Non-native fish in Yampa will be euthanized
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Wildlife officials plan to euthanize non-native smallmouth bass removed from the Yampa River instead of transferring them to a reservoir.
The Steamboat Pilot & Today newspaper reports the effort is part of the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says smallmouth bass compete for habitat with native fish and eat juvenile Colorado pike minnows, a native species.
Wildlife managers have relocated about 6,000 bass from the Yampa, but officials say too many escape over the spillway at Elkhead Reservoir over the spillway and get back into the river.
Tom Chart, director of the recovery program, says officials don’t like to kill the smallmouth bass because they’re popular among anglers. But he says efforts to keep the fish out of the Yampa haven’t succeeded.