Yampa River fishing contest targets non-native pike
Catch toothy fish, win prizes!
Anglers have an opportunity this month to win prizes while fishing for non-native northern pike in the stretch of the Yampa River below Lake Catamount downstream to the pump station along U.S. Highway 40 just east of Hayden.
The contest is supported by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Yampa Valley Fly Fishers and is aimed at removing the pike, which compete with and prey on trout and native fish in the river, and also helping CPW staff learn more about the toothy pikes’ movements in this stretch of water.
Straightline Outdoor Sports at 744 Lincoln Ave. in Steamboat Springs is managing the contest by receiving and documenting each catch.
There will be prizes for the adult and youth anglers who catch the biggest and smallest pike, as well as the most pike.
Straightline’s Bruce Lee said anglers will be registered at his shop when they bring in their first fish, and it’s critical to the purpose of the contest that fishermen do not clean their fish before bringing them into Straightline so that the staff can accurately weigh the fish.
“If a guy brings a pike in today, I get his name and info and then he can bring a pike in every day,” Lee said. “We get the info on weight and length and where it was caught. Some fish are tagged, and those are the key ones.”
Biologists “will know where it was tagged and how it moved, for example from Hayden to Steamboat,” Lee added.
After weigh-in, the person who caught the fish is expected to take it home, clean it and eat it. Alternatively, Lee said, people can freeze the fish and return it to the shop Sept. 2, so that Straightline can donate the fish to another household.
Other rules include:
• Fish must be caught between Lake Catamount and the pump house on the river right along U.S. 40 east of Hayden
• The contest runs through Aug. 31
• Participants must have a valid fishing license and must follow all rules and regulations.
• Anglers must be fishing public waters unless they can show written permission from private landowners,
• Anglers found trespassing will be banned from the contest
Lee said during the month of August flashy streamers and lures are enticing to pike. And watch out for all of those sharp teeth.
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