Earn $20 per northern pike caught at Kenney Reservoir and area waterways.
Colorado Park and Wildlife is asking for anglers' help this fishing season, and it's willing to pay them for it.
From June 1 through November 30, you can earn $20 for each northern pike caught and removed from Kenney Reservoir, the White River, and other waters, from approximately Stedman Mesa to the Utah border, a release from CPW says.
The agency first saw the invasive species in Kenney Reservoir in 2018. The issue with the pike is that it is a voracious consumer of most other species, causing damage to the native ecosystem with the possibility of quickly spreading to other waterways.
"Northern pike are aggressive predators with big appetites and if their population continues to grow in Green Mountain Reservoir, that will have profound impact on the fish we have stocked there, as well as potential impacts to the endangered native fish we are currently trying to recover," CPW's Jon Ewert, aquatic biologist from Hot Sulphur Springs.
The introduction of invasive species, like the northern pike, in Colorado's waterways is significant problems for management agencies, water providers, and ethical anglers across the state.
According to CPW, authorities believe the pike were most likely dumped illegally into the reservoir, or the White River, by what it refers to as a 'bucket biologist,' a pejorative term used to describe someone that moves live fish in an effort to create a personal, unapproved fishery.
"Releasing fish unlawfully and selfishly is self-defeating and will not work as intended," said Lori Martin, CPW’s Northwest Region senior aquatic biologist. "We will take action one way or another to deal with this illegal introduction because it is very harmful and the stakes are so high. This hurt existing fisheries and it certainly has negative impacts on anglers, the majority of whom are law-abiding and ethical."
CPW says illegal fish stocking can result in fines up to $5,000, as well as the permanent loss of hunting and fishing privileges. CPW will prosecute.
To participate in the angler harvest incentive, you must present your fishing license to qualify. There are no limits to the amount of northern pike you can catch. Anglers are encouraged to catch and keep as many of the fish as they desire, unless special regulations are in effect on specific waters.
"This is a win-win for the agency and anglers. They can catch a predatory fish and earn some money, it helps us protect our native fish, and we can manage the reservoir responsibly into the future," said Ewert.
If you are within the Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District's boundaries, bring your freshly caught northern pike to the District office at 2252 East Main Street in Rangely, 7 a.m.- 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 7 a.m.- 3 p.m. on Friday.
If you are at Green Mountain Reservoir, anglers can bring freshly caught northern pike to the Heeney Marina during business hours. Call 970-724-9441 for more information. To collect the incentive at Wolford Mountain Reservoir, take the freshly caught northern pike to the campground host, or call 970-724-1266.
For more information, contact CPW Northwest Region Senior Aquatic Biologist Lori Martin at 970-255-6186.