult to decide where you draw the line as a conservative and steward.

Just food for thought and to add some information on why some fish are allowed and some are not.

 Reply by: ColoradoRay      Posted: 4/23/2021 9:54:03 PM     Points: 36906
Hey Fish Seal -
Has there ever been any consideration given to the idea of raising some of the endangered fish species in a hatchery and then released back in to the river to help increase their populations?
 Reply by: Wmdunker      Posted: 4/24/2021 7:47:06 AM     Points: 474
ColoradoRay - that idea of raising the native endangered fish in hatcheries and then releasing them has been going on for decades now with only limited success in most cases.
 Reply by: Fishneveryweek      Posted: 4/24/2021 11:54:59 AM     Points: 42
Fish Seal: All that you have said is correct, and you acknowledge that smallmouth and catfish are fine with the water temps. and running upstream to the GJ area from Powell. The other two species of predators that I mentioned that can come upstream are walleye and stripers. Both species inhabit warm and cold temps. and do well in streams, as well as lakes. I, in fact, have caught them in both environments. Additionally, FWS has acknowledged that walleye from Powell do come up and, to a significant extent, eat endangereds in the GJ area. Indeed, considering the millions of these predators that are present in Lake Powell, worrying about a long shot chance of a few predators coming in from CO reservoirs is a moot point, especially since they all are either screened or do not drain into the CO River because agriculture uses up all the effluent water. Wouldn't you agree?
 Reply by: longdraw      Posted: 4/25/2021 11:14:08 PM     Points: 512
CPW needs to protect federal funding. They will do this regardless of logic, reasoning or science.
 Reply by: FishSeal      Posted: 4/26/2021 8:36:27 PM     Points: 3482

Rarely are striper ever encountered, and if they are, they are typically close the lake.
Walleye, you are correct, are encountered. However, they will stay in the cooler waters as much as possible, so they will move back and forth. However, there was no records of successful reproduction, so it was helpful to remove them when they were encountered. Unfortunately, right before I left the laboratory, I had identified walleye reproduction in the Colorado. Only a single larva, but it was successful nonetheless. I believe it was for this reason that the push for triploid walleye became evident.

I can't say how much endangered fish they consume. There is a lot of non-native biomass in the rivers and I believe they are opportunistic when food comes by, native or not. I really disliked having to ID and count the thousands of shiners when I seined them.
I'm sure they do, but I haven't read/researched any information about the stomach analysis of walleye and stripers in the Colorado River Basin.
Just keep in mind that non-natives eat non-natives too. I would say more than they eat natives, because of the percent population. However when you have a small percent to work with already (natives), the impact is greater.

So, I half agree and half disagree.

I will say, how far is long enough? I don't know. I've been asking myself that question. I'm glad for the opportunities I've had to learn, teach, and even catch endangered fish. I know science doesn't hold all the answers. I think society has a huge role to play in it as well. It would be cool to see native fish re-established, but it would be sad to see them extirpated.

Does politics get involved, always (more fingers in the pie). However, I try to stay objective and don't care as much about the politics as much as I do being a good steward of the fisheries that we have. This is where I find it difficult to draw the line when there should be better expected progress for the investments that has been made. Set backs to the recovery do not help either, such as Mack Mesa.

I like diversity, but homogeneity. So being to catch a lot of different types of fish, but not the same fish everywhere. I think it give the angler that challenge to catch something new and different.

I'd like to hear more views.

 Reply by: FishSeal      Posted: 4/26/2021 8:42:21 PM     Points: 3482
I thought I had posted to ColoradoRay and Wmdunker. If so, pardon the repeat. If it was removed, my apologies (I don't know what made it so).

Let me know if I need to repeat it.

 Reply by: Erbstromxa      Posted: 4/27/2021 1:21:16 AM     Points: 0
That once the dust settles, the smoke clears ,and bruises heal. I walk away learning something. And seeing other Peopleís POVs. Is a good thing IMO. Fishineveryweek [log in for link]
, I donít think the ESA and sensible fish management have ever even met. To me, 2entirely different objectives. Diggin , you seem to be in the know on the politics aspect of this . And what you are saying. Makes sense to me. And your right Iím not any kind of fish fish expert. And donít claim to be. Hell , Iíve been ď bulldozed ď so many times on this site, by Fishseal on fish ID. Im actually starting to it ! And I walk away with a little more education. But I wanna give this pot , just one more stir. Diggin , you say the Colo R
 Reply by: Smelly      Posted: 4/27/2021 3:28:55 PM     Points: 26940
Hey FishSeal .

Got an opinion question for you. I know where you stand on this issue. But I also truly get where these guys are coming from. I agree with them that these waters would benefit greatly with the introduction of the kind of sport fish that are targeted for removal. .And the improved fishery , would be a boost to the local economy . I also feel we owe it the ESA fish to give it our best shot at bringing them back to self sustaining . We put them there. We should try to fix it. But these fish have been endangered for a long time now. And Iím guessing itís been a mighty expensive effort. Do you think there should come a time when we should say ď Weíre not moving the needle on this experiment ď and just let evolution run its course ?
 Reply by: Coyute      Posted: 4/28/2021 10:18:44 AM     Points: 148
CPW has become a lapdog to the decrepit Feds and their agenda driven 'science.'
 Reply by: FishSeal      Posted: 4/28/2021 7:29:46 PM     Points: 3482

You bring up a good point and I eluded to it in one of my previous posts.

ESA did set goals and objectives. Were they reasonable? I don't know. Long lived species are hard to evaluate.

So, my opinion.
Razorback sucker has been the most successful and I believe it will continue to succeed.
Humpback chub has some strongholds, but will they hold if human intervention is removed? I don't know.
Bonytail chub is in the same boat as Humpback, but needs continual stocking efforts.
Colorado Pikeminnow, I don't think will recover.

Do we remove effort and let the change occur? We could, but I think it would also be important to evaluate what will sustain the non-native fish. Playing with the biosystem, food web, is messy business. The web is intricate, including not just the fish, but the food, habitat, predators, and what about water demands? Will it become like the Rio Grande?
Will the pike and smallmouth bass take over? undoubtedly, but what role will walleye have? What is going to be the forage for all the mouths? Will crawdads be the new main source? minnows? each other? What about spawning times? if the water is withheld and the stream dries up, will it be too warm for the game fish? I guess I'm asking how long will it stabilize and be self-maintaining?

I honestly wish recovery was successful. I really enjoy catching other fish, even giant minnows. So from a steward perspective, I'd like to see it continue. However, I think pikeminnow needs to be let go and concentrate on the other species.


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