Proposal could

Fisherman may be able to show more tangible results of their day at the lake.

Officials are considering increase the daily bag limit to four and the possession limit to eight.

"A fisherman would be entitled to bag four fish in their possession instead of two and have eight fish in their possession instead of four over a two day period." President of United Sportsman Council of Colorado, Jerry Hart said.

The move is supported by the United Sportsman Council of Colorado and comes in the wake of a Division of Wildlife to decrease the amount of fish stocked to limit the spread of whirling disease.

"The proposal a good idea," said Nick Kamzalow, owner of Outdoor Connections. "It's less confusing than the present regulation."

Environmentalists believe the new proposal would hurt fish populations. Many Colorado waters have not been stocked in five years because of whirling disease and the increase in bag limit s would deplete the fish population, Hart said.

The Sportsman Council of Colorado sees the issue differently than environmentalists.

"There is no evidence that supports this position," Hart said.

Kamzalow said people will keep an average of two fish, so the new regulation wouldn't deplete Colorado waters.

Harts reporte suggests the solution lies in the Division of Wildlife by having more fish that test negative for whirling disease available for stocking.

According to Colorado Trout Unlimited , the Colorado Division of Wildlife decided to implement a new whirling disease policy that will end stocking of infected fish in Colorado's steams and lakes by the year 2003.

"We're delighted that the Wildlife Commission has voted to make resource protection it's top priority," Colorado Trout Unlimited (CTU) President Tom Krol said. "This decision sends a strong message that restoring the health of Colorado rivers and steams will get the attention it deserves."

"We've long believed that stocking infected fish is a poor way to address Colorado's whirling disease problems," CTU Executive Director David Nickum said. "By adopting its new policy, the Wildlife Commission will now be able to focus on the real risk at hand: producing disease-free fish for Colorado's stocking program."

The Wildlife Commission's decision to change the policy is based on the results of a Division of Wildlife study that links stocking of infected fish with the higher rate of infection, based on samples of both water and fish. The study concluded that when the level of stocking infected fish is lowered the disease could be discontinued.

"We may never eliminate the whirling disease parasite from Colorado's water," Krol said. "But ending the stocking of infected fish can reduced infection and give our wild trout a fighting chance against the disease."

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