Miramonte reopens for fishing
Invasive smallmouth bass removed
NORWOOD – Miramonte Reservoir is ready for anglers again. Nearly 100,000 trout were stocked into the lake on Oct. 17-18 by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, completing a aquatic reclamation project that cost more than $100,000.
The 400-acre reservoir is open to fishing, and by next summer, anglers will be seeing many fish that are up to 14 inches long. Ice fishing this winter should be productive for the freshly stocked trout.
To give the reservoir fishery a jump start, Parks and Wildlife stocked 210 large brood-stock trout — all more than 20 inches in length, 15,000 catchable size rainbows 10 inches in length, 10,000 5-inch brown trout, and 70,000 fingerling rainbow trout that are 3 inches in size. This major stocking operation provides an immediate trophy component and also provides the reservoir with plenty of fish of various sizes that will grow quickly.
Eric Gardunio, aquatic biologist in the Montrose area, said Miramonte will quickly regain its status as one of Colorado’s most outstanding still-water fisheries.
“Miramonte Reservoir is a trout-growing machine, growing fish at up to 9 inches a year,” Gardunio said. “We expect the fishery to rebound quickly, and great opportunity for anglers will return soon.”
Crayfish were unaffected by the treatment.
Anglers are reminded that all regulations are again in effect at Miramonte. The daily bag limit is four trout, possession limit is eight.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife conducted a chemical-treatment operation on Sept. 10 to remove smallmouth bass that had been placed in the reservoir illegally sometime before 2011.
The bass threatened the Miramonte trout and crayfish fishery, and native fish downstream in the San Miguel and Dolores rivers.
Reservoir surveys early this summer showed that bass, a predator fish, likely had a negative impact on the popular trout fishery. The reservoir was last stocked with trout fingerlings in the spring of 2012. But biologists didn’t find smaller trout that would have matched that year class. Biologists suspect that the bass consumed many of the fingerlings. During the summer, anglers also reported catching only low numbers of large trout.
The surveys also showed that Miramonte is not well-suited for bass. The species quickly became the dominant species in the reservoir. But most of the bass grew to only 6 to 12 inches in length, indicating that the population could become stunted because of the short growing season, the cold water of the reservoir and the high competition for food among the growing population.
Despite the fact that the reservoir is not suited for warm-water fish, Parks and Wildlife officials are concerned that someone might put bass in the water again. Illegal stocking is a big problem throughout the West.
The Miramonte cleanup project cost the state and partnering agencies more than $100,000, required six months of planning, and closed the reservoir to recreation for more than a month.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is increasing monitoring effort at all fisheries that could be stocked with invasive species like smallmouth bass.