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The ice is gone, the fish are here ... and biting

Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association began spring fish stocking these past several weeks and plans to continue stocking the lakes all the way through June.

Three weeks ago, a large truck out of Arkansas brought our warm water fish species order that included 2,000 largemouth bass and 6,000 crappie for Lake Pagosa, and 1,750 largemouth bass for Hatcher Lake.

The bass were 6 to 8 inches in length and the crappie were about 6 inches. Though not real big right now, in a couple of years they will mature into a nice size. And, of course, the warm water species that we’ve stocked in years past continue to do very well, growthwise.

Week before last, several loads of rainbow trout were delivered; stocking close to 8,000 pounds of 12- to 16-inch Kamloop strain of rainbow trout. These particular trout come from a large hatchery in Nebraska that we have really come to appreciate, the home of the “Tail Walkers” as they are described on the side of their stocking trucks. These trout are really feisty.

Fishing has been really good in the lakes since the ice has come off; we’ve even been getting reports of bass biting right now and the trout are hitting on just about anything. Water temperatures are 50 degrees-plus, which is an optimal temperature for trout.

Fishing permits are available at the recreation center and at the association’s temporary administration offices at 46 Eaton Drive.

The association is going to be keeping a close eye on boats this year, after receiving some very recent reports of unconfirmed quagga mussels being found in Navajo Lake. Quagga mussels are a close cousin of zebra mussels, both of which are considered serious invasive aquatic species that can be very detrimental to any waterway or reservoir. Please remember to register your boats annually before going out on the lakes and, if you use your boat in any other waters, clean, drain and dry your boat thoroughly before using it again.

Zebra and quagga mussel larvae can survive for long periods of time in as little water as a few ounces hiding in a boat. This is the primary reason that the association has discontinued allowing medium and high risk boats (as defined by the State of Colorado, those boats have sub-floors, bilge pumps or similar design). Only small open boats are allowed on the lakes.

If you see something that looks suspicious, give us a call at the office, 731-5635, and let us know.

Don’t feed wildlife

There have been reports of trash bins being knocked over and gone through by our local bear population this past week. If we are to live with wildlife, we all need to do our part.

1. Keep trash in bear-proof garbage containers or keep containers in a secure building. Trash bins should only be moved outside on trash pick up mornings, and returned indoors that afternoon.

2. Do not leave pet food outside.

3. If bears are present, remove all bird feeders, including hummingbird feeders.

4. Clean barbecue grills after each use.

5. Do not put fruit and vegetables in compost piles.

6. Do not feed bears or try to approach them.

7. Keep all lower level windows and doors closed tightly, especially at night.

8. If a bear enters your house, open doors and do not get between the bear and its escape route.

Women’s Cycling Night

Steve Potter will host a Women’s Cycling Night at The Hub, on Thursday, May 17, at 6 p.m. Topics include health, wellness and nutrition information, (presented by Pagosa Springs Medical Center), female-specific cycling information, roadside maintenance, and an open discussion about women’s group rides. Appetizers, wine and refreshments will be served.

Also, the Tuesday night road rides started this Tuesday. These Tuesday night rides leave from The Hub at 5:30 p.m., and last about 1 1/2 hours. A shorter ride is always an option as this is a loop course.

Many local riders are registered to race in some of this spring’s cycling events, which include the Moab Gran Fondo on May 12, the Santa Fe Century on May 20 and the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic on May 26. Each of these events has a website for more information if you are interested in any of them.

Some local mountain bike trails are rideable (the Turkey Springs network of trails, for example) and group mountain bike rides organized by Wolf Creek Wheel Club will start soon. If you would like to join this cycling club, you can do so by downloading an application/waiver form from their website at www.wolfcreekwheelclub.com. Thanks, and see you on the road and trails.

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