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Lake: Spinney Mountain Reservoir
Fish: Northern Pike

Pike in Spinney

Post By: thrasher      Posted: 8/21/2023 8:29:23 AM     Points: 64    
Hi guys, dumb question about Spinney: I had a great day up there yesterday for pike and released all but one. It got me wondering, though, what's the sentiment on pike in that reservoir? Are they trying to remove them to help the trout population, or are they cultivating a pike fishery there?
 Reply by: Barnacles      Posted: 8/21/2023 9:50:26 AM     Points: 4421
Well that is a tough question. Even within CPW, some see them like roaches and rats. Others see their value as a game fish. Depends on who you ask. I'm in the middle. I would never feel guilty about keeping one (tasty white flaky flesh). I also don't feel guilty about letting a big one go for someone else to catch. Taking some out is certainly beneficial to the fishery.
 Reply by: malty falcon      Posted: 8/21/2023 10:01:17 AM     Points: 9978

There are a couple of CPW signs around Spinney urging folks to harvest every pike they catch, PARTICULARLY those under 24". This is the "sportsman" way to deal with those toothy critters in this particular fishery.

If you want to be a good, quality Colorado Fisherman, this is the course of action. A 36" pike in Spinney has consumed over $900 worth of trout, and Spinney is managed as a Gold Medal trout fishery. It is definitely not managed for pike. They just get well-fed in there, like the mice in my cupboards!

It seems this year has been very good for pike at SMR. I've seen more big ones this year.

If you are a "pike above all else" fisherman, that's great. Have a blast, hook some whoppers, post some photos! But don't try to tell us that CPW is all fouled up because they don't cherish the toothy ones in Spinney.
 Reply by: RogBow      Posted: 8/21/2023 2:17:00 PM     Points: 2760
For those interested in eating a few smaller pike, you can pressure cook them to dissolve the bones. The larger ones are easy to fillet the bones out of.
 Reply by: thrasher      Posted: 8/21/2023 2:34:48 PM     Points: 64
Thanks for the info. Next time I'll keep them all, but the one I took out yesterday (27") was delicious.
 Reply by: spicyhombre      Posted: 8/21/2023 3:46:02 PM     Points: 6182
I have seen an increase in the smaller snot rockets in the last few years so I have been harvesting some of them. Personally I think they are much better table fare than the trout. I do love to target pike and can't get myself to keep the big ones (30+"). I don't typically keep many fish per year but have kept some trout out of spinney as they are high quality. I always inspect stomach contents have have found WAY MORE pike in the stomachs of trout than trout in the stomachs of pike.
 Reply by: Artsy      Posted: 8/22/2023 9:18:14 AM     Points: 332
Thrasher...You don't really have to KEEP THEM ALL...There are a lot folks who love to fish for Northerns. Keep some of the smaller ones, (less than 30 inches) but you are more than welcome to put the big girls back.

Every lake in the state has trout. There is only a small handful of lakes that has any real quality Pike. So putting the big one's back is definetly beneficial to the eco system of the Lake.

Tightlines and ENJOY!
 Reply by: skiman      Posted: 8/23/2023 4:16:24 PM     Points: 2825
How is returning large pike “beneficial” to a lakes ecosystem? Maybe I’m just naive, but I fail tounderstand the logic behind this statement.
 Reply by: Trailerman      Posted: 8/23/2023 4:48:01 PM     Points: 48
The age old pike versus trout argument rises again. From the size of all the fish I am seeing coming out of Spinney, neither population is in to much danger. Sounds like the pike prefer suckers and perch, while the trout prefer bugs and small pike. Sure the pike get a little fatter when the stocking truck pulls up. Survival of the best genetics is the result. Large fish of both species are being caught at the lake. I fail to see any management issues, other than fluctuation in water level keeping us all on our toes. If we want native fisheries we need to kill all the rainbows, browns, cut bows, pike, perch, and introduce suckers and cutt throats only which is unrealistic. New state record by length for pike came out of spinney this year at 46” and some change. I think that’s pretty cool. And plenty of you have caught some trout pushing 5+ pounds. Just go fishing and let the biologists figure it out. When they ask for your input give it to them. Then they will make their decisions on what’s best for the fishery and the basin as a whole.
 Reply by: RogBow      Posted: 8/23/2023 6:02:34 PM     Points: 2760
It's a gold medal trout lake, not a gold medal pike like.
 Reply by: Trailerman      Posted: 8/23/2023 6:36:47 PM     Points: 48
It’s a gold medal trout lake with Pike in it.
 Reply by: GaltsGulch      Posted: 8/29/2023 10:27:38 AM     Points: 136
CPW should seriously consider embracing Trophy Pike fishing at Spinney as a substantial $ opportunity. Protecting Big Pike (36"+) can actually help with controlling the overpopulation of snot rocket little pike. Big Pike eat a lot of little pike. (and Big Browns eat a lot of stocker trout, should we kill all the Brown Trout too?).
We are *never* going to rid Spinney of pike unless the entire reservoir is either killed with Rotenone or drained dry. Neither of those will happen. CPW's current mindset to indiscriminately kill all pike, whether Snot Rocket or Trophy, is off the mark compared to other fisheries that can maintain a better balance of gamefish diversity. Might we try to have CPW advise "Release Trophies, Kill all the Snot Rockets"?
 Reply by: Artsy      Posted: 8/29/2023 12:15:17 PM     Points: 332
Excellent post GaltsGulch.
I 100% agree with your proposal. And your post clarifies what I menat earlier in my post about maintaing a good eco system.

