Fish limits, regulations changed for many Utah waterbodies due to drought

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Emergency fishing regulations have been issued for Utah waterbodies amidst widespread drought and hot water temperatures.

Starting Thursday, July 1, some waterbodies will see increased daily fish limits or modified regulations, according to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

These efforts aim to reduce potential fish die-off in some bodies of water, allowing anglers to catch and keep more fish at some locations.

DWR explains that smaller amounts of water, seen amid drought conditions, heat up more quickly and warm to higher temperatures. This combination can be problematic for fish as warm water holds less oxygen which can cause poor growth, disease, or even death.

Here are the changes taking effect:

Community fishing ponds

All 57 community fishing ponds will see an increase of a two trout bonus limit, meaning anglers can keep a four fish maximum with the stipulation that at least two of those fish are trout. This remains in effect until Aug. 31, 2021.

Reservoirs and lakes

The below changes remain in effect until Oct. 31, 2021.

  • Vernon Reservoir, Tooele County: Increasing the daily limit to eight trout
  • Lower Bowns Reservoir, Garfield County: Increasing the daily limit to eight trout
  • Minersville Reservoir, Beaver County: Removing the restrictions on the use of bait and the size of trout you can keep
  • Middle Kents Lake, Beaver County: Increasing the daily limit to eight trout
  • Puffer Lake, Beaver County: Increasing the daily limit to eight trout

“This summer, we are anticipating very low water levels at Minersville Reservoir and are expecting it to kill some fish,” DWR Sportfish Coordinator Randy Oplinger says. “There is a conservation pool at Minersville, but it can’t sustain the current amount of fish in the reservoir. We would like additional fish to be harvested to reduce the total amount of fish, so that some will survive in the conservation pool. While using bait to fish has previously been illegal, we want to open up Minersville Reservoir to anglers who are more harvest-oriented, so they can help reduce the amount of fish. This temporary regulation change is intended to protect the fishery and prevent a total fish loss, so the fishery can recover more quickly when drought conditions subside.” 

This is the second round of emergency fishing changes made this summer, with earlier regulations taking place in May at 10 waterbodies.

DWR has provided this list of additional waterbodies where fishing is not expected to see any impacts.

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