Montrose, Colo. -- Colorado Division of Wildlife biologists are preparing to initiate a project to restore the popular fishery on the Grand Mesa. Work at the Trickle Park Reservoir, located northeast of Cedaredge on Forest Service Road 125, will take place Oct. 12-15.
In preparation, the Park Reservoir Company has recently drawn down water in the reservoir to allow for repairs to be made to the outlet structure.
During the last few years the population of non-native white suckers has grown significantly and has crowded out the trout. The most recent survey found that white suckers comprised 80 percent of the biomass in the reservoir.
"Trickle Park is a very productive reservoir and trout do very well in this water," said Dan Kowalski, aquatic biologist for the Montrose area. "This reclamation project provides us the opportunity to eliminate the suckers and restore the sport fishery. Once it's completed, anglers will notice an increase in trout numbers as well as in the quality of the fish they catch."
Trickle Park covers about 125 acres when full but has been drawn down to a dead pool of just seven surface acres to facilitate the work. However, the pool still contains many suckers. The suckers and other remaining fish will be removed through an application of Rotenone, a toxicant derived from a South American plant that degrades quickly and poses no danger to other wildlife or humans. Rotenone has been used as a fisheries management tool throughout Colorado and United States for decades.
Application will be carefully controlled and the water will be monitored afterward. No treated water will be released from the project area before detoxification of the water is confirmed.
Before the project starts, the Division of Wildlife is encouraging anglers to harvest trout from the pool that has formed in West Surface Creek just below the dam. Anglers must have a Colorado fishing license and standard regulations for take and possession apply.
After the Rotenone application, dead fish will be left to decompose in the water to allow recycling of important nutrients as the reservoir fills. The public is prohibited from harvesting fish killed by the project, and people are asked to stay away from the reservoir while the project is underway.
Next June, the DOW will begin stocking catchable and fingerling trout.
"With the catchables we'll provide immediate opportunity for anglers," Kowalski said. "But because this reservoir is so productive, after the first year we will manage it solely with fingerling stocking. The fingerlings will grow to catchable size quickly and will provide a quality fishery that will be very much like some of the good wild trout fisheries on the Grand Mesa. This is a much less expensive method to manage a fishery than by stocking with 10-inch catchable-sized trout."
Fish stocked will include rainbows and Snake River cutthroats. Wild brown trout, other species of cutthroat and brook trout are also expected to be present in the reservoir after reclamation.
"This is a very popular recreational fishery," Kowalski said. "The Park Reservoir Company and the Colorado Division of Water Resources want to see it restored and they've been excellent partners in the project."
For more information, call Kowalski at (970)252-6017.
For more information about Division of Wildlife go to: http://wildlife.state.co.us.