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Colorado biologists tackle Lake Granby kokanee salmon decline

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Kokanee salmon caught at Green Mountain Reservoir, Summit County, Colorado. bberwyn photo.

Public meetings on Lake Granby fishery set for early spring

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists say they’re considering changes to fishing regulations in Lake Granby to try and recover the population of kokanee salmon in the popular lake.

The number of salmon eggs collected by biologists in Lake Granby has dropped from 4 million in 2006 down to just 350,000 this year, not enough to maintain the existing population, let alone stock any other Colorado lakes with kokanee.

Kokanee are land-locked Pacific sockeye salmon found in several high-elevation reservoirs in Colorado. The fish feed primarily on zooplankton. But a booming population of mysis shrimp and predation by lake trout are probably the main factors in the Lake Granby kokanee decline. Continue reading

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Colorado: Seeking balance in Blue Mesa Reservoir

Biologists strive to balance fish populations in a reservoir critical for Kokanee salmon; record egg harvest will help sustain Kokanee spawning program

Kokanee Salmon. PHOTO COURTESY COLORADO PARKS AND WILDLIFE.

Taking eggs from a kokanee salmon at the Roaring Judy fish hatchery. PHOTO COURTESY GUNNISON COUNTY TIMES.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Colorado Parks and Wildlife collected 11 million eggs from kokanee salmon running out of Blue Mesa Reservoir this fall. The record harvest will ensure that Colorado Parks and Wildlife will have adequate supplies for stocking 26 reservoirs around the state with salmon fry next year.

But biologists say much more work needs to be done before they declare the population of kokanee salmon in the 9,000-acre reservoir recovered. Kokanee numbers have declined precipitously during the past 10 years as the population of predatory lake trout boomed, knocking the fishery out of balance. Continue reading

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