SALT LAKE CITY — During their annual spring surveys, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources biologists discovered something they hate to see — fish that had been illegally dumped into bodies of water.
Biologists discovered Utah chubs in Panguitch Lake and found goldfish in Jackson Flat Reservoir during their spring surveys. They aren’t quite sure when either species was illegally introduced.
The chubs could've been planted by an angler wanting to introduce their favorite species into their favorite fishing spot, while the goldfish might've come from someone dumping an aquarium.
“Any illegal introduction of a fish into a waterbody is harmful and can have numerous negative consequences,” DWR Sportfish Coordinator Randy Oplinger said. “Illegal fish species can prey on and outcompete other fish species, including sportfish, native fish and endangered fish species. They can also introduce disease and negatively impact water quality. It is very expensive and takes a long time — often requiring rotenone treatments that kill all the fish — to restore these waterbodies after fish have been illegally introduced there.”
Goldfish can be especially detrimental in an ecosystem because they are prolific spawners and can rapidly take over a waterbody.
“They compete with the other species and eat all the available food,” Hepworth said. “It is also frustrating for anglers who are trying to catch the other species because they end up just catching goldfish. We hope the largemouth bass in the lake can keep the goldfish numbers under control. We will try and stock some additional largemouth bass this year to help with that effort.”
Anglers are encouraged to report any invasive fish species, or if they see anyone illegally introducing fish into a waterbody, by calling 1-800-662-3337.
Learn more about the consequences of illegal fish introductions by visiting the DWR website.