Salt Lake City — In anticipation of low water levels due to drought conditions, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources issued emergency changes to Utah’s fishing regulations Tuesday to allow anglers to catch and keep more fish at 10 waterbodies around the state.
Drought impacts fish by reducing the amount of water available in lakes, reservoirs and streams throughout the state. Smaller amounts of water heat up more quickly and warm to higher temperatures, which is problematic for fish species since warm water holds less oxygen than colder water. The combination of high temperatures and low oxygen can stress fish, causing poor growth and disease, and can sometimes be fatal to fish.
In an effort to reduce any potential fish die off in some of the waterbodies with anticipated low water levels, the DWR is increasing some of the daily fish limits to allow anglers to harvest and utilize more fish in these specific waterbodies. The DWR will also be decreasing fish stocking in the affected lakes and reservoirs to minimize the amount of fish that may die as a result of the anticipated low water levels.
“When we decrease the number of fish stocked into one lake, we will reallocate those fish to another waterbody where we don’t anticipate low water levels,” DWR Sportfish Coordinator Randy Oplinger said. “Despite low water levels in some lakes, fishing will be very good in a lot of places this summer. The number of waters where we are expecting drought impacts is very small, and we anticipate that the majority of waterbodies, including the major fisheries in the state, won’t be affected.”
These changes are effective immediately and will remain in effect until Oct. 31, 2021. Here are the waterbodies with new increased daily fish limits:
- Blacksmith Fork River, Cache County: Increasing the daily limit to eight trout from the Nibley Diversion downstream to the confluence with the Logan River
- Forsyth Reservoir, Sevier County: Increasing the daily limit to eight trout
- Gunlock Reservoir, Washington County:: Increasing the daily limit to 12 largemouth bass with no size restrictions and removing the limit on bluegill and black crappie
- Koosharem Reservoir, Sevier County: Increasing the daily limit to eight trout
- Lower Enterprise Reservoir, Washington County: Increasing the daily limit to eight trout and 12 smallmouth bass
- Otter Creek Reservoir, Piute County: Increasing the daily limit to eight trout, six wiper and 12 smallmouth bass
- Tropic Reservoir, Garfield County: Increasing the daily limit to eight trout
- Upper Enterprise Reservoir, Washington County: Increasing the daily limit to eight trout and 12 smallmouth bass
- Wide Hollow Reservoir, Garfield County: Increasing the daily limit to eight trout
- Yuba Reservoir, Juab and Sanpete counties: Increasing the daily limit to 20 fish total from the following species: walleye, wiper, trout (any species), tiger muskie, northern pike and channel catfish. No size restrictions apply to any of the species.
All the other rules in the Utah Fishing Guidebook regarding Utah waterbodies have not changed and remain in effect.
While it is anticipated that these reservoirs will have lower water levels due to drought, here is a list of additional waterbodies where fishing is not expected to see any impacts and should still be good this summer. Visit the DWR website for additional things that anglers should be aware of while fishing this year.