SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has stocked over 8.2 million fish throughout Utah waterbodies in an effort to combat the effects of the drought and provide a positive fishing experience for the public, according to a press release.
The DWR has been stocking waterbodies in Utah since 1871, over 150 years ago. In recent years, they have adjusted their strategy to improve survival rates for fish. The department now stocks fewer, larger fish, and places them in waterbodies that have not been as impacted by the drought.
Drought conditions reportedly cause a reduction in water levels, which increases water temperature and drops oxygen levels in the water. This can have many adverse effects on fish, including disease, poor growth, or death. For this reason, the DWR has started placing warmwater fish species in drought-impacted waterbodies and adjusting the timing of when they are stocked.
“Stocking fish helps ensure that the public has a great fishing experience. It also helps in the recovery of threatened or endangered fish. June suckers were downlisted from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act because of recovery efforts, including stocking,” DWR Aquatic Section Assistant Chief Craig Schaugaard said.
The division said the vast majority of fish stocked in 2022 came from Utah’s 13 local hatcheries. In order to control overpopulation, the hatcheries provide some fish that are sterile and thus unable to reproduce.
Some of the fish species included in this year’s stocking are the June sucker, crappie, chub, channel catfish, wiper, walleye, kokanee salmon, bluegill, tiger muskie and several trout species.