Emergency changes made to Utah fishing regulations as drought continues

Utah Drought

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – As Utah continues to see low water levels – despite recent rain and associated flash flooding – wildlife officials are concerned about the state’s fish population.

In May, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources increased fishing limits at 10 different waterbodies. Then again in July, DWR increased fish limits and modified some regulations.

Now, two months later, wildlife officials are anticipating continued low water levels due to the drought conditions, prompting additional emergency changes to the state’s fishing regulations.

DWR explains the drought causes lower water levels, which can heat up more quickly. Warmer water holds less oxygen than colder water.

Fish require that oxygen and without it, they can suffer from poor growth, disease, and even death.

The changes are intended to allow anglers to catch and keep more of Utah’s fish at additional waterbodies in the hopes of reducing the likelihood of fish die-offs.

Effective immediately, the following changes are in place. They will remain in place until Oct. 31, 2021.

Central Utah

  • Fairview Lakes, Sanpete County: Increasing the daily limit to eight trout
  • McClellan Reservoir, Utah County: Increasing the daily limit to eight trout
  • Mona Reservoir, Juab County: Increasing the daily limit to a combined total of 20 for wiper, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass
  • Palisade Reservoir, Sanpete County: Increasing the daily limit to a combined total of 20 for wiper, trout (any species) and black crappie
  • Payson Lake (Big East), Utah County: Increasing the daily limit to eight trout
  • Towne (Town) Reservoir, Sanpete County: Increasing the daily limit to eight trout

Northern Utah

  • Newton Reservoir, Cache County: Increasing the daily limit to 100 bluegill, 100 yellow perch and 100 black crappie
  • Pineview Reservoir, Weber County: Increasing the daily limit to 100 bluegill, 100 yellow perch, 40 black crappie and 48 black bullhead

Southeastern Utah

  • Monticello Lake, San Juan County: Increasing the daily limit to eight trout

Southern Utah

  • Navajo Lake, Kane County: Increasing the daily limit to 16 trout, any size. The DWR is considering a rotenone treatment at Navajo Lake later this fall to remove an overabundant population of Utah chub. The trout in the lake are currently struggling, due to competition for food and oxygen, so this regulation increase will give anglers the opportunity to catch and keep more of the trout.  
  • Otter Creek Reservoir, Piute County: Increasing the daily limit to 16 trout, 12 wipers and 24 smallmouth bass. The daily fish limit was previously increased in May and is being raised again due to the ongoing decline in water levels at the reservoir. 

All other rules, found in the 2021 Utah Fish Guidebook, have not changed and remain in effect.

If you plan to use boats during your fishing trip, be sure to check for updates on each waterbody to see if the boat ramps are open. You can get updates on the status of boat ramps here.

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