SILVERTHORNE, Colo. (CBS4) – In all of 2016, two northern pike were plucked out of the waters of Green Mountain Reservoir by anglers. The illegally introduced predator fish is targeting native Colorado fish species, and environmental experts say it could lead to major environmental dangers if not controlled.
Over the Memorial Day weekend, at least 12 of the fish were reeled in at the reservoir. The drastic uptick in catches is no doubt due to the fact that Colorado Parks and Wildlife has just started offering a cash incentive of $20 for each northern pike that’s caught there.
“Wanted to get away from the city, too. We like to get out and spend time together,” said one fisherman CBS4 interviewed who caught a northern pike at the reservoir on Monday.
Fish biologists with Colorado Parks and Wildlife told CBS4 last week they are concerned the predatory fish could make their way down the Blue River and eventually to the Colorado River. That could greatly impact fish species downstream as well as world-class fishing access.
As a result of the news about the $20 bounty being broadcast by CBS4 and other news organizations, the Heeney Marina at the reservoir was packed over over the weekend.
“They were lined up. A lot of people were looking for a spot to to park and it’s been kind of crazy,” said Jordan Miller, the owner.
Green Mountain Reservoir is in a remote part of Summit County north of Silverthorne, and it’s not usually swarming with people wanting to fish.
“It was a little surprising. A lot of traffic for Memorial Day up here,” Miller said of the hundreds who came with hopes of catching one of the pike.
Some people who are caught up in the fishing frenzy have been calling the reservoir asking to reserve boats a month in advance.
“Lots of fishermen. Quite a few boats out there trying to catch pike,” Miller said.
To get the $20, the fish heads need to be turned in at the marina. The heads will help researchers keep track of the pike numbers and determine how big the fish are getting.
“It’s a good sign and hopefully they’ll just keep going and we’ll get a lot more pike out of here so we get the native fish population back,” Miller said.
For more information on the cash incentive, contact Heeney Marina at (970) 724-9441 or visit heeneymarina.com.