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Spring fishing highlights for western Colorado anglers

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There's lots of fishing action in the Delta and Montrose areas; here's some news-to-know from Colorado Parks and Wildlife for anglers as the fishing season starts to pick-up.

Ridgway State Park Smallmouth Bass Tournament: The third annual tournament sponsored by Colorado Parks and Wildlife is scheduled for July 7-28. This year $5,000 in cash prizes will be awarded, including prizes for most bass caught, biggest bass caught and smallest bass caught. Every angler will also earn a raffle ticket for every bass caught and be included in a cash-prize drawing. There is no fee to fish in the tournament. All anglers must have a 2018 Colorado fishing license.

"The purpose of the tournament is to reduce the number of smallmouth bass in Ridgway Reservoir and to protect native fish downstream," said Eric Gardunio, aquatic biologist for the Montrose area.

Gunnison River spawning: CPW biologists will be spawning rainbow trout in the East Portal section of the Gunnison River area during the last week of April and the first week of May. The spawning activity is conducted annually because the rainbows in that section of the Gunnison River are resistant to whirling disease. The spawn collected by CPW is being used to rebuild the wild rainbow population throughout Colorado.

During the spawn collection biologists use a boat to electro-fish the section of the river upstream of the roller dam, capture the fish and then spawn them on-site. Spawning activity will take place April 23, 24, 26, 27 and 30; and May 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10 and 11. Fishing will probably not be good in that section while biologists are working, so CPW requests that anglers avoid fishing upstream of the roller dam on those days.

Cerro Summit fishing: Last year CPW worked with the city of Montrose to open fishing at the city's reservoir at Cerro Summit State Wildlife Area. The reservoir was stocked with Tiger Trout and many of those fish are now measuring more than 16 inches in length. The reservoir is about a half-mile walk from the parking lot. Fishing is by fly and artificial lure only.

The reservoir is located about 15 miles east of Montrose, just off U.S. Highway 50.

Sport fishing at Crawford State Park: To increase the variety of angling opportunities at Crawford Reservoir, CPW has reduced the numbers of northern pike in the lake and has stocked it with black crappie, Largemouth bass and channel catfish. This new management strategy has paid off as these fish species have increased in numbers and size.

"Crawford has really been fishing well in the last few years," Gardunio said. "In addition to the trout, largemouth bass, black crappie and perch, there are still some pike in the reservoir, many of them trophy size."

CPW reminds anglers to buy their 2018-19 fishing license which is good through March 31, 2019.

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