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Wasatch County -- If there’s one comment wildlife officers at Strawberry Reservoir hear time and again, it’s “a guy at the fishing cleaning station had cutthroat trout that we’re not allowed to keep. The fish were within the slot limit. I’m certain of it.”
So what is the cutthroat trout slot limit at Strawberry Reservoir? Why does it matter? And how many anglers are breaking it?
Cutthroats at Strawberry
You may keep a total of four fish at Strawberry Reservoir. Those fish can be any combination of trout or kokanee salmon.
But there’s also another rule: only two of the four fish can becutthroat trout that are less than 15 inches in length. And only one can be a cutthroat trout that’s more than 22 inches long.
You may not keep cutthroats that are between 15 and 22 inches long. All cutthroat trout from 15 to 22 inches must be released immediately.
Also, you may not fillet the trout and salmon you catch at Strawberry,or remove their heads or tails, until you get the fish home.
“This special limit on cutthroats is one of the main reasons Strawberry Reservoir is one of the best trout fishing waters in thecountry,” says Alan Ward, the Division of Wildlife Resource’s leadaquatic biologist at Strawberry.
“Bear Lake cutthroat trout are excellent chub eaters,” Ward says. “They’re the key to keeping the Utah chub population in thereservoir in check.
“If the chub population at Strawberry ever gets out of control, thefantastic fishing anglers have enjoyed at the reservoir for years willbe gone forever.”
So how are anglers at doing? Are they obeying a rule that’s vital to ensuring that fishing at Utah’s most popular fishery remains good forthem and their kids and grandkids?
Recently, DWR and other law enforcement officers conducted a checkpointat Strawberry. What they found provides some answers.
During the checkpoint, officers stopped and checked 346 vehicles. Ofthe anglers checked, just more than 3 percent of them (3.3 percent) werewritten a citation for committing some type of fishing violation.
That’s slightly higher than the 2.5 percent compliance rate officersusually see at the reservoir.
“The results tell us that more than 96 percent of the anglers at Strawberry are obeying the law,”
Ward says. “We’re very happy about that. But we won’t be entirely happy until we get 100 percent compliance.” Ward explains why it’s so important to obey the fishing rules at Strawberry.
“Anglers spend 1 million hours a year fishing at this award-winningreservoir. Because of the huge amount of pressure the water receives,it’s absolutely vital that anglers obey the regulations,” Wardsays.
“It’s really rewarding to see that our management strategy atStrawberry is working and to see the smiles on the faces of anglers whofish here,” he says.
“But we need the help of anglers to keep the reservoir one of the nation’s best fisheries.”
More information More information about the cutthroat and rainbow trout in Strawberry,including easy ways to tell the difference between the two, is availablein the DWR’s free Strawberry Reservoir brochure.
The brochure is available at www.wildife.utah.gov. You can access thebrochure directly by typing www.wildlife.utah.gov/strawberry/pdf/strawberry_brochure.pdf into your Web browser.
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