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CPW seeks public input on elk manage-
ment planning in southwest Colorado
DURANGO: Colorado Parks and Wildlife is
seeking input on elk management planning in
southwest Colorado and has scheduled four
public meetings in Dolores, Norwood, Pagosa
Springs and Durango.
¡°Elk management plans are revised approxi-
mately every 10 years,¡± said Matt Thorpe, area
wildlife manager in Durango.
¡°Public input provides guidance to wildlife
managers,¡± he continued, ¡°who attempt to bal-
ance the biological capabilities of the herd and
its habitat with the public¡¯s demand for wildlife
recreation opportunities.¡±
¡°These Herd Management Plans drive impor-
tant decisions, which include the license-setting
process as well as strategies and techniques to
reach herd population objectives.¡±
Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff members will
talk about current status of elk herds, history
of the herds and the herd management plan-
ning process.
CPW wants to hear from local hunters and oth-
ers interested in wildlife about how they¡¯d like
to see elk managed.
Here is the meeting schedule:
Feb 4, 6:30-8p, in Dolores, Dolores Commu-
nity Center. The presentation will include Game
Management Units 70, 71, 711, 72 and 73.
Feb 6, 6:30-8p, in Pagosa Springs at the
Archuleta County Extension office. The presen-
tation will include Game Management Units 75,
751, 77, 78 and 771.
Feb 11, 6:30-8p, in Norwood at the Lone
Cone library. The presentation will include
Game Management Units 70, 71, 72, 73 and
Feb 13, 6:30-8p, in Durango, La Plata
County Fairgrounds extension building. The
presentation will include Game Management
Units 74 and 741.
At the meetings, wildlife managers will also
discuss the new regulation that limits archery
elk hunting licenses in this area of southwest
CPW is also asking those interested in elk
management in southwest Colorado to take an
online survey that will be available Feb 4 on
CPW¡¯s web site at:
For more information about the meetings call
the Durango CPW office at: 970.247.0855.
(source: CPW)
Nature & Wildlife
2020 February/March
Pg 10 - The Sunshine Express
Blue Mesa Reservoir Lake Trout Tournament
runs Feb 1 through July 31
GUNNISON: A six-month-long fishing tourna-
ment with $10,000 in prize money sponsored by
Colorado Parks and Wildlife starts February 1 at
Blue Mesa Reservoir near Gunnison in western
The tournament, which continues through July
31, is aimed at maintaining adequate kokanee
fry survival by limiting predation from lake
trout. Anglers are asked to target smaller-sized
lake trout, those that are 24 inches in length or
¡°By sponsoring this tournament, Colorado Parks
and Wildlife is asking anglers to be our partners
in helping to manage the renowned Blue Mesa
Reservoir fishery,¡± said Dan Brauch, aquatic
biologist for CPW in Gunnison. ¡°We know we can
have an excellent kokanee fishery and a trophy
lake trout fishery, but we need to continue our
work for both species and we need the help of
Colorado¡¯s anglers.¡±
Here¡¯s how the tournament works: Anglers who
catch lake trout 24 inches or smaller will remove
the heads and place them in a plastic bag provid-
ed at one of three boat ramps at the reservoir:
Iola, Elk Creek and Lake Fork. Heads can also be
turned in at CPW¡¯s offices in Gunnison (300 W.
New York Ave.) or Montrose (2300 S. Townsend
Ave., U.S. Highway 550). There is no fee to par-
ticipate in the tournament.
Cash prizes will be awarded in three categories
$10,000 In Cash Prizes
4 Public Elk Meetings
at the conclusion of the tournament:
1) CPW has tagged 23 fish in the reservoir but
anglers won¡¯t know if they¡¯ve caught one. CPW
will scan the heads later to check for tags and
those who caught them will receive $250/tag.
2) Anglers catching the most fish: 1st place,
$1,000; 2nd place, $500; 3rd place, $250.
3) Anglers will be entered in a raffle for every
lake trout head turned in. A total of 20 winners
will be selected and each winner receives $200.
Kokanee provide the greatest draw for overall
catch and harvest while lake trout provide the
greatest draw for their trophy potential. Lake
trout require plentiful kokanee as prey to achieve
trophy size.
Some lake trout that weigh over 50 pounds and
44 inches in length have been caught at Blue
Mesa Reservoir.
A change in water management in the early
1990s at BMR resulted in improved conditions
at lake trout spawning areas in the fall and now
they reproduce naturally. As the number of lake
trout grew, they feasted on kokanee which re-
sulted in a significant population decline. Recent-
ly, through angler harvest and CPW¡¯s lake trout
suppression work, the number of predatory lake
trout has been reduced and kokanee abundance
has improved.
CPW research shows that smaller lake trout, 24
inches and smaller, consume the most kokanee.
Consequently, the lake trout harvest tournament
is focused on removing fish of those sizes.
¡°Anglers harvest about 6,000 lake trout each
year,¡± Brauch said. ¡°But we need increased
harvest of small lake trout to keep population
growth in check and to reduce the need for ad-
ditional lake trout suppression work by CPW.¡±
Maintaining abundant kokanee will support qual-
ity fishing opportunities for kokanee and a source
of kokanee eggs for restocking needs at up to 25
waters in Colorado while allowing for continued
growth of trophy lake trout.
There is no limit on the number of lake trout
under 32 inches that can be caught in a day at
BMR, but only one fish more than 32 inches may
be kept.
¡°By utilizing anglers¡¯ skills and expertise we¡¯re
confident that we can maintain balance of the
BMR fishery,¡± Brauch said.
For more information about fishing at Blue Mesa
Reservoir, including how to catch lake trout, re-
search studies and management planning go to:
You may also call the Gunnison wildlife office at:
CPW is an enterprise agency, relying primarily on
license sales, state parks fees and registration
fees to support its operations, including: 41 state
parks and more than 350 wildlife areas covering
approximately 900,000 acres, management of
fishing and hunting, wildlife watching, camping,
motorized and non-motorized trails, boating and
outdoor education.
CPW¡¯s work contributes approximately $6 billion
in total economic impact annually throughout
Colorado. Our mailing address is: Colorado Parks
and Wildlife, 1313 N Sherman St, Denver, CO