Parks and Wildlife adds tiger muskies to fish mix at Harvey Gap

Tiger muskies, the hybrid offspring of muskellunge and northern pike, quickly can grow to 20 pounds or more and are a popular game fish. Tiger muskies are used to control unwanted fish populations, and recently small tiger muskies were stocked in Harvey Gap Reservoir.

Tiger muskies, the hybrid sterile offspring of muskellunge and northern pike, again have been stocked in Harvey Gap Reservoir, and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife commission is set to enact an emergency regulation at Harvey Gap to protect those young predators.

The emergency regulation, which would prohibit anglers taking northern pike by spearfishing, archery or gigging (using a hand-held pronged spear), is among the items the commission will consider Thursday during its meeting in Grand Junction.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel, 743 Horizon Drive.

Aquatic biologists use tiger muskies to control unwanted populations of suckers, carp and other nonnative fish where traditional fishing methods aren’t sufficient.

Because tiger muskies are sterile, biologists can control their numbers and prevent the tiger muskies from overrunning a fishery.

Tiger muskies, muskellunge and northern pike share similar physical traits, meaning anglers have trouble differentiating among the fish even when hovering with a spear over a potential target.

Previous attempts at establishing a tiger muskie population in Harvey Gap have been unsuccessful. In some cases the small tiger muskies were eaten by larger versions of the very fish the tiger muskies were meant to control.

Other western states have used tiger muskies in similar fish-control settings.

In May 2012, Utah began stocking home-grown tiger muskies in several reservoirs in an effort to control sucker populations.

Utah biologists said the tiger muskies, which were stocked at less than one-inch long, would grow seven to 10 inches that first year and then 10 to 15 inches a year for the next few years.

Other commission agenda items include setting big-game license numbers for this fall and closing the chukar hunting season for two years northwest of Fort Collins while a new chukar population is established.

State of River meeting 

Most of the news emanating from the recent Aspinall Unit Operations meeting centered on the continued shortage of water across western Colorado.

Another tack of this all-too-familiar subject will take place May 13 at the annual State of the Rivers meeting hosted by the Water Center at Colorado Mesa University.

The meeting, cosponsored by the Colorado River District, is scheduled for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the CMU University Center.

This is a gathering of water managers and users discussing the current and projected water-supply situation, a shorthand version of the Aspinall meeting with presentations by Erik Knight, hydrologist for the Bureau of Reclamation Western Colorado Area Office in Grand Junction.

This is an opportunity for nonwater professionals to learn more about the local water situation and where it may be headed in the near future.

The agenda also lists a discussion on “water banking,” a term with different meanings across the West but generally referring to some process in which water is stored (banked) during times of abundance and sold for use during times of shortage.

In some cases, water banking can be used to compensate agricultural users who seasonally may be able to store unused water.

In most situations, water banking functions better at the regional or watershed level rather than at a statewide level because of the complexity of water rights regulating the transfer of water outside of the basin of origin.

The CMU meeting is free and open to the public.


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