Ultimate Fishing Town quest smells rotten
To the Editor:
Grand lake, The ultimate fishing scam? Grand lake is a great town, but ultimate fishing town of the USA? Actually our lakes are full of problems. I own businesses in Grand county, including a concrete foundation company and a motel, so improving the economy is in my interest too — just not at the expense of our already struggling fisheries. I have been an avid angler in the Grand lake area for 30 years along with being a volunteer with (formerly DOW) Colorado Parks and Wildlife deeply involved in the kokanee salmon program, lake trout netting and tagging studies for population estimates. I have supported and donated to the Three Lakes tournaments for 20 years and am a member of the fishing committee. I have seen through the years the negative effects of over-fishing on our lakes. Grand lake has extremely poor water conditions for fish growth due to being a very deep cold-water lake infested with mysis shrimp that remove the basic nutrients needed for a healthy fishery. Because of the Parks and Wildlife’s failure to restock Lake Trout (the only species that benefits from the abundant mysis), which we have been requesting for years, along with the last few years of being over exploited by the local guide and outfitter there, the lake trout fishery is in such bad shape we had to consider removing Grand lake from the Three lakes tournament at the fishing committee meetings. Shadow Mountain has a severe weed problem and is infested with suckers that out-compete the rainbows and browns for their food supply, and just like Grand Lake, fish are small and skinny. Lake Granby’s kokanee are on a very low population cycle due to unfavorable conditions including the mysis (around 800 per meter) problems that deplete the plankton. Granby’s lake trout fishery has plummeted from what it was 15 years ago due to the removal of the slot limit by Parks and Wildlife, allowing anglers to keep four lake trout any size along with the ever-increasing pressure from ice fishing, tournaments, anglers learning how to catch them from guides, fishing seminars, Internet sites, and You-Tube videos. Williams Fork and Green Mountain both have gill lice problems that have decimated the kokanee and drought problems. All of our lakes have had shortages of Rainbow stocks due to budget cuts, and Granby is getting half as many as normal this year. Being only two hours away from a metro area with a population of close to 3 million people, our lakes are already over-fished. I love the Grand lake area and want the town to succeed, but the ever declining health of our fisheries is at stake and shouldn’t be subject to over exploitation by a short-sighted possible boost to the economy. Sorry Grand Lake, I’m voting for Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.