Category Archives: Conservation

Assessing Colorado’s Walleye

Lake and Reservoir Researcher Adam Hansen holds up a walleye from Chatfield State Park on a chilly October morning where temperatures were in the single digits.
CPW Lake and Reservoir Researcher Adam Hansen holds up a walleye from Chatfield State Park on a chilly October morning where temperatures were in the single digits. Anglers proudly display Walleye. Photo by © Jason Clay/CPW.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife aquatic research section and aquatic biologists are conducting a walleye demographic study at the three reservoirs the state utilizes in its spring spawning operation. 

CPW stocked 47 million walleye fry across the state in 2019, the most of any species, and those fry come from spawning operations at just three Colorado reservoirs – Cherry Creek, Chatfield and Lake Pueblo. CPW collected 126 million walleye eggs last spring from its spawning effort to meet the demand of its hatcheries.

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Trophy Trout of Cheesman Canyon

VIDEO: A crew of 15-20 people, including Colorado Parks and Wildlife, US Forest Service, and CPW volunteers, conducts an annual stream electrofishing survey. CPW biologists use surveys to monitor fish health and population for the scenic segment of the South Platte River just below Cheesman Reservoir dam.

Each year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife aquatic biologists conduct fishery surveys of many of our rivers and reservoirs. Periodic monitoring allows CPW to collect and record the biological data needed to guide fishery management in Colorado. CPW biologists can choose from a wide variety of techniques to survey the different types of waters across the state. For the Gold Medal stretch of the South Platte River just below Cheesman Reservoir dam, however, the survey method of choice is electrofishing.

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Video: Colorado Moose Management

VIDEO: Colorado Parks and Wildlife research biologists provide a glimpse into the life of a Shiras moose research project. Learn about the questions researchers ask, the methods they use to address those questions, and how the answers can benefit the people and wildlife of Colorado.

Weighing up to 1,000 pounds and towering 6 feet high at the shoulder, moose are Colorado’s largest wild mammal. While moose sightings are fairly common today, moose were quite rare in Colorado throughout most of the 20th century. But, thanks to successful reintroduction and management by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Colorado’s moose are now one of the fastest-growing herds in the lower 48 states.

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Raising Colorado’s Brown Trout – North Delaney Butte Lake

Despite Colorado’s abundant fish populations, most fish cannot successfully reproduce in the wild. And, of those species that are able to reproduce naturally, recruitment (the number of juvenile fish that actually survive to be added to a population) is often too low to support a fishable population. To ensure that there are enough fish to stock every year, CPW sets up spawn-collection sites at lakes and reservoirs across the state.

Each year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) fishery biologists set up a spawn-take operation at North Delaney Butte Lake. During the operation, biologists will capture brown trout and collect more than a million eggs, which will be fertilized at the lake and then shipped to CPW fish hatcheries. Once hatched and raised, the brown trout are restocked in rivers and lakes throughout the state. And while brown trout are non-native, the hard fighting fish are some of the most popular among Colorado’s anglers.

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Into the Dark – A Night of Bats

Jorge the hoary bat.
Jorge the hoary bat.

Under a blanket of stars, we waited in a circle, straining our ears for any chirping sounds. Wildlife Biologist Lance Carpenter took a look at his watch. “It’s probably about time,” he said.

Wearing waders and lots of bug spray, Lance, fellow bat Biologist Heather Halbritter, several other CPW staff, and I were going out every 15 minutes to the river below us hoping to catch a specific nocturnal animal: a bat.

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2019 Colorado Pheasant & Quail Hunting Forecast

2019 Colorado Pheasant and Quail Forecast

For the 2019-20 Colorado pheasant hunting season, hunters can expect a year similar to, but probably somewhat better than last season, which was a decent year.  This season, we had relatively good moisture conditions over the summer, so we can expect more birds in the fields. In terms of quail hunting, the outlook is a little different. Bobwhite quail numbers in the southeast region looked pretty good, while scaled quail are a bit down from the heyday of a few years ago. In the Northeast, bobwhite quail have mixed results – some properties have good covies and good size to the covies, while other properties, not so much. It’s looking like a spotty hit or miss quail hunting this season.

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The Pronghorn Rut

When most think of the rut in Colorado, their minds picture bugling, battling, big-boy bull elk; mule deer bucks locking antlers in Greco-Romanesque scuffles; whitetail bucks laser focused on tending to their does; and the NFL-helmet-on-helmet-like crash of bighorn rams. What few picture is the equally impressive battles and behaviors that take place during the pronghorn rut.

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Tiger Muskie; the role of this silent predator in Colorado’s waters

A non-native fish, and one that is a hybrid, the Tiger Muskie plays an important role in the management of fisheries across Colorado. Photo by © Jason Clay/CPW.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife aquatic biologist Ben Swigle stocked seven-inch Tiger Muskie fish into Gross Reservoir on a sunny Tuesday at the 440-surface acre reservoir sitting at 7,282 feet in southwest Boulder County. 

A non-native fish, and one that is a hybrid, the Tiger Muskie plays a small, albeit, important role in the management of fisheries across Colorado.

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