DWR proposes several changes to fishing limits throughout Utah

Dan Lane reaches for a different fly while fishing on the Blacksmith Fork River last June. DWR said they found a record number of people buying hunting and fishing licenses this year due to the pandemic.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is proposing a few changes to some of Utah’s fishing regulations, along with a few other rule amendments, and is seeking the public’s feedback.

An assortment of fishing lures helps when trying to catch bass.

“The DWR conducted surveys during the spring of 2020 to get feedback from anglers across the state on these proposed changes,” Public Information Officer Faith Heaton Jolley said. “The majority of anglers were in support of these recommendations.”

DWR proposes the following changes:

  • Clarifying the statewide kokanee salmon limit to four total fish, including any trout caught. Clarifying that kokanee salmon are included in the statewide four trout limit that includes salmon, grayling and hybrids (a combined total). This change will also clarify that anglers may not possess kokanee salmon at any waterbody statewide from Sept. 10 through Nov. 30.
  • Decreasing the statewide wiper daily limit from six fish to three fish at all waterbodies. Wipers are a sterile fish and can’t reproduce. so their populations are solely dependent on stocking.
  • Increasing the statewide daily limit for northern pike from six fish to 20 fish, with one over 36 inches. Because northern pike are voracious predators, this change would help protect native fish species and sportfish.
  • Allowing anglers to use bait without a hook to fish for crayfish in waterbodies where bait is prohibited.

The following proposed changes are specific to certain waterbodies across Utah:

Decreasing the Flaming Gorge bass daily limit from 10 fish to three fish (smallmouth and largemouth bass combined) in collaboration with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. If approved by both states, this regulation would go into effect in the Utah portion of Flaming Gorge on Jan. 1, 2021 and the Wyoming portion on Jan. 1, 2022.

  • Increasing the maximum number of kokanee salmon allowed in the Flaming Gorge daily trout limit to four fish instead of three.
  • Increasing the Pelican Lake bluegill daily limit from zero to 15 fish, allowing five fish to be over 7 inches.
  • File photo of Rachel Newswander and her children fishing at Skylar’s Pond located in Willow park May 29, 2020.

    Creating a seasonal closure for spearfishing at Red Fleet Reservoir.

  • Decreasing the daily limit at Red Fleet Reservoir from 50 for each panfish species (bluegill, green sunfish, black crappie and yellow perch) to a combined total of 50 panfish, with no more than 20 black crappie in that total.
  • Decreasing the daily limit at Starvation
  • Reservoir from 50 for each panfish species (bluegill, green sunfish, black crappie and yellow perch) to a combined total of 20 panfish.
  • Adjusting the fishing closure dates at West Fork Duchesne River from Jan. 1 through the second Saturday in July to May 15 through the second Saturday of July. This change will increase fishing opportunities in the area.
  • Adjusting the closure dates at Wolf Creek from Jan. 1 through the second Saturday in July to May 15 through the second Saturday of July.
  • Opening part of Red Butte Creek in Salt Lake City to fishing. Upstream of the entrance to Red Butte Canyon Research Natural Area to the headwaters would remain closed to fishing.
  • Closing Ken’s Lake to spearfishing in order to protect a vulnerable sportfish population.
  • Adjusting spearfishing closure dates at Fish Lake to the first Saturday in June through Sept. 10, in order to coincide with the statewide Utah Wildlife Board Utah Wildlife Board statewide kokanee salmon fishing closures.
A file photo of Curtis Orlowski, vacationing from Washington State, sets his daughter Rylee, 9, up with a fishing pole at the Heritage Park Pond in Garden City.

The public comment period for the Utah Wildlife Board meeting opened on Aug. 24 and will close at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 27. The public comments previously submitted will be shared with the RAC and wildlife board members. While members of the public can watch a livestream of each of the RAC meetings and the Utah Wildlife Board meeting, public comments will not be accepted during these electronic meetings.

The electronic meetings for Northern Utah RAC will be held Sept. 2 at 6 p.m. Public comments must be submitted by Aug. 30 at 11:59 p.m. The Utah Wildlife Board meeting will be held Oct. 1 at 9 a.m. Public comments must be submitted by Sept. 27 at 11:59 p.m.

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1 Comment

  • Erik August 27, 2020 at 7:59 pm Reply

    do not increase Kokanee limmits! The fishing pressure is increasing so dmfast the Kokanee numbers are goung down fast do not change the best Kokanee fisheries in world ! The Kokanee are suffering from so much fishing pressure! this would be death for the Gorge

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