Officials announce ‘incentivized harvest,’ paying anglers for brown trout caught in Colorado River

File photo of brown trout in Utah, Sept. 8, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, St. George News

MARBLE CANYON, Arizona — The National Park Service and Arizona Game and Fish Department are working with partners and seeking the public’s help in addressing the threat of brown trout in the Colorado River.

According to a joint press release, the National Park Service at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area will implement an incentivized harvest beginning Nov. 11. The pilot research program is intended to reduce the growing population of brown trout in the Colorado River below Glen Canyon Dam. The incentivized harvest will reward anglers $25 for each brown trout over 6 inches that is caught and removed from the river.

The brown trout population in the Lees Ferry Reach has steadily increased since 2014. As adults, brown trout primarily feed on other fish, potentially threatening downstream native fish species.

The goal of this program is to determine if an incentivized harvest can help manage and reduce the number of brown trout in the Colorado River between Glen Canyon Dam and the mouth of the Paria River. The initial research into the use of this tool is designed to last three to four years, at which time the program will be evaluated for its effectiveness.

There is no limit on the number of brown trout that can be retained and turned in for a reward in the incentivized harvest. To be eligible for the reward, anglers must follow the guidelines available here.

Anglers must have a valid Arizona fishing license. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks are allowed. Details on the Arizona Game & Fish Department angling regulations for this area can be found online here.

Brown trout, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of the National Park Service, St. George News

The National Park Service reviewed this population management tool as part of the expanded non-native aquatic species management plan environmental assessment and the associated finding of no significant impact, which are available at the National Park Service Park Planning website.

Development of the incentivized harvest program was accomplished in close coordination with cooperating agencies and partners, including the Arizona Game and Fish Department, U.S Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USGS Grand Canyon Research and Monitoring Center, several traditionally associated American Indian Tribes, angling groups and many other stakeholders. The Glen Canyon Conservancy is assisting in managing monthly payments to anglers.

On Tuesday at 3 p.m., a webinar presentation on the “Maintenance of Northern Arizona Ecosystems Using an Incentivized Harvest Program” will be presented by Ken Hyde, chief of Science and Resource Management at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. This webinar will be hosted by Coconino Community College through their Comet Talks program.

Anyone interested in viewing the webinar can register here. The program will also be available on the Coconino Community College YouTube site for viewing later.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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