Have a valid fishing license? You could get paid to fish for this invasive species that was illegally stocked at two reservoirs in Colorado. Here’s what you need to know.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is offering licensed anglers $20 for every northern pike reeled in at Green Mountain and Wolford Reservoirs. According to the official press release, the incentive program has been in place for several years as part of reducing the numbers of illegally introduced northern pike.
“The incentive program is a win-win,” Ewert said. “Anglers can make a few bucks while also helping protect several important fisheries – the reservoir fishery, the downstream fisheries, and the endangered fish reaches.”
Northern pike can reach lengths up to 4.5 feet and weigh more than 60 pounds, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These invaders also prey upon some of the state’s endangered native fishes – including the Colorado pikeminnow, humpback chub, razorback sucker, and bonytail.
“Pike are voracious predator fish,” explained Jon Ewert, CPW aquatic biologist for the area. “They can decimate the trout fishery and, if they escape through the outlet system, they can significantly impact the Gold Medal waters of the Blue and Colorado Rivers downstream.”
To collect the incentive, anglers can bring freshly caught northern pike to a designated marina. For pike caught at Green Mountain, the turn-in location is at Heeney Marina. For northern pike caught at Wolford Mountain, anglers should visit the Wolford Campground and Marina.
CPW is also encouraging licensed anglers on the West Slope to catch and keep as many smallmouth bass and northern pike as desired, unless special regulations note otherwise.
For more information, you may contact the Hot Sulphur Springs office at 970-725-6200, Heeney Marina at 970-724-9441, and Wolford Campground and Marina at 970-724-1266.