Colorado Parks and Wildlife will soon host the smallmouth bass fishing tournament at Ridgway State Park.
No entry fee is required and the tournament runs July 6-27. All anglers over 16 must have a fishing license.
CPW is reducing the population of smallmouth bass in the reservoir and needs help from anglers. To get that help the state agency is providing major incentives to anglers: $12,000 in prize money.
There will be a raffle category and a skills category this year. To qualify for any of the prizes all fish must be turned into the check station located near the boat ramp. It will be open from 1 - 5 p.m. on Fridays, and 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Those who catch fish during the week can bring their catch to the check station on those days.
Anglers who catch a lot of fish could be rewarded generously: $5,000 for catching the most smallmouth bass; $1,500 for the second place finisher; $500 for third place; $500 for the biggest fish caught and $500 for the smallest fish caught. Each of the top three finishers will also receive a Colorado State Parks Pass for 2020.
Everyone who enters the tournament will receive a raffle ticket for every fish they catch. The raffle grand prize winner will receive $2,500, and six second tier prizes of $250 will also be drawn in the raffle. All kids 12 and under will receive a package of fishing lures.
Smallmouth bass were illegally introduced at Ridgway Reservoir and CPW wants to trim their numbers, because the predatory fish can also survive in area rivers, including the Uncompahgre, which flows from the reservoir.
Smallmouth bass have escaped other impoundments in western Colorado and are adversely affecting populations of native fish in several rivers.
For more information, visit cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/Ridgway/Pages/Smallmouth-Bass.aspx.
Ridgway State Park is located about 20 miles south of Montrose, off U.S. 550. Entry to the park is $8 per vehicle; rates for camping range from $20-$30.