Friday, August 26, 2011

Four upland game hunts open Sept. 1

Photo courtesy Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Lots of doves in Utah
It's time to oil your shotgun and grab some shells—four upland game hunts are about to begin.

Lots of mourning doves are in Utah right now. This fall's dove hunt starts Sept. 1.

Sept. 1, 2011 is the first day you can hunt dove, forest grouse, cottontail rabbit and snowshoe hare in Utah this fall. But it won't be the last day. Many of Utah's upland game seasons—which were already long—have been lengthened even more this year.

You can see the new season dates in the 2011–2012 Utah Upland Game & Turkey Guidebook. The free guidebook is available at .

Justin Dolling, upland game and waterfowl coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says DWR biologists are seeing lots of doves in Utah. And they're also seeing good numbers of cottontail rabbits in concentrated pockets across the state.

The number of forest grouse biologists are seeing is mixed—in some areas, grouse numbers appear to be up this year. In other areas, they appear to be down.

The number of snowshoe hares is similar to last year.

Mourning dove
Dolling says DWR biologists are seeing good numbers of doves in Utah right now.

That's not surprising, considering what they saw last spring. During late May surveys along dove survey routes, the number of mourning doves biologists saw was up a whopping 247 percent from what they saw in May 2010.

Dolling says dove habitat is plentiful in Utah this year. And the habitat is in excellent condition. "The moisture the state received this spring and summer led to excellent plant growth," he says. "Lots of sunflowers and weedy vegetation are available for the doves.

"I'm expecting a good dove hunt this year."

Forest grouse
Dusky and ruffed grouse reports Dolling has received are mixed. In some areas of the state, forest grouse numbers appear to be up. In other areas, the numbers appear to be down.

Dolling says gathering information about forest grouse is challenging for DWR biologists. "We have a limited number of biologists and a lot of surveys to conduct," he says. "Our biologists have to gather forest grouse information while they're in the field working on other projects or surveying other species."

The following is a summary of the forest grouse reports Dolling has received from each of the DWR's five regions:

Region Summary

Northern Grouse are doing better this year than in 2010. Both dusky and ruffed grouse numbers appear to be up.

Central Most of the forest grouse chicks that were born last spring survived, but a lot of water and habitat are available for the birds. Grouse will be spread out this fall.

Northeastern A cold spring may have affected grouse production in the region this year.

Southeastern The number of grouse in the northern part of the region appears to be down. Chick survival was much better in the southern part of the region, though. Good numbers of grouse await those who hunt in the southern part of the region.

Southern The number of grouse appears to be down from previous years. Vast areas of grouse habitat burned during the past few years. While the fires have affected grouse in the short term, the fires will improve the habitat and should result in more grouse in future years.

Cottontail Rabbit
Cottontail rabbit populations go through a cycle that lasts about 10 years.

At the start of the cycle, rabbit numbers are high. Then the number of rabbits decreases until it bottoms out about five years later. After bottoming out, the population starts to increase again until it reaches a high point about five years after bottoming out.

Then the cycle repeats itself.

Dolling says the number of rabbits in Utah is increasing after bottoming out about two years ago.

DWR biologists are conducting rabbit surveys right now, and early indications are encouraging—they're seeing good numbers of rabbits in concentrated pockets across the state.

Outside of those areas, though, rabbits are scarcer.

"Rabbit populations are rebounding," Dolling says, "but they haven't reached a point where enough rabbits are available to spread out and fill all of the available habitat.

"If you can find a group of rabbits," Dolling says, "you should be in for a good hunt."

Snowshoe hare
The only snowshoe hare surveys in Utah are conducted by the U.S. Forest Service in the northern part of the state.

Those surveys indicate the number of snowshoe hares in northern Utah is increasing slightly.

"Snowshoe hares are a fun animal to hunt," Dolling says, "but they aren't real abundant, even in areas that have good habitat.

"I'd encourage you to give snowshoe hare hunting a try," he says, "especially in the winter, when there isn't as much to do in the outdoors. Hunting snowshoes is a fun and unique opportunity. And it can provide you with a lot of solitude."

