GUNNISON COUNTY, Colorado (CBS4) – Anglers have the chance to win up to $ 10,000 while reducing the number of predatory lake trout in western Colorado. The second annual Blue Mesa Reservoir Lake Trout Tournament is currently taking place near Gunnison.

Anglers have until July 31st to catch lake trout that are smaller than 24 inches. There are several cash prizes, including $ 1,000 for whoever catches the most fish.

(Photo credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

The tournament, sponsored by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, is free and no registration required. Wildlife officials say the competition will help maintain adequate numbers of kokanee roasts.

“We know we can have excellent Kokanee fisheries and trophy sea trout fisheries, but we need to continue our work for both species and we need help from Colorado’s anglers,” said Dan Brauch, aquatic biologist at CPW in Gunnison.

The tournament started in February and so far about 50 anglers have given in about 900 sea trout heads. According to the CPW, 339 anglers caught 4,055 target size lake trout in the past year.

CPW only accepts lake trout less than 24 inches in length. Anglers must remove the heads and place them in a plastic bag provided on the ramps of the reservoir boat.

There are currently about 20 tagged fish in the reservoir, each worth $ 250. Additionally, CPW awards $ 500 and $ 250 to anglers who finish second and third for the most fish. The winners will be contacted in early August.

For more information on fishing at the Blue Mesa Reservoir, click here. You can also call Gunnison’s CPW office at 970-641-7060.