Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bass found in Yampa River to be euthanized

Officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Denver announced last week that they will begin euthanizing nonnative smallmouth bass that they remove from the Yampa River in spring rather than transferring them to Elkhead Reservoir east of Craig.


Too many of the relocated bass are escaping over the dam spillway, they say, and returning to the Yampa, where they threaten endangered native fish including the Colorado pikeminnow, razorback sucker, humpback chub and bonytail.

The Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program has removed and relocated an estimated 6,000 bass as well as large numbers of northern pike from stretches of the Yampa downstream from Hayden since increasing those efforts in 2003, recovery program Nonnative Fish Coordinator Pat Martinez said in a news release.

Matt’s Rant: I am not a big fan of the trout only management for the Yampa River and most of the western slope. Due to the fact that so much of that water is beyond my travel range, my dog in this fight is limited as well as my voice. If a “trout and chub only” scene is what the general public of that area wants…I guess that is what they are going to get. I feel genuinely sorry for those on that side of the divide that have fought this battle and lost. This program mentions nothing about nonnative trout such as the rainbow, brown or brook.

Even though my thoughts are completely biased towards multispecies where habitat is prime for their existence…I greatly encourage this debate on my fishing blogilicious. What are your thoughts?


Stephanie and Dustin said...

My thoughts are for native species management. Non natives, including non native trout, should be removed from streams where they do not naturally occur. However, the public wants their rainbow, brown and brook (although that popularity is waning) trout, so I don't think the native fish battle will ever be won. I do know, I don't want to see more fish wiped from existence because of introduced species. If smallmouth (which I absolutely LOVE to catch) are the biggest threat to those native species, they need to go, unfortunately. Just my two unpopular cents.


John said...

I'd find it difficult to be satisfied with only a few species to target. In my area invasive and introduced species have been a boon to sportfishing at the cost of marginalizing or extirpating less desirable species. I'd love to be able to catch snakehead locally, but not at the cost of losing the fish I grew up catching. Your dilemma is one not easily answered, good luck

William Ragulsky said...

This is a loose, loose situation. The native endangered fishes were thriving prior to the development of dams and diversions on the river. The only way to get these species back to sustainable levels is to restore the rivers. That wont happen, so in reality they are saying the rivers are there to serve us part of the time (Water) but that the other part (fishing) they dont really care about. Its a sad state.

Anonymous said...

Hey, perhaps a good shot of rusty crawfish in there will have them re-thinking that position.

I really, really doubt that smallmouth are a threat to those natives. Smallies eat more craws and bugs than anything. Even the pike key on trout... it has been proven.

If they ever got serious about protecting those natives, they could just rip out all the dams.

But since people will inexplicably not quit drinking water, and seem to really like living where there is none, those natives are doomed. Competition is not the issue that got us to this place, it is habitat loss.


Jay said...

Glad to share my thoughts... even though I don't live in CO and may never fish the river in question. I'm a huge fan of Smallmouth Bass, but I'm also a fan of biodiversity. If the bass has negative ecological effects iwhere it has been introduced, then remove them from where they shouldn't be. However, if the state chooses to disregard other non-native predatory species like Rainbow Trout then there is almost certainly political motivation to do so. It's sad to think, but it wouldn't surprise me if TU was campaigning to keep the trout. Unfortunately, the Smallmouth Alliance isn't all that powerful in conservation circles. I really think the state fisheries biologists know how to do the right things for rare native (endemic) species, as well as how to manage quality fisheries. I think all to often they're caught in a political firestorm that complicates matters.
Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

I guess I agree with pulling the bass to protect the endangered chubs/minnows. Smallmouth will do a good number on them, I sincerely doubt they'll decimate them, but whatever. It is hard to believe that they would be eliminated in favor of trout habitat.