Thursday, April 29, 2010

Share Your Fishing Ideas with the DWR no later than June 1

Is there a fishing regulation in Utah that you’d like to see change? Or do you have an idea for a new rule?
If so, biologists with the Division of Wildlife Resources want to hear from you.

The biologists are already working on possible fishing changes for 2011. They need your ideas no later than June 1 to consider them for next year.

“2011 is still months away, but our biologists need time to consider your idea and determine whether or not it might work,” says Drew Cushing, warm water sport fisheries coordinator for the DWR.

“Please get your ideas to us by June 1.”

After examining the ideas they receive, biologists will present their final recommendations to the public in September.

“We don’t hear from as many individual anglers as we’d like to,” Cushing says. “We hope those who don’t belong to a fishing group will share their ideas with us too.”

Three ways
You can share your ideas with the DWR three different ways:

- e-mail your ideas to

- mail your ideas to:

Sport Fisheries Coordinator
Division of Wildlife Resources
Box 146301
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6301

- attend your upcoming Regional Advisory Council meeting. You can share your ideas at any of the following meetings:

- attend your upcoming Regional Advisory Council meeting. You can share your ideas at any of the following meetings:

Southern Region
May 11 at 7 p.m.
Beaver High School
195 E. Center St.

Southeastern Region
May 12 at 6:30 p.m.
John Wesley Powell Museum
1765 E. Main St.
Green River

Northeastern Region
May 13 at 6:30 p.m.
Uintah Basin Applied Tech College
450 N. 2000 W.

Central Region
May 18 at 6:30 p.m.
Springville Civic Center
50 S. Main St.

Northern Region
May 19at  6 p.m.
Brigham City Community Center
24 N. 300 W.
Brigham City

Reduced bass limits

One of the ideas the biologists are considering should result in more bass anglers and larger bass for anglers to catch.

Reducing the total number of bass limits in Utah—from eight major limits down to three—is their idea. Specifically, biologists are recommending the following for 2011:

- A limit of six bass—with no size restrictions—at most of the Utah’s bass waters.

- Five reservoirs—Jordanelle, Quail Creek, Sand Hollow, Gunlock and Huntington North—would also have a six-bass limit. But only one bass in that six-bass limit could be longer than 12 inches.

- Biologists would also like to simplify the bass limits at Lake Powell and Flaming Gorge. But they need to do additional work with biologists in Arizona and Wyoming to make that happen.

It’s likely the bass limit at Lake Powell and Flaming Gorge in 2011 will be similar to the limits in place now at those waters.

New anglers, larger bass
Biologists believe the new limits would be a good change for bass and bass anglers in Utah.

“Right now, Utah’s bass waters are facing a challenge: they’re overpopulated with smaller bass,” Cushing says.

At every bass water in Utah except Lake Powell, anglers are keeping four percent or less of the total adult bass population each year.

They’re releasing the rest of the bass they catch. “What anglers are ending up with are tons of bass in the nine- to 12-inch range,” Cushing says. “Many anglers aren’t happy with these smaller fish. But if they want larger bass, then they need to remove some of the smaller fish.”

Cushing says the new limits should benefit all bass anglers, ranging from those who are new to bass fishing to those who have fished for years.

“Beginning anglers aren’t as concerned about the size of the bass they catch. They’re happy with smaller fish. And they want a chance to keep some fish,” Cushing says.

Cushing says it’s tough to recruit new anglers to bass fishing with eight different bass limits, including some that are fairly restrictive. “If we can reduce the number of bass limits, make the limits easier to understand and give anglers a chance to keep some fish, we think more anglers will give bass fishing a try.”

The new regulations would also help experienced bass anglers.

“More of the smaller bass need to be removed to make room for bigger fish. These smaller fish are eating most of the food and utilizing most of the cover that’s available in these waters,” Cushing says. “Imagine Utah’s bass waters are a big cookie jar. You can fill the jar with large cookies or with crumbs, but there isn’t enough room in the jar for both.”

Cushing says Jordanelle, Quail Creek, Sand Hollow and Gunlock are four waters biologists believe have the potential to grow large bass. Allowing anglers to keep six bass—but limiting them to not more than one bass longer than 12 inches—should keep plenty of big bass in these waters for anglers to catch.

Cushing says that won’t happen, though, unless those who fish these waters are willing to keep bass that are less than 12 inches long. “If they don’t take some of these smaller bass, it will be difficult for the bass grow to a larger size,” he says.

Cushing says the regulation at Huntington North is designed to provide the bass in the reservoir with extra protection. “The water level at the reservoir fluctuates a lot,” he says. “In fact, water levels in all of our bass waters are the limiting factor facing bass in the state. Good water years mean great fishing. Poor water years mean poor fishing.”

For more information, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR’s Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.

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