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Lake: Blue Mesa Reservoir
Fish: Lake Trout

Another CPW fish kill fest: Blue Mesa

Post By: Fishneveryweek      Posted: 5/1/2021 1:04:14 PM     Points: 42    
Despite the disasterous flop with kokanee all dying off from gill lice, CPW is doggedly accelerating its program of killing off lakers at Blue. They will be paying cash for tagged laker heads, not just one day, but for months well into July of this year. Don't want to see anything alive in there except stocker rainbows and browns - totally sick! When the rainbows die from the gill lice, that will leave just browns and some perch.
 Reply by: TADA32      Posted: May. 1, 3:21:49 PM     Points: 21680    
They aren't looking to kill off the lake. They just want to see how populations do and so forth. That's why they tag fish and then want to see the progress on said fish.
 Reply by: Fishneveryweek      Posted: May. 2, 11:33:56 AM     Points: 42    
Not according to the interview conducted by the Grand Junction Sentinel and CPW in yesterday's paper. Those lakers were specifically tagged for one reason - the fish kill fest - to encourage the killing of lakers for the better part of the summer. They want laker "heads to roll" as much as possible.
 Reply by: Fishneveryweek      Posted: May. 2, 12:20:05 PM     Points: 42    
The article goes on to say that CPW has already paid bounty money for tagged heads turned in to them - something like $250 per head.
 Reply by: Ajax5240      Posted: May. 2, 1:36:31 PM     Points: 33059    
They had to catch the fish to tag them... if they wanted them dead so badly.. they would have not released them after tagging..

 Reply by: Smelly      Posted: May. 2, 3:44:35 PM     Points: 25806    
Kinda leaning with Ajax and TADA. If the CPW just “ wanted them dead “ . Why go through the trouble of catching , tagging , and then releasing those fish . And they are paying for tagged heads. Not just any laker. Sounds more like a study than an extermination to me.
 Reply by: skiman      Posted: May. 2, 4:12:00 PM     Points: 2507    
I also agree with Ajax and TADA, more of a study than a kill off.
While I don’t necessarily agree with their methods, over the years I have learned there is always more to every story. I can choose to react emotionally, or I can seek out the facts before forming my opinion.
 Reply by: johnski      Posted: May. 2, 6:35:03 PM     Points: 6139    
I believe it is a census effort of sort. They tag some, and then release. Then monitor the rate of catch. Maybe CPW Dan Bruach might chime in.
 Reply by: Ajax5240      Posted: May. 2, 7:13:42 PM     Points: 33059    
It’s much like how they band / neck collar ducks and geese. They are utilizing hunters and anglers as a resource to assist in research.

If they wanted them dead, they have far more effective means of removing fish than relying on you catching one...

A media source didn’t tell you the whole story, that I’ll find hard to believe... wait..........

From the CPW press release: [log in for link]

“Colorado Parks and Wildlife is asking anglers to be our partners in helping to manage the renowned Blue Mesa Reservoir fishery,” said Dan Brauch, aquatic biologist for CPW in Gunnison. “We know we can have an excellent kokanee fishery and a trophy lake trout fishery, but we need to continue our work for both species and we need the help of Colorado’s anglers.”

Anglers are asked to harvest smaller lake trout only heads from lake trout that are under 24 inches in length accepted in the tournament. Last year the 339 anglers who participated caught 4,055 of the target-sized lake trout.

Here’s how the tournament works: Anglers who catch and keep lake trout 24 inches or smaller will remove the heads and place them in a plastic bag provided at one of three boat ramps at the reservoir
 Reply by: blackdog1      Posted: May. 3, 8:15:43 AM     Points: 6    
wow allot of misinformation out there. It is really simple , the CPW was spending 40k a year to net and kill around 1200 lake trout ( thats around $35 a fish.. Someone in the office said no more, find a better way, thus a contest and let the fisherman do it. BTW This was suggested by fisherman at roundtable meetings back in 2010. The tagged fish are not visible tags, they are implant's that must be scanned to know it is tagged. So they plant a few tagged fish to encourage anglers to try to catch them. I can stomach this approach allot better than the death fleet in spring and fall netting and killing fish. In the end the kokanee are IMHO doomed because of gill lice, but Dan Brauch CPW bio for the lake is in total denial even after a very poor run last fall. We shall see , they keep dumping in 3 million + koke fry each year so maybe a few will make it to 4 YEO.
 Reply by: yard dogs      Posted: May. 3, 8:27:17 AM     Points: 730    
Ok guys - I fish this lake very often and these are my thoughts -