I've been fishing Spinney since 1996, and I would have to say that the Quality of trout has diminished since the bounty had started. I don't know the bounty has anything to do with the killing of pike, but I do know that the size of trout that I used to catch...on accident fishing for pike, has definately diminished.

I LOVE the idea of the slot restriction for pike over 36 inches
 Reply by: jibber      Posted: 8/30/2023 7:15:51 AM     Points: 19819
So there is a "bounty" on pike in Spinney? Please tell me more about that. I have heard of a bounty on pike at Green Mountain but am not familiar with a bounty on pike at Spinney.
 Reply by: malty falcon      Posted: 8/30/2023 10:07:17 AM     Points: 9978
In 1998, the average trout I caught in Spinney was 18-19". I haven't caught an 18" trout in Spinney in a couple of years, much less any smaller trouts. On my last good trip to Spinney, every trout was over 22"!

I don't think the average length of trout in there has gotten worse, Artsy.

Almost all reservoirs undergo highs and lows for quality fish. Spinney, with it's wildly fluctuating water levels, changes a lot every year.

And there is NO BOUNTY on pike in Spinney, that's just some goober with a scrambled brain disorder.
 Reply by: Artsy      Posted: 8/31/2023 2:57:29 PM     Points: 332
So the message "Please Harvest all Pike" is not a bounty??

My bad...
 Reply by: Trailerman      Posted: 8/31/2023 3:12:09 PM     Points: 48
I understand your confusion but at green mountain they were paying people 20 bucks per pike I wanna say which is a true bounty. This is just a encouragement to keep pike
 Reply by: beewee      Posted: 8/31/2023 3:55:54 PM     Points: 4
In the old days you would catch more cut throat than rainbows. Then you started seeing bite marks around 24 inch cuts. I think the pike decimated the cuts cause the rainbows were faster. If you want to get rid of the pike you might have to start over like lake john. I've caught some really nice pike at spinney so both are fun!
 Reply by: GaltsGulch      Posted: 9/11/2023 9:34:07 AM     Points: 136
there's no bounty to kill pike at Spinney. my previous post might have been misconstrued when I said CPW is missing a substantial $ opportunity with Trophy Pike. what I meant specifically by the $ opportunity would be the South Park impoundments (Spinney and ElevenMile) being a "destination fishery for Trophy Pike in the Lower 48". anglers spend $1,000s on guide services and lodging to go to Canada to get a shot at 40"+ pike on fly rods and/or conventional gear. we grow these sought-after trophy pike right here, and CPW says "kill 'em all regardless of size" with scientifically preposterous reasoning thinking that anglers can get rid of an entrenched population of naturally reproducing northern pike. the pike are there unless CPW kills the whole lake. why not make the best of it with CPW getting more $ from out-of-state license fees, more outfitters guiding for trophy pike, more lodging for towns around 11Mile and Spinney? all we have to do is release the big pike, y'all can kill-n-eat all the smaller ones.
 Reply by: setzdahook      Posted: 9/11/2023 10:17:15 PM     Points: 67
Yeah! The answer is MORE PEOPLE! Bring more people and guides to the lake and everything will be fine! As long as there is money to be made who cares if every trout you catch has bite marks! Best in the Lower 48 lets go bring the people cmon lets go!
 Reply by: i2fly      Posted: 9/12/2023 8:49:23 AM     Points: 2345
Bless you Setz my thoughts exactly.
 Reply by: Trailerman      Posted: 9/12/2023 9:01:31 AM     Points: 48
There are already plenty of guiding permits issued for these bodies of water and plenty of people catching trophy pike and trophy trout. I think they are doing a fine job the way it stands now. It’s the water that’s the biggest variable. Sometimes we have it. Sometimes we don’t.
 Reply by: kirbydog      Posted: 9/13/2023 10:17:09 AM     Points: 114
First, it is almost impossible to rid a lake of pike. The ones that are upstream will simply repopulate the lake.

Second. They introduced pike into 11Mile many years ago. Their thinking was the pike would help control the sucker population and that the pike would not reproduce due to rising and falling water levels.

