Northern pike caught in Kenney Reservoir

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The largest of 28 northern pike caught in Kenney Reservoir was 35 inches and weighed approximately 16 pounds. This invasive species is known for its sharp teeth and aggressive behavior. CPW has asked the Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District for assistance in getting the pike population under control. During the annual Fishing Derby June 1-2, CPW will provide prizes for all anglers who hook a Northern pike.

RANGELY | Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) netted some invasive visitors to the fish population at Kenney Reservoir in April. Lori Martin and Harry Crockett reported to the Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District (RBWCD) board that four age classes of Northern pike were gill netted in Kenney Reservoir. In total they have gill netted or electroshocked 28 Northern pike including a 35 inch, approximately 16 pound fish. They have been electroshocking on and off ever since because of the negative impact that Northern pike have on the Colorado endangered species fish. Kenney Reservoir may be the largest crappie fishery in the state, according to CPW.

While gill netting and electroshocking they also saw large catfish up to 15 pounds and several large carp. 

CPW has asked for RBWCD to help get the Northern pike population under control. They would like to provide a prize for catching a pike during the RBWCD Fishing Derby on June 1-2. CPW will attempt to get a mobile fish aquarium with the native and endangered species in it to set up during the fishing derby for public education purposes. 

Roxie Fromang from the 4-H Gone Fishing Club said the fishing club had its season’s first fishing trip to Kenney Reservoir on April 12 and were fortunate enough to meet up with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) staff who were gill netting the reservoir. The young 4-H members were delighted when CPW caught a Northern pike and one of the members got to take it home for dinner that night.

Crockett is a board member on the Colorado River Recovery Program, and they had a great conversation about the proposed Wolf Creek project.

The RBWCD meeting was called to order on Wednesday, April 24 at 6 p.m. by Wade Cox. Board members Cox, Tim Winkler, Vince Wilczek, Peggy Rector and director Alden Vanden Brink were present. 

Vanden Brink reported that the RBWCD received one of the tax receipt checks they have been waiting on. Wilczek moved to accept and pay the bills and Winkler seconded it.

Vanden Brink says the state is looking at a proposed bill that would benefit water projects in the state. Democratic House Majority Leader Alec Garnett introduced the bill on April 18 with Republican Minority Leader Patrick Neville. The bill would place a betting question on the ballot. If voters approve, a relatively constrained Colorado sports betting market could be operating by 2020. A portion of the tax monies collected will be earmarked for water projects. Brent Newman and Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) have work groups that will need involvement by someone from RBWCD and Vanden Brink has expressed his interest.  

On Tuesday, May 28 at 12-1:30 p.m. the State of the White River meeting will take place at the Weiss Center, most likely in the Colorado Room downstairs. Rector recommended checking the availability of the Rector Building for the meeting because the acoustics are better. A meal will be provided.  

Vanden Brink reported an ongoing problem at the hydroelectric plant. There is a problem with a turbine and they can’t draw water in.  The dam is spilling water currently. Vanden Brink said RBWCD staff, Carlson and Casto, have been working to fix it and may have isolated it to a hydraulic problem. 

Club 20 has its Washington, D.C., trip coming up in May. Vanden Brink said it was recommended for RBWCD attend as well. Winkler thinks that it is premature while Rector and Cox say they should not wait and it is always good to have a face in Washington. Wilczek asked for a trip budget to send Vanden Brink and Brad McCloud, White River Storage Project Manager to Washington, D.C., to meet with legislators. 

Winkler attended the Basin Round Table meeting. 

Wilczek and Cox attended a special district meeting discussion. Wilczek spoke about the overall economic turmoil in this area and the special districts considering a fleet maintenance program or shared IT expenses with all of the special districts.

During old business the board said they have a bank CD they will be transferring money into, but need updated signature cards for the board at the bank. Winkler moved to have all RBWCD bank CDs have signature cards for all board members and Rector seconded.

It was reported that the Flat Tops water rights transfer is completed and RBWCD are the owners. RBWCD have submitted their diligence and it has been submitted to the water court. Vanden Brink estimates it will take 60 days to go through. There will be an open public grievance about the impact of the Flat Tops Water Rights transfer.   

Wilczek moved to transfer funds in the amount of $42,535.22 from the hydroelectric plant to the general fund and Rector seconded it, the motion was approved unanimously.

The next Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District meeting is scheduled for Wednesday,  May 29 at 6 p.m.

By Roxie Fromang | Special to the Herald Times