The Division of Wildlife Resources plans to treat Ferron Reservoir with rotenone on Sept. 22 to remove its fertile rainbow and brook trout and non-native cutthroat as part of a drainage wide project. Rotenone, a naturally occurring substance derived from the roots of a tropical plant, is non-toxic to mammals, but kills fish by inhibiting the uptake of oxygen through the gills.
A follow-up spring treatment is also planned to ensure complete eradication of existing fish. Re-stocking is expected to occur by the July 4 holiday weekend. The new fishery will include Colorado River cutthroat trout, which are native to the drainage. Other sport fish introductions will include sterile rainbow trout to prevent hybridization with the native cutthroats and possibly sterile brook trout.
Re-stocking with Colorado River cutthroat trout in Ferron Reservoir is necessary to protect the cutthroat trout for the planned restoration project in Ferron Creek. However, Ferron Reservoir itself is not considered part of the restoration project. Unlike Duck Fork Reservoir, where Colorado River cutthroat trout remain protected as a source for eggs, the native cutthroats in Ferron Reservoir can be fished and taken as part of the bag limit.
The restoration of native Colorado River cutthroats in Ferron Creek is an important step toward recovery of the species, which has been petitioned for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Progress toward recovery will help ensure continued state management of the Ferron Creek and Reservoir fisheries and local management of water and grazing in the drainage.
The DWR recognizes the importance of Ferron Reservoir for family oriented fishing and this project will not alter that management objective. Following re-stocking, the 2012 proposed regulations are a four fish limit (including cutthroat trout) by any legal method. Anglers may fish with baits, lures and artificial flies. There will be no slot limit on the reservoir. Additionally, the existing seasonal closure on Ferron Reservoir tributaries will be removed to provide anglers with the opportunity to take fish that may ascend the stream in the spring.