Before you hunt hares, Dolling encourages you to learn the difference between a snowshoe hare and a white-tailed jackrabbit. Illustrations and descriptions that show and explain the difference are available on pages 46 and 47 of the 2011–2012 Utah Upland Game & Turkey Guidebook.

The free guidebook is available at .

Friday, July 1, 2011

July 4th Forest Service Campground Update for Utah

Flooding in Guinavah-Malibu campground June 29, 2011
SALT LAKE CITY, June 30, 2011 – Campgrounds in the five Utah National Forests are expected to be busy over the 4th of July. Most campgrounds have first-come-first serve area available, but they fill up quickly on holidays.

Forest visitors need to adhere to road closure signage or blockades, DO NOT create routes around these closures. This creates an illegal route and damages the resource, and creates a safety hazard for visitors.

Recreation users who plan to take their All Terrain-Vehicles (ATV’s) should contact local Ranger District offices for current information on open roads and trails. Riders should be properly trained and remember to protect the fragile surroundings. Always keep your ATV on designated roads and trails.

Photo of ATV that rolled off a road that was closed due to wet and muddy conditions on the Spanish Fork Ranger District

Higher elevation trails and roads are still wet, muddy and snow covered above 8,000 feet.

When hiking, dress appropriately and be aware of snow bridges and hidden moats on higher elevation trails. Carry extra water, food and take along a coat and matches in case the weather turns bad. Always let someone know where you are hiking and approximately when you will return and never hike alone.

Please keep campfires in the designated fire pits and make sure they are out cold before leaving them unattended. ABSOLUTELY NO FIREWORKS ON NATIONAL FOREST SERVICE SYSTEM LANDS. Have a great holiday on your National Forest and please be safe.

The following is a listing of Forest Service campgrounds that will be open for the Fourth of July holiday:

ASHLEY NATIONAL FOREST (435) 789-1181 or
Duchesne Ranger District (435) 738-2482
All campgrounds are open with water and fees, except Yellowstone, Bridge and Riverview campgrounds which are closed due to flooding. Please call the District for the most current information.

 All campgrounds are open with water and fees, except Skull Creek, Red Springs and Spirit Lake which are closed due to standing water and snow.

If staying in a developed campground in the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, you are not required to pay the use fee. Day passes are $5.00, 7 day passes are $15.00 and annual passes are $35.00. Passes are available in Manila, Utah and in Evanston, Rock Springs and Green River, Wyoming and local businesses in and around the Flaming Gorge area.

Roosevelt Ranger District (435) 722-5018
 Moon Lake campground is open with water and fees. Please call for the most current information pertaining to all other campgrounds in the Roosevelt Ranger District.

Vernal Ranger District (435) 789-1181
All campgrounds are open with water and fees, except Lodgepole campground, which is still closed.

DIXIE NATIONAL FOREST (435) 865-3700 or

Cedar City Ranger District (435) 865-3200
 All campgrounds are open with water and fees, except Yankee Meadows campground which is open with fees, but no water.

Escalante Ranger District (435) 826-5400
All campgrounds are open with water and fees.

Pine Valley Ranger District (435) 652-3100
 All campgrounds are open with water and fees, except Oak Grove campground which will be open with fees but no water all season.

Powell Ranger District (435) 676-9300
All campgrounds are open with water and fees.


Beaver Ranger District (435) 438-2436
All campgrounds are open with water and fees, except LeBaron Lake which is open with fees but no water. Big John Flat will not be open.

Fillmore Ranger District (435) 743-5721
 All campgrounds are open with water and fees, except Oak Creek which will be open with fees and no water.

Fremont Ranger District (435) 836-2811
 All campgrounds are open with water and fees.

Richfield Ranger District (435) 896-9233
 All campgrounds are open with water and fees.


Ferron/Price Ranger District (435) 637-2817 or (435) 384-2372
 All campgrounds are open with water and fees except Flat Canyon campground, which is open but with no water. Trough Spring area will not be open for the weekend. Reeder Canyon Trail is closed.

Moab Ranger District (435) 259-7155
All campgrounds are open fees, but no water.

