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Colorado 2017 - Master Angler Awards and year end report

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Colorado 2017 - Master Angler Awards and year end report.

The "Highs"

2017 was a challenging year for carp fishing here in Colorado. Old venues that produced consistently were tough challenges for the majority of anglers. It was a wet and cooler year, windy, though we did not experience the crazy flooding we saw back in 2016. Late spring and summer produced the best catch rates and larger fish on average. MA stats dwindled somewhat, with 21 commons being reported (compared to 41 in 2015). However there was an uptick in grass carp catches and reports, 20 fish logged, albeit two anglers caught nearly all of them from the same private water (compared to 5 in 2015). The increase in grass carp catches could be a result of stocking programs for pond cleanup and weed/algae removal. I usually only submit a couple of fish per year to this program (common and grass carp), else the stats/page would be a wee bit skewed. I did manage to equal the best common of the year and topped the grass carp list; though my fish was not officially submitted within the time limits; out of respect for the angler whom invited me to fish that lake. 

Fly carping remains the showcase for carp in our state. A strong contingent of fly anglers target these fish year long and the "Trout Unlimited" Carp Slam event on the South Platte river for charity remains popular (albeit very expensive entrance fees and requirements).

The gold medal consistent water for carp in Colorado remains "Chatfield Reservoir". This venue holds carp in excess of 30 lb's, both mirrors and commons. It faces substantial angling pressure and recreational activity. CPW patrol on a regular basis and are very "watchful" of all behaviors of carp anglers, especially from afar with their binoculars!

Tightline Outdoors, a local outfitter, hosted 2 Catch & Release Carp Tournaments during 2017. Attendance peaked at just over 30 anglers. For Team CarpQuest I managed to WIN the day/night event at Chatfield Reservoir with my partner James. For me, it was a huge highlight, my 6th tournament entered and 1st individual win. Team CarpQuest also won the 2016 day/night tournament, this time James taking 1st with me as his partner. It would appear Team CarpQuest fishes well in the blackness of night. The tournament at Lake Arbor was won by a new angler to carp fishing, Bleu Patino and his partner Ryan Quist; I had previously met Ryan and Bleu a month before to provide some encouragement and advice on carp fishing tackle & tactics. They certainly learned fast! 

CAG membership wise, we remain steady at "2" We lost a member in 2017 and gained a new one. The challenges we face with regards to CPWs view of the sport, the tactics and the species as a whole, present a serious uphill climb here in Colorado. Next to Utah, Colorado is arguably 2nd on the list of carp hating states. Oh well ! :blammo:

The "Low's"

Whilst 2017 saw an increase in the local anglers targeting carp, this also brought increased attention from Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Many angers were being "enthusiastic" about their use of packbaits, especially with regards to Colorado laws requiring the bait be attached and with packbaits, inside of the pack. This resulted in numerous tickets being issued to anglers. Though CPW realizes carp angling is becoming popular here; they are still no fans of the species. Individual wildlife officers can be openly negative. Bow Fishing for carp continues at all venues where shooting is legal; however their endeavors are rarely posted in a social media context; all but driven underground here locally. Catch & Release has become the new "trendy" behavior for Trophy fish of all species.

On a personal note, my own carp fishing adventures during 2017 were seriously curtailed (my trips out were reduced by 75%); mainly due to personal health and family reasons. I am hopeful 2018 will be a great new year with some excellent carp fishing during the season.

Closing

2018 is set to be another great year here for carp fishing in Colorado. With the mild winter there should be an early ice-off and a great season ahead. Colorado has stunning wild carp, both commons and mirrors, with many venues holding 20s and some with a very rare 30s. Our fish are typically slender and powerful fighters. If you are looking for an opportunity to wet your line and hold a stunning wild mile-high carp in your hands, then Colorado should be on your list of places to visit.

By all means drop me a PM, or message if you are looking to come to Colorado to fish for carp, I can certainly provide assistance, local information and advice, especially with regards to our draconian regulations with regards to bait use.

 

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