First come, first served for walleye at Rifle Gap |

First come, first served for walleye at Rifle Gap

Go get your fishing license, because Saturday provides an unusual chance to bag some tasty game fish. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife has approximately 190 walleye fillets to give out to licensed anglers. First come, first served.

The 190 fillets are from the 95 walleye removed from Rifle Gap Reservoir by CPW biologists as required by the Rifle Gap Reservoir Lake Management Plan, according to a press release. The plan, agreed to by partners of the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program, requires CPW to remove fertile walleye, considered a threat to native fish, and replace them with sterile walleye.

“This is a win-win for everyone,” CPW area biologist Ben Felt said in the press release. “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.”

In order to save four endangered species of fish native to the Colorado River, non-native invasive species, such as walleye, will be caught and killed. The four species of native fish protected through the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program are humpback chub, bonytail, Colorado pikeminnow and razorback suckers.

“We want to provide as much opportunity for anglers to catch the fish that they want, but we are also obligated to partner with the Colorado Endangered Fish Recovery Program to reduce the numbers of walleye that are considered to be detrimental to native fish,” said CPW spokesman Mike Porras.

According to the press release, CPW stocked 38,050 sterile walleye fry in 2015 and 8,390 last year. CPW biologists will stock approximately 35,000 sterile walleye into the popular fishery this year.

For more information, contact Felt at 970-255-6126, or Rifle Gap State Park at 970-625-1607.

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