Treat them as a trophy resource -they are here to stay anyway.

 Reply by: devon234      Posted: 9/16/2023 9:50:21 PM     Points: 312
I saw two pike that were 15 to 18 pounds today that caught and kept. I wish people would release the big ones and eat some of the smaller ones because it's hurting the fishery when big ones are kept because big pike eat little pike a lot and if you get rid of the big ones than the quality of the fishery declines.
 Reply by: nparker      Posted: 9/17/2023 9:40:06 AM     Points: 2329
I would go with the goals of the CPW biologists in keeping Spinney a trophy trout lake. If we disagree with the CPW goals then we should get involved with understanding the goals and showing our concerns to them if we disagree. But above all let's use scientific data when available.

They say:

General Information: Spinney Mountain Reservoir provides Gold Medal fishing for Cutthroat x Rainbow
hybrid trout “cutbow” and Rainbow Trout. Spinney’s primary management goal is to produce high quality
trout fishing. Anglers are highly encouraged to harvest all Northern Pike and Yellow Perch caught.

[log in for link]
 Reply by: GaltsGulch      Posted: 9/19/2023 8:28:29 AM     Points: 136
@setzdahook, you bring up a good point related to potentially attracting more people. there is finite surface acres to fish (especially Spinney vs. Eleven Mile), surges in boat ramp usage at peak times to get on/off the lakes, etc. A couple of thoughts to mitigate:

1. my original post was "South Park impoundments". Eleven Mile has wayyyyy more surface acres than Spinney, and arguably makes a better Trophy Pike lake to put a slot at 36" for immediate release.
2. consider the "Price Elasticity of Demand". CPW can increase prices for Spinney for out of state anglers, etc.
3. as of today, 90% of anglers on Spinney are doing glorified worm-and-bobber trout fishing anyway. they use high-falutin terminology like "static indicator choronomid fly fishing", but who's kiddin who? a choronomid is a worm, an indicator is a bobber, and guys on Spinney float around in dense packs of dudes watching their bobber for a trout to eat their worm. the only thing missing is scent. Pike anglers will not add to the dense packs of the worm and bobber guys already crowding each other on Spinney.
 Reply by: Artsy      Posted: 9/19/2023 10:42:27 AM     Points: 332
Plus Spinney grows them big and fast! Both pike and trout. A slot would be awesome for both 11 mile and spinney imo.
 Reply by: nparker      Posted: 9/21/2023 7:50:08 AM     Points: 2329
A Chirnonmid belongs to the Diptera family. It is in the same family as mosquitoes, craneflys, and house flies. Insects with 2 wings and not worms. Fly anglers can use many methods to catch trout imitating Chironomids. One method is to fish using the larval or pupal form, Trout can be caught using pupa imitations near the lake bottom or in the water column as they are migrating to the surface to hatch into an adult that looks a lot like a mosquito without a stinger. Trout can also be caught use dry flies imitating the adults before they fly off to mate. I sometimes use an indicator (bobber) to catch trout. It can be very exciting or boring depend on the action. Almost as boring as mindlessly trolling a lure from a boat. I personally get a lot of satisfaction understanding what trout eat and the many ways to catch them with a fly. As bonus I can learn about the life cycles of insects and the environments they live in and how they affect my fly fishing for trout.
 Reply by: Spikey      Posted: 9/22/2023 7:39:05 PM     Points: 460
I can't understand why anyone would want to expand and commercialize the pike fishing on these lakes?? I don't know anybody that wants to see more fishermen on these lakes other than Galtz. Maybe he hopes to open a destination lodge there. There's already plenty enough fishing pressure, we need less, not more!

Here's an idea, lets have a pike fishing season, where you can only fish for them during the month of July after they've spawned, and you'll have to apply for a special pike permit to do so, just like drawing for big game hunting tags. You'll only be able to keep pike between 30-32", all others will have to be released immediately. Sorry, being a little sarcastic here, but some of the above comments blow my mind. I got into boat and lake fishing to try to get away from some of the crowds as I got tired of combat stream fishing at Deckers, Dreamstream, etc...

As far as eating the big pike, they are pretty loaded with mercury and also take 10-20 years to get to large sizes, so why not let them go and eat the smaller ones which have a lower mercury concentration. Here's a link about mercury and various fish species in the state.

[log in for link]

click the half sheet flyer to see more detailed info per species
 Reply by: MGN      Posted: 9/23/2023 5:09:50 PM     Points: 583
Malty is correct. The smaller trout no longer survive till the next season. in recent years, almost every fish less than 20 inches had pike bite marks. Now days, there are no trout less than 22 inches. Mark my words, within 5 years, the only trout in SMR will be stockers for a few months each season until they too have been consumed.


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