The Colorado Parks and Wildlife department will host its annual “State of the Fisheries” public information session next Tuesday, March 18, at the Summit County Commons, in Frisco, and on Wednesday, March 19, at the Granby Public Library. Both meetings will start at 6:30 p.m. and will be led by Jon Ewart, CPW department aquatics and fisheries biologist for Summit and Grand counties.
“I spend a big part of the year collecting information on our local fish populations,” Ewart said. “I like to share this information with the public. It’s information collected on their behalf. A lot of times we’re doing stuff that people don’t have any idea about.”
The session will be a forum for local fishers, guides and others to ask questions about the science behind our local fisheries and to present concerns to wildlife officials.
“We can get into as much detail as people want to,” Ewart said. “It’s important for the public to understand that we rely on their input for our wildlife management decisions and strategies.”
Ewart will provide information and field questions on stocking records, trends and future plans regarding particular fisheries.
“As we have done in the past, anglers will have the opportunity to call out a local body of water and then I will provide data, followed by an open discussion,” he said.
Among the trends Ewart has studied is the increased health of the Arctic char population in Dillon Reservoir. The deep-water trout was introduced in the reservoir in 1990 and recently began reproducing on its own.
The char has the potential to make Lake Dillon a more appealing fishing destination, but Ewart said the wildlife department might consider placing restrictions on catching the fish in order to help the population grow. “We’re optimistic about it,” he said.
Ewart also said the health of the Blue River has been a focus of his study.
“People are always interested in the Blue River,” he said. “It struggles to maintain its status as a gold-medal water.”
For over a year — prior to last fall — the Blue had received only the minimal water release from Dillon Dam, which Ewart said caused substantial damage to the fish population.