Gill lice is rampant - that is a fact
CPW is ABSOLUTELY trying to kill every laker in that lake
CPW will ruin that fishery
CPW does not listen to anything at roundtables - they are all for show

Lastly - and this one I believe to my core - someone please prove me wrong. I call BS on these "tagged" fish. I know of anglers catching literally hundreds of macs and have yet to here of one tag being found. I honestly belive its CPW BS. No tags, they just want you to catch and kill all. No way they are catching and releasing them
 Reply by: rdailey      Posted: May. 3, 8:58:16 AM     Points: 1561    
Hate clouding the issue with facts, but..............

[log in for link]
 Reply by: malty falcon      Posted: May. 3, 10:10:27 AM     Points: 7586    
Well then, if you're going to screw things up with facts, how can everybody keep spouting nonsense....oh, there's no rules about nonsense!

Calling the CPW's efforts a "kill-fest" is internet braggadoccio.
 Reply by: yard dogs      Posted: May. 3, 10:46:20 AM     Points: 730    
That link is "facts"???? LOL - right.... Not one mention of browns eating koke fry - not one mention of gill lice taking the kokes over. Just CPW talk. CNN has better "facts"

Over 4,000 lake trout killed in one year is not a kill fest??? So what would be a kill fest then?

Oh ya, and the "fact" that one angler has caught a tagged fish??? Who was that angler? When was it caught? I still call BS
 Reply by: Fishneveryweek      Posted: May. 3, 3:00:30 PM     Points: 42    
Yep, it's BS alright. "tagging lakers for science" is the BS that CPW lovers will swallow every time - like rainbows eating Powerbait. And CPW calls it a "tournament" to sugar coat the crap even more. This is the same exact program that they regularly do at Elkhead to kill pike and Ridgeway to kill smallmouth. Same MO 100%. If fish bit on a lure as well as the CPW huggers on this site always buy CPW BS, then they would have to ban the lure to keep fish from being cleaned out.
 Reply by: skiman      Posted: May. 3, 4:16:22 PM     Points: 2507    
I can’t believe the animosity some people have toward CPW. Who do you think should manage our resources? Should we just let things take their course until the fish and game no longer exist? We do have a voice in the decisions CPW makes as evidenced in the regulations regarding Wildlife Management areas as an example. What some folks forget is a lot of the issues with certain fish species all started with some “bucket biologists” who selfishly thought they knew how to manage a fishery better. I would rather leave these decisions to the educated staff at CPW, then listen to someone who randomly doesn’t agree with their decisions for whatever reason. But that’s just me I guess, and at my age, I am entitled to have that opinion, just as others have theirs. Just make sure you have all the information and the facts before you condemn an act the Division deems necessary no matter how they choose to present it to the public,
While I might disagree with your opinion, I will certainly defend your right to have it!
 Reply by: Smelly      Posted: May. 3, 4:20:16 PM     Points: 25806    
Ok you guy proved your point. Nice job. It does sound like pretty drastic measures to me also. Here’s a question . Looks like kokes are an important part of the food chain . Not only for the fisherman but the fish as well . Lakers chew on them and YD you said yourself browns eat the fry. So if CPW doesn’t get the Kokes back on track , even it it takes these kind of measures. And just gives up stocking the lake. With all those teeth in the lake ( the Lakers and Browns ) and an important link in the food chain no longer available ( the Kokes ) . Do you think that lake would be just fine anyway. And not slowly collapse and end up ruined in the long run ? Just a question.

