Stalker Lake project completed

A renovated and improved Stalker Lake near Wray soon will reopen for fishing.
After months of hard work, contractor JHL completed the work on the dam at Stalker this past week.

They replaced the entire outlet structure and put a liner in the outlet pipe to prevent it from leaking and possibly failing. The cracked concrete along the face of the dam was also removed and replaced along with a variety of other improvements. The project was paid for out of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife budget.
While the lake was drained for this work, local staff of Colorado Parks and Wildlife took the opportunity to improve the fishing access and fish habitat.

Local Colorado Parks and Wildlife staffers improved the fish habitat on the lake bottom while Stalker Lake was empty. (Courtesy Photo)

Sediment from the lake was used to create two 100-by-30 foot and two 50-by-30 foot fishing piers to improve shore access to deeper areas of the lake.
Sediment was also removed from the boat ramp cove to make it deeper and easier to launch boats.
All of the fishing piers and the south shoreline by the boat ramp were covered in concrete rip-rap to prevent erosion and create habitat.
A path was created along the south side, with plans to install a handicap accessible sidewalk in the future. Parks and Wildlife Officer Josh Melby reported several grants are being worked to fund additional improvements.
Three gravel spawning beds and 60 brush piles were added throughout the lake to help improve the habitat, while the brush piles by the boat ramp were removed.
A longer boat dock will be added along the boat ramp once the lake is full.
The lake is in the process of filling and should be full by early March. CPW plans on stocking the fish back into the lake in March or early April depending on weather and water conditions.
Melby reported it should be ready to go for some spring and summer fishing.
The project initially was scheduled to take place in 2019, focusing on mandatory repairs for Chief Creek Dam that forms Stalker Lake. The outlet structure was nearing the end of its lifespan. However, the project was postponed one year, allowing the CPW time to get funding for the habitat and facilities improvements.
The work done within the lake bottom while it was drained should greatly improve the long-term fishing at the lake.
Stalker Lake is considered one of the best bass and sunfish fisheries in the state.