Anyone know what the new minimum size for walleye is at Horsetooth? Are they doing away with the over 21" rule?
Horsetooth Reservoir—Larimer County
a. Fishing is prohibited in the inlet area as posted from March 15-May 31.
b. The minimum size for smallmouth bass is 12 inches long.
c. The minimum size for walleye and saugeye is 18 inches long. Only one walleye or saugeye in
the aggregate more than 21 inches long may be taken per day.
I think the goal was to reduce walleye numbers so some of them might get bigger. The Colorado DOW biologists responsible for Horsetooth spoke at a CWA meeting last spring about how stunted they had become due to lack of forage. Sorry, I don't recall the exact numbers. The consensus was that some "thinning of the herd" would make sense at Horsetooth.mogul buster said:
I like it when the DOW gives and takes as we all should. I think the anglers are by far rthe best mangement tool and when the operation is done with respect for the resource then we all should respond by doing what is needed. It is the way it should work and hopefully we can keep some fisheries inside this realm.gofindyourowndamnfish said:I think the goal was to reduce walleye numbers so some of them might get bigger. The Colorado DOW biologists responsible for Horsetooth spoke at a CWA meeting last spring about how stunted they had become due to lack of forage. Sorry, I don't recall the exact numbers. The consensus was that some "thinning of the herd" would make sense at Horsetooth.mogul buster said:
Remove special walleye regulations
Horsetooth Reservoir is a part of the Colorado-Big Thompson Water diversion system providing water for agricultural and municipal use. The water diverted from the west slope, upper Colorado River Drainage, is relatively cool and unproductive compared with other front range reservoirs that are fed from the lower South Platte River Basin. Horsetooth is a large draw for anglers and holds high numbers of smallmouth bass and walleye. Walleye are not stocked as this reservoir is one of the few in Colorado with a naturally reproducing population. As a result of these factors, this situation requires unique management strategies to maximize the potential of this reservoir. In 1984, rainbow smelt were introduced to Horsetooth Reservoir in an attempt to provide a forage base for a walleye population that had declined in numbers throughout the 1970’s. Perch had been the primary forage base but had failed to keep up with the predator population. Smelt establishment was highly successful and boosted the walleye population creating high numbers of large fish that grew very quickly. Unfortunately the smelt were highly efficient grazers of zooplankton, the foundation of the reservoir’s food chain. They proved to be an unsustainable, unbalanced forage that crashed the entire reservoir ecosystem in the mid 1990’s by quite literally eating themselves out of house and home, and were subsequently reduced to undetectable levels in the reservoir. Walleye growth rates during the apex of smelt in the reservoir supported the regulation that was put in place. With an abundance of forage, walleye grew past 18 inches in three or four years and had the potential to reach trophy sizes, requiring a limit on the take of large fish. The forage base for Horsetooth has not recovered since the crash of smelt. Complicating things, the reservoir was drawn down to dead pool from 2001 through 2003. This allowed a return of zooplankton, an opportunity to successfully establish spottail shiners, emerald shiners and gizzard shad and a reduction of walleye reproduction. However, when the reservoir was refilled, walleye reproduction skyrocketed past forage production creating a large number of young fish that immediately set back the forage introductions. Additionally, water quality changes in the reservoir began to lead to reduced habitat potential for some of the introduced forage species. This failure of the forage base led to the current situation in the reservoir where there are a high number of small walleye that grow very slowly. In an age and growth study done in 2008, all fish under 14 years old still failed to surpass the current minimum size limit. Attempts to 71 establish a forage base since 2004 have been unsuccessful. There are a very high number of predators in the system and while some years are better than others, the overall trend in walleye condition has been negative. The most current sampling shows that the walleye population does not approach the current limits, significantly impacting fishermen’s ability to harvest fish or enjoy quality fishing. In a creel study done in 2009, 212 anglers were interviewed about walleye fishing. Those anglers fished for a collective 492 hours and only 14 fish above 18 inches were caught with only 6 of these actually harvested. In the associated questionnaire, 62% of anglers did not keep walleye with 46% of them stating that the walleye were not big enough. 52% of all the Horsetooth anglers were not satisfied with walleye they caught with 50% stating “too small” as the reason. The solution to this stunting problem is population reduction. This will provide an opportunity for the forage fish to establish a more sustainable base. As the population is reduced, the forage fish should rebound and growth rates for the fish that remain will increase significantly. If the walleye population is not affected significantly, the forage will not increase and we will keep the same stunted situation that currently exists. We do not have the option to reduce stocking, as in other reservoirs where fish populations are manipulated by the number of fish planted. The best way to accomplish this is to allow the anglers to take more fish. Therefore our recommendation is to remove the special regulation currently in place on Horsetooth Reservoir. An intermediate regulation may not have a significant enough impact to reduce the population to
a size that allows a forage base recovery.
I agree. I think the only reason for it was to make enforcement of the lake size limits easier. That way someone with undersized fish on the way out can't claim they caught them in the river, not in the lake.Neal/CO said:The new limit in the river below Chatfield is the dumbest reg they have ever passed!!!! What are those fish supposed to eat or swim in for that matter during summer? I could understand if they were going to net them and take them back to the lake ???
the state wide minimum size limit is 15 inche except trinidad. boulder and horsetooth will have no special regs, just the statewide regswalleye seeker said:
Fisherman is Colorado already have a hard enough time trying to measure a 18 inch walleye let alone knowing when their is a schedule of being able to keep fish. You could probably go to any lake ask 5 fisherman what the regs for the lake are my guess one of them will have no idea.cochise said:Hey what about having "year closures" for species like eyes. If they have the size limits low on certain waters that need more protection maybe we could go to an odd even ability to keep fish schedule? As the mangers notice what makes a better year to close over another they can adjust what years to close the water from harvest and sentiment should stay high as the following year you will be able to harvest.