Time to catch them all at Miramonte Reservoir
Parks and Wildlife will remove all fish this fall
With Miramonte Reservoir set for a complete fish removal this fall, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is giving anglers a rare opportunity.
In an effort to see as many of the sport fish as possible go to licensed anglers, starting Monday all bag and possession limits on smallmouth bass and trout will be removed, according to Parks and Wildlife.
“This emergency public salvage will allow licensed anglers a unique opportunity to catch and keep these fish prior to the treatment,” said Eric Gardunio, Colorado Parks and Wildlife aquatic biologist in Montrose, in a news release.
He said the emergency regulations will remain in effect until the actual treatment begins.
To legally take advantage of the temporary regulations, anglers must possess a 2013 Colorado fishing license and use only hook and line.
That means no explosives, toxicants, firearms, seines, nets, snagging or electricity is allowed.
“The trout fishing following ice-off around April 1 should be productive, and anglers should take home good numbers of the pink-fleshed Miramonte trout,” Gardunio said.
The fish removal has been planned for several years after it was determined the illegal introduction of smallmouth bass, and their eventual near-takeover of the fish biomass in the reservoir, might signal the demise of the popular trout and crayfish fisheries in Miramonte, the cornerstone of the Dan Noble State Wildlife Area.
A recent survey indicated smallmouth bass now make up 44 percent of the fish biomass in the reservoir.
“Treating the reservoir is something we wish we didn’t have to do, but we know we must,” said Renzo DelPiccolo, Parks and Wildlife area manager in Montrose. “People who illegally move fish into lakes, ponds and rivers are not only committing a criminal act, they are endangering native species, stealing a resource and recreational opportunity from thousands of anglers and negatively impacting the local community.”
Biologists will use the pesticide rotenone, which dissipates quickly, to remove all fish and crayfish.
Anglers are encouraged to visit the lake early since the draw-down will affect boat access later in the summer and into the fall.
Once the treatment begins, the reservoir will be closed until the poison dissipates.
The lake will be restocked as soon as possible after the treatment, Parks and Wildlife said.
The agency said a quick recovery of the trout and crayfish fisheries is expected.
Miramonte Reservoir and the Dan Noble State Wildlife Area are located about 10 miles south of Norwood in western Colorado.
In spite of its remote location, the 410-acre reservoir is popular as one of the most productive stillwater trout fisheries in the state. It’s estimated the fishery accounts for about 20,000 angler days every year, contributing $1.5 million to the economy of San Miguel County.
Parks and Wildlife officials said the illegal stocking of smallmouth bass in the reservoir also threatens the native fish in the San Miguel and Dolores river below the reservoir.
These native fish include the roundtail chub, bluehead sucker and the flannelmouth sucker.