Drought-related fish deaths are expected in several Utah waters
Nine reservoirs and the Blacksmith Fork double the daily limit for bass and trout to avoid wasting fish.
In anticipation of low water levels in some Utah fisheries, wildlife officials are raising the limits on 10 bodies of water every day to avoid wasting bloody sport fish.
The tributaries at several reservoirs in southwest Utah are expected to dry up soon thanks to low snowpacks and arid soils. The Department of Wildlife Resources in Utah predicts fish deaths if reservoirs in severely affected areas are opened for irrigation in late summer.
Low water causes water temperatures to rise, reducing the amount of oxygen in the water.
“The combination of high temperatures and low oxygen levels can stress fish, cause poor growth and disease, and sometimes be fatal to fish,” the department said in a press release.
To reduce the risk of death in late summer, the DWR enables anglers to catch more fish at selected reservoirs and reduces the stock. The new rules will remain in effect until October 31st.
“If we reduce the number of fish kept in a lake, we will relocate those fish to a different body of water where we do not expect water levels to be low,” said Randy Oplinger, DWR sport fish coordinator. “Despite the low water levels in some lakes, fishing will be very good in many places this summer. The number of waters in which we expect the drought to affect is very small and we anticipate that the majority of the waters, including the main fisheries in the state, will not be affected. “
Utah is in the midst of one of the worst droughts ever. More than 80% of the state is currently suffering from “extreme drought”. Across the state, inflows are projected to be well below average, and the state’s reservoirs are only about two-thirds full on average.
Here is a list of waters where the fishing limit for trout, perch, and other species has been doubled.
Blacksmith Fork River, Cache County: The daily limit was increased to eight trout from the Nibley Diversion downstream to the confluence with the Logan River.
Forsyth Reservoir, Sevier County: Daily limit increased to eight trout.
Gunlock Reservoir, Washington County: Increased daily limit to 12 Largemouth Bass with no size restrictions and lifted limits on Bluegill and Black Crappie.
Koosharem Reservoir, Sevier County: Daily limit increased to eight trout.
Lower Enterprise Reservoir, Washington County: Daily limit increased to eight trout and twelve black bass.
Otter Creek Reservoir, Piute County: The daily limit has been increased to eight trout, six mopping, and 12 black bass.
Tropic Reservoir, Garfield County: The daily limit has been increased to eight trout.
Upper Enterprise Reservoir, Washington County: Daily limit increased to eight trout and twelve small bass.
Wide Hollow Reservoir, Garfield County: Daily limit increased to eight trout.
Yuba Reservoir, Juab, and Sanpete Counties: Daily limit increased to a total of 20 fish for the following species: pikeperch, mop, trout (any species), tiger musk, pike, and channel catfish. None of these species have size restrictions.
The DWR anticipates that fishing will remain excellent elsewhere and has identified 25 bodies of water, including Flaming Gorge, Hyrum Lake and Kolob Reservoir, as good targets this year.