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Colorado Parks and Wildlife orders emergency fish salvage on Hunt Lake in Chaffee County

Posted at 2:23 PM, Aug 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-14 16:23:58-04

MONARCH — Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has ordered an emergency fish salvage operation at Hunt Lake and a stretch of the Middle Fork of the south Arkansas River near the Continental Divide.

CPW has ordered this operation to prepare the high alpine lake and this part of the river for the reintroduction of Hayden Creek cutthroat trout, a rare fish known only to the Arkansas River basin.

CPW Director Jeff Davis ordered this emergency fish salvage on Friday. The operation will include the removal of all of the fish currently in Hunt Lake and the river above Boss Lake Reservoir.

This order suspends the catch-and-release rules on Hunt, so anglers are able to catch and keep as many fish as they'd like between now and Sep 11, when the reclamation work is scheduled to begin.

Anglers must still use legal fishing methods and only fish during daylight. Up to four multiple rods are authorized while the salvage order is in effect.

This public salvage is being announced to optimize the use of the fishery resource in accordance with CPW Commission regulations.

Paul Foutz, a senior aquatic biologist in CPW's Southeast Region, states, "Everyone needs to be aware that the salvage operation does not extend into Boss Lake Reservoir. All existing catch and bag limits remain at Boss and CPW will continue to stock it with recreational cutthroat strains."

As we've previously reported, greenback trout were wiped out from their native waters in Colorado's South Platte drainage several decades ago.

A healthy population was transplanted to Bear Creek, which is the only stream outside of their native range.

This population is now considered a fundamental resource to aggressive recovery efforts to try and replicate the population.

Wildlife biologists collect and fertilize their eggs before taking them and the young they produce to fish hatcheries.

These hatcheries diversify their genetic makeup before releasing them into their original native habitats.
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