UT Fishing limit changes to be discussed at upcoming public

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August 2, 2002

Utah DWR

Fishing limit changes to be discussed at upcoming public meetings

Salt Lake City — Lowering the number of cutthroat trout anglers may keep at Strawberry Reservoir beginning in 2003 is among proposals people may comment on at upcoming Regional Advisory Council meetings.

RAC citizen representatives will take the public input received to the Utah Wildlife Board when it meets in Salt Lake City Sept. 10 to approve Utah's 2003 Fishing Proclamation.

RAC meeting dates, times and locations are as follows:

Northeastern Region
     Aug. 19, 7 p.m.
     Vernal City Offices
     447 E. Main St.
     Vernal

  Central Region
     Aug. 27, 6:30 p.m.
     Springville Junior High School
     165 S. 700 E.
     Springville

Southeastern Region
     Aug. 20, 6:30 p.m.
     John Wesley Powell Museum
     885 E. Main St.
     Green River

Northern Region
     Aug. 28, 6 p.m.
     Brigham City Community Center
     24 N. 300 W.
     Brigham City

Southern Region
     Aug. 21, 7 p.m.
     Beaver High School
     195 E. Center St.
     Beaver
 

Fishing proposals

Among the fishing regulation changes the Division of Wildlife Resources is proposing for 2003 are the following:

Cutthroat Trout Limit at Strawberry Reservoir

The DWR will propose a new trout limit for Strawberry Reservoir to try and counter a growing population of Utah chubs.

The new limit would allow anglers to continue keeping 4 trout and kokanee salmon. They could not have more than two cutthroat trout under 15 inches, however, and not more than one cutthroat over 22 inches. All cutthroats between 15 and 22 inches would need to be released immediately.

"The Utah chub population in the reservoir is increasing and the population of large cutthroats is declining," said Tom Pettengill, sport fisheries coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. "Those larger cutthroats are needed to keep the chub population under control so Strawberry can remain one of the premier fisheries in the West."

Some anglers have suggested placing an artificial flies and lures only restriction on the reservoir so that fish anglers catch and release will have a better chance of surviving.

"We don't think that idea will solve the problem," Pettengill said. "Anglers who fish at Strawberry are keeping more fish than anglers who fish elsewhere in the state. Across most of Utah, anglers release three out of every four trout they catch. At Strawberry, they keep more than half the fish they catch. We have to find a way to reduce the number of cutthroat trout anglers are keeping."

Pettengill says increasing the number of cutthroats in the reservoir does present some concerns. "The larger cutthroats also eat the smaller rainbow and cutthroat trout we stock and that are produced naturally, so we need to try and balance the cutthroat population," he said. "We need enough cutthroats to keep the chub population under control, but we also need to take enough to reduce predation on the trout we're stocking.

"Based on the data collected by our biologists at the reservoir, we feel the cutthroat regulations we're proposing are the best compromise."

4-fish limit at community fishing waters

To provide better fishing at waters located in Utah's communities, the DWR is proposing a 4-fish aggregate limit at most of them. A 4-fish aggregate limit means anglers cannot keep more than four fish, no matter what species of fish they catch.

"In addition to trout, we're stocking these community waters with catfish, largemouth bass and bluegills," Pettengill said. "The statewide limit for catfish is 8 fish. We can't allow anglers to keep that many catfish at these heavily fished waters and still provide good fishing for everyone. We need to spread fish out over a longer period of time so everyone can enjoy good fishing, and not just the people who are there when the stocking truck arrives."

The waters this regulation would apply to would be listed as Community Fishing Waters under the Specific Waters Section in the 2003 Utah Fishing Proclamation.

Making the juvenile and adult limit the same

The DWR will also propose that the fish limit for anglers under 14 years old be the same as the adult limit. Currently, anglers under 14 years old who don't buy a fishing license can fish for free and take half the limit that an adult can take.

"The 4-trout statewide limit we went to this year limits these young anglers to only two trout a day," Pettengill said. "We feel that's too restrictive and would like to allow young anglers a chance to keep the same number of fish adult anglers can."

Standardizing upper trout limit at 22 inches

The DWR would also like to standardize regulations at reservoirs where anglers are only allowed one trout over a certain length. The proposal is to standardize the length at 22 inches.

"The upper limit at Kolob Reservoir is 20 inches, it's 18 at Strawberry and it's different lengths at various other reservoirs," Pettengill said. "We'd like to make it easier for anglers to know what the limit is by standardizing it at 22 inches."

Pettengill says the regulation would not affect the Green River and other waters that are not reservoirs.

For more information about the meetings, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the Division's Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4737.
 
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