SALT LAKE CITY —Utah Division of Wildlife Resources reported three of the four fishermen that broke Utah State fishing records in 2021 were from the northern Utah area.
Travis Hobbs, a Garden City contractor currently living in Fish Haven, fished 34 days during December 2020 and January 2021. On January 17 of 2021 Hobbs hooked a 31-inch Cutthroat trout. When he is not working or catching fish he is hunting.
“I knew it was a state record when I saw it in the net,” he said. “Anyone who goes fishing knows how thrilling it is to catch a fish, especially if it is a large and a potentially record-breaking one.”
He fishes during the winter when his construction business is slow. The fish was a catch-and-release record.
Colby Woodruff of Brigham City caught a record breaking 32-inch Walley on the Bear River on March 12. He was fishing from his boat.
“You can get a fish like that fishing from the bank,” he said. “Walley are in here I don’t think a lot of people know that.”
Woodruff said they can be caught if you know what you are doing. Besides walleye catfish and bass are plentiful if you know where to find them.
“I fish everywhere I can: Willard Bay, Hyrum Reservoir and Pineview,” he said. “I throw just about everything back.”
He said he’s caught bigger fish, but never had a witness with him until his March 12 catch.
Hyde Park fisherman Brett Bardsley hiked a couple miles into Pine Creek Reservoir on Boulder Mountain just south of the town of Torrey where he caught a 19-inch Colorado River Cutthroat trout on Pine Creek Reservoir on May 15.
“I used a Snow Cone to catch him,” he said. “I’ve caught other fish in there too. In fact the same day I caught a 21 inch Tiger trout on the same trip.”
As a geologist he keeps in touch with a lot of biologists that tell him where there are fishing gems throughout the state.
“I usually just catch and release fish. When I do keep they are smaller,” Bardsley said. “I understand bigger fish aren’t as good to eat.”
The DWR began tracking records for harvested fish in the early 1900s. Since then, the record fish program has expanded to also include catch-and-release records and records for fish caught using alternate tackle, like spearfishing, archery and setline.
There are currently 33 state catch-and-keep angling records, 38 state catch-and-release records, 21 state spearfishing records, six state setline records and three state archery records in Utah. View all the state fishing records on the DWR website.
“The primary reason that the DWR tracks record fish is to provide anglers with recognition of their achievements,” DWR Aquatics Assistant Chief Craig Walker said.
Eleven statewide fishing records were set in 2020, and five were set in 2019.
If an angler thinks he or she may have caught a record catch-and-release fish, they can submit it on the DWR website. Submission must include a photo that shows the fish next to a measuring device such as a yardstick or tape measure, and the release of the fish must be witnessed and certified in writing.
To submit a catch-and-keep record, anglers must submit a photo of the fish, as well as its total length, girth and weight. The fish must be weighed using a certified commercial scale, and the weighing must be witnessed and certified in writing by two independent witnesses who are not members of the individual’s fishing party or family.
A Utah Division of Wildlife Resources employee must witness and certify in writing the species, total fish length and girth verification.