GRANBY — Colorado Parks and Wildlife held two “State of the Fish” meetings recently, in Granby on March 13, and in Silverthorne on March 18. The purpose of these annual meetings is to gain input and comments on fishery management options in certain local waters.
The meeting was led by Jon Ewert, Colorado Parks and Wildlife fisheries biologist for Grand and Summit counties, along with other Parks and Wildlife staff. Ewert encouraged the public to ask questions and offer suggestions about the management of these fisheries, hopefully leading to better interaction between the agency and local sportsmen.
Local anglers took advantage of the forum to voice concerns about the waters of Granby Reservoir being shorted on rainbow trout stocking in the past two years. They suggested that insufficient stocking before Memorial Day in 2013 had caused shore fisheries there to suffer.
“The problem has been getting enough rainbows to stock,” explained Ewert. “We’ve had a rough couple of years at the Rifle Hatchery — a perfect storm of complications there, including water line issues, a wildfire and a fish disease outbreak, as well as budget cuts that have impacted production levels.”
The shortage of hatchery fish led to lighter stocking in 2012 and 2013 by Colorado Parks and Wildlife — only 30,000 catchable rainbows were stocked during each of those years, which is somewhat lower than the historic average. However, production levels have returned to normal this year, and barring additional complications, 55,000 rainbows have been slated for Lake Granby this summer.
Unlike most reservoirs this size in Colorado, Granby Reservoir was built in the 1940s without its own hatchery.
On the 8th and 15th of this month, Lake Granby was stocked with three truckloads of rainbows – in all, 7,000 of its allotted 55,000 catchables and 150,000 of the 300,000 fingerlings (3- to 5-inch fish) that are also slated for Lake Granby this spring and summer.
But it wasn’t easy, according to Steve Penley, one of the local anglers who helped Parks and Wildlife with the fish-stocking process. The snow and ice on the boat ramp at Sunset Point had to be plowed, and an ice-fishing auger was used to bore a hole in the ice for a plastic tube to fit through.
Mark Murphy, one of the volunteers who helped with the stocking, explained that with the lake depth really low right now, some ingenuity was required to get the fisheries truck close enough to the ice.
“One of the greatest assets we’ve got here at Granby (Reservoir) is an enthusiastic and willing pool of volunteers to lend a hand with efforts like this,” Ewert stated. “Without their help, many aspects of our job would be a lot more difficult.”
The hatchery truck’s hose had to be lengthened to 200 feet by adding another hose so it could reach the lake. The fish were then lowered into the lake by gravity to swim away until summer, when sportsmen, osprey and pelicans will vie for them.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife manages 42 state parks, all of Colorado’s wildlife, more than 300 state wildlife areas and recreational programs. This year’s fishing licenses are currently on sale, and are valid April 1, 2014 through March 31, 2015. They can be purchased at any CPW office, local fishing stores, by phone or online at wildlife.state.co.us.