Routt County New fishing regulations the Colorado Wildlife Commission recently adopted say anglers can keep up to eight trout and as many pike as they want from most Colorado lakes and streams.
The new regulation start in 2001 and will last for five years. After that time, the commission will review the rules and present new ones.
The new trout bag limits say anglers can catch four trout and have eight in possession. The possession rule is meant for people fishing multiple days, Colorado Division of Wildlife biologist Dave Langlois said.
"That's a lot of fish that you can keep," he said.
The old bag limits checked anglers at two trout from streams and four from lakes, except for specially protected areas.
"I think that move was a mistake," Yampa Valley Fly Fishers President Jim Curd said. "That's just too many fish."
He said a family of four taking out their two-day limit means 32 fish taken out of a fishery, which is too much.
Yampa Valley Fly Fishers Vice President Duncan Draper said he recognized the willingness of some people to keep a lot of fish. However, there could be a better way to manage the lakes and streams, he said.
"We need to ask what method the people want to fish," Draper said.
In Montana, for example, anglers are asked when they buy their licenses what type of fishing they do. Licenses then are given accordingly, giving wildlife officials a better idea of what is being taken out of the stream, Draper said.
Though the state rules will change next year, Langlois said local restrictions on the Yampa River will stay the same.
"Because of the concern that a number of people expressed, some waters will retain the two-trout bag limit," he said.
For the Yampa River, the two-fish bag limit will remain from Stagecoach to Walton Creek. Also, the catch-and-release rule between Walton Creek and the James Brown Bridge will remain.
Another regulation change eliminates bag limits for northern pike, starting in 2001. That reflects the DOW's will to try to stop the fish from eating out trout populations, Langlois said.
Pike are not native to Colorado and have a major impact on trout populations.
"In most waters, the pike aren't a very good match with the preferred management," he said.
Both Langlois and Curd said the pike problem probably won't be eradicated, no matter how the regulations change especially in Stagecoach Reservoir.
Stagecoach State Park Manager Fred Bohlmann agreed. The bag limit on pike in most areas was 10 per angler.
"I've never seen anyone getting that limit," he said.
Bohlmann doesn't expect the change to affect the sport fishing qualities of Stagecoach.
"I'd like to see a change in stocking (at Stagecoach)," Langlois said.