‘A win-win’ in Colorado: State park removes walleyes, to give away fillets
RIFLE, Colo. — Colorado Parks and Wildlife will give away approximately 126 walleye fillets, free to licensed anglers on a first-come, first-served basis, May 13, at Rifle Gap State Park.
The frozen, vacuum sealed fillets are from 63 walleye removed from Rifle Gap Reservoir by CPW biologists as required by the Rifle Gap Reservoir Lake Management Plan. Approved in 2015 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and States of Utah and Wyoming – three of CPW’s partners in the Upper Colorado Endangered Fish Recovery Program – the plan directs CPW’s fish management goals for the reservoir.
To remain in compliance with plan stipulations, CPW must remove ripe, female walleyes for three years and replace them with sterile walleye. The first year of this effort occured in 2017. CPW will also donate fillets from 25 northern pike and eight smallmouth bass captured during the walleye project. All three species are considered a significant threat to native fish recovery efforts.
“This is a win-win for everyone,” said Ben Felt, CPW’s area biologist. “We remain dedicated to our efforts to protect native fish, comply with the requirements of the Lake Management Plan, maintain Rifle Gap Reservoir as a great walleye fishery and provide the angling public with an opportunity to sample great-tasting fish.”
Felt said CPW stocked 38,050 sterile walleye fry in 2015, 8,390 in 2016, and 26,579 in 2017. CPW biologists plan to stock approximately 36,000 sterile walleye into the popular fishery this year.
— Colorado Parks and Wildlife