SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has issued several emergency changes to Utah's fishing regulations in anticipation of low water levels due to drought conditions.
"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," a news release from DWR explains. "The combination of high temperatures and low oxygen can stress fish, causing poor growth and disease, and can sometimes be fatal to fish."
To help mitigate fish "die off" levels, DWR has increased the number of fish that can be harvested at these 10 local bodies of water:
- 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.
The changes take effect immediately and will remain in effect through October 31.
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DWR is also reducing the number of fish to be stocked at each of the affected bodies of water this year.
“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,” said DWR Sportfish Coordinator Randy Oplinger in the news release. “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.”
All other rules in the Utah Fishing Guidebook regarding Utah water bodies and fish limits will stand as written.
"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," the release says.