Prohibition of Bowfishing for Nothern Pike in Colorado
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All over the Western Slope of Colorado, Northern Pike, one of America's most prized sportfish is being slaughtered by the dozen by bowfishermen. This is extremely detrimental to the ecology of the fishery. The pike that are killed are near-trophy size, or trophy size, often exceeding 40 inches in length. These are the fish that real anglers spend good money to pursue day-in and day-out. This leaves fishermen with countless "hammer-handle" sized pike to catch. It should be considered poaching and is no different than killing a deer out of season. With the current regulations, someone with a bow could kill every single trophy pike in a fishery without even putting a fishing line in the water. When these big pike are removed, it starts a chain of events. The pike population starts to grow because over 1/3 of a large pike's diet consists of juvenile pike. In some waters it can be as high as 70% of their diet. They keep their own population in control with their cannibalism, and has been proven all over the world with many fisheries stocking large pike to benefit their waters. Also, big pike have a lower fecundity (fertility), as are most species of fish once they reach trophy size. This also keeps the population down. These are the fish that should be released to the water immediately, and should be protected. The last few years, lakes have had their entire populations of large pike completely removed and the after effects are very visible. Numbers of small pike are increasing drastically, carp populations are through the roof, panfish populations are out of control which is leading to fish noticeably shrinking, State Parks are losing money because the lack of trophy fish is shying away anglers, and it is leading to a state-wide frustration and hate toward bowfishermen because of their lack of respect toward this fish, and lack of fishery conservation. Colorado has some of the best trophy pike fishing in the world, and MUST be protected. The current regulations must be changed.
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