Monticello Ranger District (435) 587-2041
 All campgrounds are open with water and fees.

SanPete Ranger District (435) 283-4151
 All campgrounds are open with water and fees, except 12 Mile which is closed due to snow. Manti Community which will be open with no water but fees will be charged. Maple Canyon campground will be open with fees and does not have a water system. South Skyline Drive is still closed due to snow and 12 Mile Canyon Road is open, but only to the six mile cutoff.

UINTA-WASATCH-CACHE NATIONAL FOREST (801) 236-3400 OR (801) 342-5100

Heber-Kamas Ranger District (435) 654-0470 or (435) 783-4338
 Smith Morehouse and the lower loop in Ledgefork campground located along the Weber River drainage are open with water and fees. Ponderosa group, Yellow Pine, Pine Valley group, Soapstone, Shady Dell and Cobble Rest campgrounds located along the Mirror Lake Highway are open with water and fees. Cedar Hollow ATV trail system is open. The Mirror Lake Highway (Utah State Route 150) is open from Kamas to Evanston. Trial Lake, Lily Lake, Lost Lake, Washington Lake, Mirror Lake, Moosehorn, and Butterfly Lake campgrounds, are closed due to snow and Lower Provo and Taylors Fork campgrounds will remain closed due to flooding. Solider Creek, Strawberry Bay, Renegade, Aspen Grove and Current Creek campgrounds are open with water and fees. Lodgepole campground, Loop B is open with water and fees, Loop A is open with fees, but no water. Mill Hollow campground  and reservoir will remain closed due to wet and snowy conditions.

Photo taken on June 23, 2011 of the mud slide on the Farmington Canyon Road

Evanston/Mt. View Ranger District (307) 789-3194 or (307) 782-6555
 East Fork and Bear River campgrounds will be closed, due to flooding. Hayden Fork, Christmas Meadows and Beaver View are open with water and fees. Sulpher campground is open with fees, but no water. The Lilly Lake Dump Station will be CLOSED for the July 4th weekend. Whitney Reservoir is accessible, but use caution, roads and trails are still wet and muddy. Upper Wolverine ATV trail is closed due to flooding. The North Slope road is open to Mckenzie Creek, approximately7 1/2 miles from the Mirror Lake Highway. East Fork of the Bear is open and accessible. The Bear River Ranger Station located on the Mirror Lake Highway is open Thursday through Monday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (435) 642-6662.

Visitors parked or camping along the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway must display a fee pass. 3 Day passes are $6.00, 7-day passes are $12.00 and annual passes are $45.00. Passes can be purchased at Forest Service Offices in Kamas, Utah, Evanston, Wyoming and local business in Kamas and Evanston. These passes are also valid in the American Fork Canyon area.

Little Lyman and Stateline campgrounds are open with fees, but no water. Meeks Cabin, Bridger, Marsh and Hoop Lake campgrounds are open with water and fees. Deadhorse ATV trail is open and accessible. Henry’s Fork is accessible to Henry’s Fork Basin, approximately 5 ½ miles from the trailhead, beyond the basin there is standing water and snow and the river is running extremely high.

From Gunsight Pass into Kings Peak will require snowshoes.

Pleasant Grove Ranger District (801) 785-3563
Little Mill campground is open with a fee, but no water. Granite Flat, Mt. Timpanogos and Hope campgrounds are open with water and fees. The majority of the units in Timpooneke campground are open. Altamont and Theater-in-the Pines group sites are open. Rock Canyon campground is closed due to an avalanche. The Silver Lake Flat Road is open to the trailhead. Squaw Peak Road is open approximately 2.5 miles past Hope campground. Mineral Basin, Shaffer, Timpooneke and the North Fork of American Fork Canyon are closed, due to wet and muddy conditions. Cascade Springs is accessible from the Solider Hollow/Midway side ONLY.

A recreation pass is required for the American Fork Canyon-Alpine Scenic Loop area and is available at local Forest Service offices or at the entrance stations to the Scenic Loop. The special use fee is $6.00 for a three-day pass per vehicle, $12.00 for a 7 day pass and $45.00 for the annual pass. These passes are also valid in the Mirror Lake Area.

