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  • Utah Outdoor News

    Fighting Illegally Stocked Fish
    Location: Utah

    Flaming Gorge

    Biologists say the Utah chub population in Scofield Reservoir has increased dramatically during the past two years. To try and control the population before it gets too large, biologists are recommending thefollowing:

    Stocking Bear Lake cutthroat trout in the reservoir. Putting BearLake cutthroats in the reservoir would give it two “chub eaters” --the Bear Lake cutthroat trout, and tiger trout that are in the reservoir now. Bear Lake cutthroat have a proven track record in controlling chubs. DWR biologists say action must be taken immediately to controlthe chubs.

    Keeping plenty of large predatory Bear Lake cutthroats and tigertrout in the reservoir by lowering the trout limit to four trout. Intheir four-trout limit, anglers could have one cutthroat or tiger trout under 15 inches in length and one cutthroat or tiger trout over 22inches long. All cutthroat and tiger trout between 15 and 22 inches long would have to be released immediately.

    “We put Bear Lake cutthroats in Strawberry Reservoir after we treatedthe reservoir in 1990. The cutthroats in Strawberry have been protected by a limit that’s similar to the one we’re proposing forScofield,” says Roger Wilson, cold water sport fisheries coordinator for the DWR. “The cutthroats have kept the chub populations in Strawberry in check. We hope they’ll do the same thingin Scofield.”

    Biologists are anxious to see which of the two trout is the most effective predator -- Bear Lake cutthroat trout or tiger trout. “The information we gain will help us control chub populations better in other areas of the state,” Wilson says.

    Burbot and walleye

    Illegal fish introductions could greatly affect fishing at two popularwaters in northeastern Utah.

    Someone illegally placed burbot in a drainage above Flaming Gorge Reservoir several years ago. Now the burbot have made their way intothe reservoir. Then just last spring, walleye that were illegally placed in Red Fleet Reservoir started showing up in biologists’ gill nets in big numbers.

    To deal with these illegal introductions, DWR biologists arerecommending a catch-and-kill policy at Red Fleet. They’re also recommending liberalized ice fishing and spearfishing regulations at Flaming Gorge:

    - Anglers would be required to keep and kill all the walleyes theycaught at Red Fleet Reservoir.

    - Anglers at Flaming Gorge Reservoir must already kill every burbotthey catch. Starting in 2009, anglers could also use up to six poles tofish through the ice at the reservoir. A second pole permit would notbe required when fishing through the ice. However, a second pole permit would be required to fish with more than one pole at Flaming Gorge whenthe water is open, including when the water is open in the winter.

    Wilson says the ice-fishing season is the best time of year to catch burbot at the reservoir. “They’re not an attractive fish, but burbot are a great fish to eat,” he says. “This proposal would give anglers a chance to help the fishery and take more burbot home toeat.”

    Also at Flaming Gorge, spear fishermen could underwater spearfish forburbot 24 hours a day, throughout the year. They could also use artificial lights, but only when pursuing burbot. These underwater spearfishing changes should result in additional burbot being taken.

    News Source: Utah DWR - Aug. 24, 2008

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