DOW Fishing Report: April 24, 2008

RBC — For winter-weary
fishermen across much of
Colorado, the waiting goes on.
While the ice is gone from many
lakes and reservoirs, and many
others are showing signs of the
spring thaw, ice-out onmany key
waters still is days or weeks
away.
Early in the week, ice fishing
still was possible on the North
Park reservoirs, the lakes around
Granby, the major South Park
impoundments and the lakes
around Leadville, though some
slivers of open water were
appearing around the edges of
some. Blue Mesa Reservoir still
had some ice, but ice fishing was
not recommended. Rampart
Reservoir along the Front Range
had thick ice, and popular higher-
elevation waters such as
Sylvan Lake and O’Haver,
Barker and Georgetown reservoirs
had at least some remaining
ice cover.
High-mountain lakes in the
Flattops Wilderness and other
regions still had lots of ice, and
access roads and trails still were
blocked by snow.
Even so, winter inevitably is
loosening its grip. Evergreen
Lake and many other Front
Range lakes are newly ice-free,
and some already have been
stocked with trout.
On the lowlands, though the
ice is long-gone from warmwater
lakes, water temperatures
remain in the mid to upper 40s,
still too cold for truly good fishing
for walleyes, bass, catfish,
crappie and wipers. Some have
been showing some signs of life,
however. Pueblo Reservoir’s
water temperature is in the mid-
50s, and crappie and smallmouth
bass are becoming active. On
others, such as the reservoirs
near Fort Collins, recently
stocked trout remain the primary
attraction, though with warming
weather the warm-water fishing
could take off in another week or
two.Stream fishermen, meanwhile,
are seeing signs of the
spring runoff on most free-flowing
rivers. Even so, upper reaches
of the White, Eagle and
Roaring Fork, among others,
remain fishably clear. While the
sections of river below a dam
generally remain fishable,
flows have been increased on
many, including the Blue
below Dillon Dam and the
Arkansas below Pueblo.
With conditions changing
almost daily, calling ahead
before making a trip becomes
especially important.
Zebra mussel alert
Boating fishermen can
expect an inspection of their
equipment at several popular
reservoirs this summer.
The Colorado State Parks
Board recently approved a
statewide mandatory boat
inspection program to protect
the state’s waters from aquatic
invasive species (AIS)
including zebra mussels,
which were discovered in
Pueblo Reservoir.
Zebra mussels are a nonnative
invasivemollusk that is
harmful to the environment
and parks officials are taking
steps necessary to try to contain
their spread.
All boats including motors,
trailers and related equipment
will be subject to inspection for
any non-native plant material
and aquatic wildlife identified as
AIS prior to launch or departure
from state-park waters.
Boatsmay be denied access or
placed under quarantine if
inspection is refused or if AIS
are found on or within a boat
or boating equipment.
Inspections will begin at
Pueblo and expand this
spring to four other state
parks that have been identified
as high risk for transport
of AIS: Navajo, Cherry Creek,
Chatfield and John Martin.
Inspections are necessary
because AIS are transported
over land to other bodies of
water by hitchhiking on recreational
vehicles including
boats, jet skis and boat trailers.
Unchecked, these organisms
will quickly spread and
out-compete native species.
Aquatic nuisance species
have no effective predators
and have detrimental impacts
on the environment, recreation,
water quality andwater
transport. Several other
aquatic nuisance species have
reached Colorado, including
New Zealand mud snails and
water weeds.
All boaters are encouraged to
follow these practices to help
prevent the spread of AIS:
 Before leaving any body of
water, boaters should:
 Drain the water from the
boat, live well and lower units of
the engine.
 Clean the hull of the boat
 Dry the boat, fishing gear
and equipment
 Inspect all exposed surfaces

Remove all plant and animal
material
Hatchery trucks are rolling
Among the earliest signs of
spring in Colorado is a Division
of Wildlife fish-stocking truck
pulling up to a nearby lake or
stream.
Catchable-sized trout from
the state hatchery system provide
season-opening opportunities
for many anglers, especially
near urban areas, and the DOW
began stocking low-elevation
waters along the Front Range,
the eastern plains and the
Western Slope around Grand
Junction in March. Stocking of
lowland lakes will continue
through the spring and early
summer, when their water temperatures
become too warm for
trout.
As the season progresses and
higher-elevation waters open up,
manywill receive fish. The stocking
of catchable trout will continue
through the summer and into
fall,withmore than 3.8million to
be released into designated
waters this year.
In addition to catchable trout,
the DOW will plant approximately
14.8 million subcatchables,
ranging from recently
hatched fry to fingerling-sized
fish, destined for suitable “putto-
grow” waters.
Subcatchables also comprise
almost all the DOW’s warmwater
stocking effort, and 58.4
million small fish will be planted
this year to grow to size. The
only catchables among warmwater
species will be 160,000 8-
inch channel catfish.