Spanish Fork Ranger District (801) 798-3571:
All campgrounds are open with water and fees. Maple Bench and Maple Lake campgrounds will be closed through mid-summer due to campground renovation and construction. The Mona Pole road is closed due to snow. The Nebo Loop road is open on the north side to Blackhawk campground and is open on the south side to the junction with Salt Creek Road, while construction crews are repairing the Red Creek slump. Santaquin Canyon road is open from Santaquin to the Nebo Loop Road.

Ogden Ranger District (801) 625-5306
 All campgrounds are open with water and fees, except Jefferson Hunt, due to flooding, and Monte Cristo, due to snow. No ATV trails are accessible on the Ogden Ranger District. All trails within the Wheeler Creek Complex will be open on July 1, 2011.

Logan Ranger District (435) 755-3620
 Box Elder, Spring Hollow, Lodge, and Sunrise campgrounds are open with water and fees. Lewis M. Turner, Friendship and Spring campgrounds are open with fees, but no water. Tony Grove campground is closed due to snow. High Creek, Cowley Canyon/Herd Hollow, West Hodges, Temple Fork, Smithfield Canyon, Millville Peak, Twin Creek, Temple Fork, Dip Hollow-Long Hollow, Marie Springs and Left Hand Fork 4X4 roads are all closed. Worm Fence ATV trail area also closed. All higher elevation roads are still closed due to snow, wet, and muddy conditions. Please contact the Logan Ranger District office for the most current information pertaining to what roads and trails are open.

Salt Lake Ranger District (801) 466-6411Jordan Pines, Spruces and Tanners Flat campgrounds are open with water and fees. Silver Lake Visitor Center is open and only half of the boardwalk is accessible. Little Cottonwood Creek Trail is closed. Redman and Albion Basin campgrounds are closed due to snow. All picnic areas are open with fees. Intake, Cottonwood and Boy Scout campgrounds in South Willow Canyon are open with fees, but no water. Medina Flat picnic area is also open. South Willow Canyon is still closed just above the Boy Scout campground. Lower and Upper Narrow and Loop campgrounds are closed. Ward Canyon Road is open to the intersection with Skyline Drive and Sessions roads. Skyline and Sessions roads will remain closed until conditions support opening them. Farmington Canyon road remains closed due to a major rock slide and may not be accessible until mid to late July. Hikers need to be extra cautious while hiking on higher elevations trails in Mill Creek, and Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons, due to wet and muddy conditions.

Remember Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons are Salt Lake City Municipal Watersheds and dogs are not allowed in these canyons.

Friday, June 10, 2011

DWR To Host Fisheries Open House

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources will host a Public Open House regarding fisheries management on Tuesday, June 14th from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at DWR’s Central Region Conference Center located at 1115 North Main Street in Springville. The open house meeting is being held to give people interested in fisheries/aquatic resource management, a chance to talk directly with DWR staff and give input and suggestions on regulations, the fishing guidebook and fisheries management in general.

Sportfish biologists, native species biologists, Strawberry Reservoir Project Leaders and other staff from the DWR’s central region office will be on hand to gather input, suggestions and ideas from the public. The open house has no formal agenda, presentations or speakers other than to introduce the format of the open house and briefly present some recommendations already formalized on statewide issues. Verbal, written and electronic comments and suggestions are encouraged and will be gathered by DWR staff and recorded.

Friday, April 8, 2011

See Mountain Goats April 16

Viewers gather to watch goats at last year's event.
Photo by Scott Root, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Sandy -- Colorful flowers and warmer weather aren’t the only signs spring is here: So are mountain goats at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon!

You can see and learn more about the goats at a free wildlife-viewing event. The event will be held Saturday, April 16. Free activities for your children are also part of the event.

Bob Walters, Watchable Wildlife coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says April is one of the best months to see the goats. “This event will be a great opportunity to get out and watch their sure-footed antics,” he says.

