SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Conservation officers say it may be a good time to review the Utah Fishing 2019 Guidebook and its regulations because if you’re caught illegally taking fish from one of Utah’s bodies of water, you may actually be hurting the natural habitat and can face hundreds in fines.
The Division of Wildlife Resources says get ready to see more DWR checkpoints approved by local judges across the state to protect Utah fish.
“If people have been involved in hunting or fishing activities they are required to stop, and it is signed by a judge, and when the people stop in we will go through and check their compliance,” said DWR Conservation Officer Shawn Bagley.
Last Sunday, Conservation Officers did a checkpoint at Strawberry Reservoir.
At the checkpoint, 254 vehicles were stopped, 30 citations issued and 47 illegal fish were taken, most believed to be Utah’s, Cutthroat Trout.
“The majority of violations were fish that were within that 15-22 inches that are restricted that were taken away. Another group of fish were taken away because they were filet and they are not supposed to be filet at the reservoir,” Ofc. Bagley said.
The wash station at Strawberry Resivor is for cleaning fish, like gutting them, but not to filet them according to DWR.
Officers say if you filet the fish then they can’t identify the type of fish it is.
Ofc. Bagley adds, “If they are within 15-22 inch slot size, they are not allowed to keep those fish and we are detecting those people who violated that rule.”
DWR officials say it’s a part of the management program that’s been in place for the last 25 years.
Officers say if you take the illegal fish from Strawberry Reservoir, then the undesirable Utah Chub population will grow.
“Once their population gets up so high the other fish, the cutthroat and the rainbows can’t compete with them for a food source, so the management was to have the fisheries for larger cutthroat that can harvest those fish themselves and keep their populations in check,” said Ofc. Bagley.
DWR Conservation officers say taking fish illegally can cost hundreds of dollars in fines.
The 47 fish DWR’s confiscated were taken to a food bank in Heber City.