UTAH (ABC4) – The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) took a closer look at the fish in our reservoirs and determined if drought water quality or natural selection is influencing our wildlife.  

This survey kind of acts like a snapshot, not only of the health and diversity of the fish in these waters, but also the waters themselves. That way DNR can make your fishing experience more enjoyable. 

“It’s kind of part of our sampling protocol to get a better understanding of the fish populations that we have throughout this lake,” DNR blue ribbon sport fish biologist Tyler Robinson said. 

The surveys only happen two to three times a year, tallying the number and species of fish and testing the water quality. 

Large gillnets are set in the water to catch enough fish to give wildlife experts an idea of what species are thriving how healthy they look and if there’s enough for fishing. 

DNR takes this research and tries to manage the area so a variety of fish and fishermen benefit. 

“Diversity is really important to anglers. When we are looking at what we can do to improve angler satisfaction a lot of what we hear is that they want more diverse species,” DNR regional aquatics manager Chris Crockett said. 

A challenge they’re seeing is the drought. 

They said Jordanelle’s water levels are lowering but stable. However, nearby at Deer Creek, boat ramps closed due to water drying up.  

Low water levels mean higher temperatures and less oxygen in the water. 

“Warmer temperatures that causes more stress on the fish and hence could create a fish kill if those water temperatures  are too high,” Robinson said. 

It also can affect fish reproduction, overall impacting your experience out on the water. 

“For example the kokanee that we hope go into the Provo river to spawn those water levels obviously have been low and that it can impact the success obviously it can impact just your ability as a fisherman. Where you used to fish is now dry land,” Crockett said. 

The results of Tuesday’s survey were a mixed bag, with many promising signs but also lower numbers than expected. 

DNR said things are looking up at Jordanelle, but across Utah we need to be water wise to help our fisheries. 

“We’re just keeping our fingers crossed and encouraging Utahns to use water wisely and that we don’t have future problems,” Crockett said.