The April 16 event will be held at the Park-and-Ride lot at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon in Salt Lake County. DWR biologists will be at the lot from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

To reach the canyon, travel east out of Sandy on 9400 South.

“You’ll be able to get a front-row look at these agile rock climbers using spotting scopes and binoculars we’ll have on hand,” Walters says. “You can also pick up a poster and a card that will teach you more about mountain goats.”

Activities for children will be held from 9 a.m. to noon. “Your kids can stamp goat tracks using ink stamps and paper that we’ll make available,” Walters says. “We’ll also have some goat horns and goat fur that you and your kids can pick up and handle.”

For more information, call Walters at (801) 209-5326.

Viewing goats on your own
If you’d like to see the goats before April 16, swing by the parking lot any time during the day. Fixed-point telescopes are available at the lot. The telescopes will allow you to get a close look at the goats. And an interpretive panel at the parking lot will teach you more about them.

Walters says goats are usually visible at the mouth of the canyon from November through mid April.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Spring Bass Fishing Techniques in the Southeast Region

Spring time is the time for love for Largemouth Bass. In the Southeast Region when the water temps reach 57 degrees and rising, the urge to spawn switch, is flipped on for Largemouth Bass. Bass will start coming up to the shallow flats and start looking for suitable nesting areas.

Now is the best time to catch the biggest bass of your life. Large females are putting on the feedbag in anticipation of the upcoming spawn. At this time of year it is not about quantity but quality. You will not catch big numbers of fish but the chance of catching a toad is very possible.

This is the time when large profile casting and flipping jigs work their magic. The jig is designed to mimic a crawfish, which is the preferred meal for Largemouth Bass. It provides lots of protein, something the bass will need for the rigors of spawning. Jigs have been a mainstay of the bass angler’s arsenal for many years.

Although the basic design hasn’t changed, the quality and use of high tech materials in the modern jig make it come to life under the water. The silicone skirts pulsate and wave with the slightest of movement, the heads are painted to look like the real thing and the hooks are strong and needle sharp. Trailers are added to the jig in the form of soft plastic or pork.

When the jig hits the bottom the heads tip up and the trailer looks like a crawfish in the defensive position. Rocky areas in the lake catch the suns rays and warm the water around them. The warming water attracts the bass as well as the crawfish. Target these rocky areas with jigs, casting them with the least amount of splash is the best method.

If possible cast to the edge of the shore and drag the jig into the water. Crawling the jig slowly across the rocks to mimic the newly emerged crawfish is what you are striving for. Let the jig fall off the rocks and watch your line. Hits will be light or nonexistent, and many times just the tick of your line or your line moving will be your sign to reel up the slack and set the hook. Sometimes when you lift your rod to move the jig you will feel extra weight, if you do set the hook. It does not cost anything to set the hook, if it feels different, set the hook.

Jig fishing requires sturdy gear, a baitcasting rod and reel is the best gear to fish this technique with. Baitcasting reels are like small winches and give you the best control over large fish in rocky or weedy areas. With a baitcasting reel spooled with 12 to 15 lb. test line and 6 ½ to 7 foot medium to heavy action rod, you will have an rig capable of horsing a big fish out of snags or sharp rocks.

Another piece of equipment that will become invaluable is a quality pair of polarized, UV resistant sunglasses. These will enable you to look into the shallow and pick out fish that are already on the nest. Sight fishing requires stealth, proper boat position and quiet casts. If a fish is located on a nest at this time of the year it will most likely be a large female getting ready to spawn.

Casting past the nest with a tube jig or soft plastic lizard, slowly inching it toward the nest will provoke the female to pick up the threat and move it or kill it. This technique requires patients and persistence. Casting past the nest is important; any cast into the nest will scare the fish off the nest. This technique is exciting, watching the fish turn and face the intruding lure, and if properly done, watching the fish take the lure will require steady nerves and quick reflexes. Studies have shown that catching bass off the nest is not detrimental to the population. But great care and limited handling of the fish is required. If you do catch the fish, get it to the boat as quickly as possible, have your camera at the ready and limit the amount of time you have the fish out of the water. Gently put her back in the water and enjoy the moment!