Fishin. Everybody that buys a CO Hunting or Fishing license is a CPW hugger ! We can complain , argue with. And disagree with policy ( Which I also do .CO has some of the most complicated rules and regs around ) But the reality is we don’t actually have any leverage in the decision making process . Other than a “ vote of no confidence “ . And that vote , is to boycott fishing in Colorado . And to NOT buy a license ! If you buy a license, you give a paid endorsement to CPW and their authority to make and enforce policy . Old saying applies “ Money talks . BS walks. “
Did YOU buy a license Fishneveryweek ?
 Reply by: yard dogs      Posted: May. 3, 4:50:36 PM     Points: 730    
Smelly - great points man. I know the lakers and browns have been gorging on the perch - not sure how well they could fill the gap

To be clear - I do not hate the CPW. They do a lot of great work. I do however disagree with a lot of their policies on the western slope.
 Reply by: danfshs      Posted: May. 4, 1:55:32 PM     Points: 10    
don't forget all of the kokanee fry that are eaten by the perch as they are entering the lake!
 Reply by: Fishneveryweek      Posted: May. 4, 2:25:03 PM     Points: 42    
There is only one CPW, and we need a CPW, but this CPW does some awful stuff to our fisheries, especially on the western slope. I have seen several other state fish and game outfits that do a lot better. But I have also seen United Anglers go hard after bad moves by fish and game, such as when they sued the fish and game in CA when they were allowing the halibut to be cleaned out by trammel netters. Here in CO, there seems to be a bunch of folks who will kiss their feet even when they are doing something as obnoxiously wrong as killing off lakers in Blue to protect the doomed kokanee which are dying off rapidly from the gill lice. Or when they are killing off most of the warm water fisheries on the western slope that pose nearly zero risk to the endangered species. Fish forums with CPW, as those of us on the western slope have said repeatedly, are a farce, since CPW blows off our opinion. Complacency to what ever they do and indifference by CPW is resulting in a steep decline of many of our fisheries, trout and warm water species alike. I could describe tens and tens of examples here on the western slope. And I would bet a number of other people on this site could call out even more of them.
 Reply by: bernie      Posted: May. 5, 5:57:11 AM     Points: 473    
I did a lot of research about the gill lice problem at Blue Mesa and other infected lakes. One thing I did was interview a few biologists around the state.

[log in for link]

While we WILL lose the trophy fishery at Blue Mesa, these hatcheries need to be held accountable. I am not defending killing all these large fish, I will say the hatcheries are a large part of the problem.

 Reply by: MOJO      Posted: May. 5, 6:50:33 AM     Points: 490    
"Anglers are asked to harvest smaller lake trout only heads from lake trout that are under 24 inches in length accepted in the tournament. Last year the 339 anglers who participated caught 4,055 of the target-sized lake trout"

Is this the "kill fest" we're talking about? Lakers under 24"?
 Reply by: rdailey      Posted: May. 5, 7:13:33 AM     Points: 1561    
I thought hatcheries had to be certified to operate in Colorado?
 Reply by: rdailey      Posted: May. 5, 8:02:59 AM     Points: 1561    
I also heard gill lice were introduced from out of state hatcheries, specifically Montana, at a time when CPW was short of fish and used them as a second source. That was around 2007 roughly.

It made sense at the time because our hatcheries were still being worked on to fix whirling disease. Getting new water sources set up.

Just what I was told by a certain marina operator.
 Reply by: D-Zilla      Posted: May. 5, 10:02:18 AM     Points: 2474    
I see it this way. Based on the information provided.

IF they wanted to just kill them, why bother tagging them at all? Just net and gut. Are they really tagged? Who knows. I'm guessing they're looking for a target number of heads, but in all honesty, how does one know if a 25 or 26" fish was harvested for that head?

I'll go on. Why only the heads? What if you miss the "tag"? Why not whole fish?

I see it as a way to thin the numbers of undersized fish, encourage selective harvest, and put food on someones table. (maybe, who knows how many "blood sport" types are out there just decapitating the lakers)

I don't agree with it, and I won't be participating. I know, more for those who do right? I don't kill fish, because I don't eat fish. When I do harvest a fish, it doesn't get wasted, but I do my best to NOT kill them, especially lake trout and pike. To heck with bounties and kill quota's.

