Want to make a few - or more than a few - bucks fishing in a beautiful state? Get paid to catch a certain predatory fish in a Colorado reservoir.
Northern pike are a highly sought after trophy fish to some, but to Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials they are a dangerous and potentially devastating predator that needs to be eradicated, at least from the Green Mountain Reservoir in Summit County.
To that end they are offering anglers a financial incentive for each northern pike they catch and turn in, in the hope of thwarting the migration of pike from the reservoir to the Blue River and eventually to the Colorado River, where the toothy predators could wreak havoc on native fish populations.
If the pike do eventually make it downriver to these trout-laden waters they would surely have a negative impact on the rivers' endangered native fish species: the Colorado pikeminnow, humpback chub, razorback sucker and bonytail.
They would also prey upon native trout, which would adversely affect what is considered to be a world class sport fishery.
"Northern pike are aggressive predators with big appetites and if their population continues to grow in Green Mountain Reservoir, that will likely have profound impacts to local fisheries in the future," said Jon Ewert, aquatic biologist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
"This is beneficial in several ways," said Ewert. "Anglers can catch a predatory fish and earn some money, it helps us protect fishing here, and helps with our native fish recovery efforts as well."
Anglers will receive $20 for each northern pike they turn in. To participate, fishermen and women will need to bring their pike to Heeney Marina in Silverthorne, along with their driver's and fishing licenses. The program begins on Thursday, May 25.
The marina will keep the pike heads and return the rest of the carcass to the angler if desired (pickled pike is a great delicacy). Anglers can also simply donate the entire fish to the marina.
Anglers are encouraged to keep every northern pike and smallmouth bass they catch, though there is no word on whether or not smallmouth bass carry a bounty as well.
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