I have never been a fan of catch and kill tournaments or giveaways. The prize is the fight, the photo and the release. (That's why in the 20+ years I've fished the Granby tournament I've weighed exactly 2 fish which were slated for the smoker anyway.)

I could go on and on about how much I hate this approach to fisheries management. You want to clear out some of the undersized fish? Slot limits. Increase the possession and catch limit on the under 24" fish. No need to advertise a "kill fest". People who eat them will take care of it.

It looks a lot better if you change the slot limits, than if you do it this way. This type of behavior is a stain on an already dirty reputation. How many of the 4 thousand fish are rotting on the bottom of the lake right now?
 Reply by: bernie      Posted: May. 5, 11:29:44 AM     Points: 473    
I thought hatcheries had to be certified to operate in Colorado?
State hatcheries are certified not private ones. Stae hatcheries will only dump infected trout in warm waters. The gill lice will not affect these fish.

Please read the article, it will explain how corrupt the system really is.
 Reply by: colotroy      Posted: May. 14, 10:09:54 AM     Points: 320    
This is depressing all across the board no matter how you look at it. Blue was my favorite destinations but with the gill lice taking out the koks and the Mack harvesting I just don't see how it's going to be interesting or enjoyable to go there anymore.

I have a 3 trips already scheduled but if the first is a flop I'll cancel and go elsewhere....

How depressing....
 Reply by: chodeman      Posted: May. 14, 12:37:37 PM     Points: 1929    
Jumping in late to this one. I just got back from a week in Idaho at Lake Pend Oreille. Up there they offer $15 per head of any Lake Trout or Walleye. They are trying to save their prized Kamloop Rainbow trout fishery. When speaking to the guide we used one day and numerous people at bait stores, they praise the efforts that the state is doing. Bottom line is too many predators in the lake make it tough on all. A little different than at BM. It is less than 2 hour away for me and I literally fish at least 20 times per year and as I see it, the biggest problems at BM are gill lice and way too many small Lake trout. I personally am in favor of thinning the herd of lakers, but am greatly concerned over the gill lice. It doesn't help that the lake is so low and over the years have seen the effects of low water. Either way I'll be there tomorrow because "I love me some Blue Mesa"!

BTW - It is extremely rare for Gill Lice to attach to trout. It can happen, but is mainly a Kokanee problem.
 Reply by: malty falcon      Posted: May. 14, 12:42:52 PM     Points: 7586    
The problem with PRIVATE HATCHERIES is that there is no law against transporting fish with Gill Lice. And the board of the hatcheries organization is composed of many of the owners of the private hatcheries. So of course, they will not outlaw transporting infected fish.

Private hatcheries do a lot of good for us anglers, but they have created a cozy little set-up to cut costs and corners so they can be very profitable, without any real accountability.

State and Federal hatcheries are strictly prohibited from transporting these pathogens, and must kill all the fish in the races if gill lice are discovered.

Should we allow Tyson and Perdue to transport and sell chickens with elevated levels of Salmonella? I hope not!!!!
 Reply by: rdailey      Posted: May. 14, 1:45:40 PM     Points: 1561    
For anybody who cares I am going to try and understand this better. Specifically the rules and health inspections for private hatcheries.

This is the aquaculture board and it does reference health inspections and qualified inspectors. Therefore there must be some rules to follow somewhere.

[log in for link]

Looks like I can be a hatchery if I pay $100.

[log in for link]

For all the trouble we go to managing the resources letting people run wild would be pretty stupid.

For many years I owned a property along the Sacramento Creek in Fairplay and had both brown and rainbow trout brought to the property. From there its down the hill to the Platte, Antero, etc. etc. The hatchery was in Boulder and looks to be gone now but seemed very reputable and many people in that area used it.

We'll see.
 Reply by: malty falcon      Posted: May. 14, 4:06:30 PM     Points: 7586    
I'm sure they looked good, and seemed reputable, but they had very few repercussions if they transported and released fish infected with Gill Lice. The Aquaculture Board, (or whatever they are called) lobbies to prevent the criminalization of Gill Lice and their transport.

For you and me, there are civil penalties for transporting bad things, like sewage, or radioactive debris. But if you are a private hatchery, GO FOR IT!

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