The Southeast Region has some small but productive Bass waters. Down South we have Recapture Reservoir near Blanding, Moab has Ken’s Lake (you can use boats but only electric motors are allowed), The Community Fishery at the Green River State Park, Huntington Game Farm ponds and Huntington North Reservoir are all great bass fisheries to hone your skills and prepare you for the best bass fishery in Utah, Lake Powell. If you have never experienced bass fishing, this spring is the time to try it!

Walt Maldonado
Conservation Director
Utah Bass Federation

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring Turkey hunting Permits now available

If you didn't obtain a limited-entry permit to hunt wild turkeys in Utah this spring, don't put your shotgun away yet. Permits to hunt during Utah's general statewide turkey hunt are now available.

Justin Dolling, upland game and migratory game bird coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says he and other DWR biologists are excited that all of Utah's turkey hunters can hunt this year.

"Our biologists have worked hard to get Utah's turkey population to the point that all of the state's turkey hunters can hunt," Dolling says. "It's rewarding to see how well turkeys are doing in Utah."

Because the general hunt is fairly new, Judi Tutorow, wildlife licensing coordinator for the DWR, says the agency has received lots of questions from hunters. She provides the following information:

The DWR won't run out of permits because the number of general turkey permits the agency can offer isn't limited.

Permits will be available until the season ends on May 31.

If you buy a general turkey permit, you can hunt anywhere in Utah that's open to turkey hunting.

Starting Feb. 24, you can buy a permit at Permits will also be available at DWR offices and from more than 300 hunting license agents across Utah.

You can buy a general turkey permit and still keep all of your limited-entry turkey bonus points. You won't lose any of your bonus points if you buy a general turkey permit.

If you obtained a limited-entry turkey permit, you can't obtain a general turkey permit. (You can have only one turkey permit each year.)

Two general hunts:
The first hunt is a special youth hunt. Hunters who were 15 years of age or younger on Jan. 27 can participate in the hunt. The youth hunt runs April 29–May 1.

(Jan. 27 was the day results of the 2011 limited-entry turkey draw were posted.)

To participate in the youth hunt, young hunters must buy a general statewide hunting permit. Young hunters who drew a limited-entry permit can't participate in the youth hunt.

Youngsters who buy a permit for the youth hunt can also use the permit to hunt during Utah's general statewide hunt. That hunt opens May 2.

The second hunt—the general statewide hunt—is open to anyone who buys a general turkey permit.

The general hunt runs May 2–31.

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

Friday, February 25, 2011

Entries now accpeted for Ogden Nature Center Birdhouse Contest

Bird Yurt Submission from 2010
Photo Courtesy Ogden Nature Center

Ogden, UT -- It’s time to build birdhouses! Stoke your creativity and bring in your finest, hand-built birdhouse creation to The Ogden Nature Center’s 18th Annual Birdhouse Competition and Exhibit. All types of birdhouses are encouraged: whimsical, beautiful, practical, functional, artistic or magical! Entries must be received by Saturday, April 2 at the Ogden Nature Center. All ages are welcome to enter up to two creations, and there is no entry fee. Several cash prizes will be awarded for various categories.

Birdhouses chosen for the exhibit will be on display along Birdhouse Trail April 16 through August 31, 2011 so visitors to the Nature Center can enjoy and be inspired by these backyard habitats for birds.

• All birdhouses must be original works created by the exhibitor. Commercially produced birdhouses or assembled kits will not be accepted.

• Size limitations: The base of the birdhouse may not exceed 24" square. The height of the birdhouse may not exceed 36" tall.

• No propane tanks this year.

• All birdhouses must be freestanding and ready for installation outdoors. Birdhouses that are not freestanding will not be accepted for the exhibit. You must perch your birdhouse on the end of a sturdy post or attach a strong hanger. Posts will be installed at a depth of 1-2 feet.

• The Nature Center encourages the use of natural, reclaimed and recycled materials. Please consider the environment when choosing your materials and finishes.

• Please be sure your birdhouse can last through the summer weather outdoors.

• The event judges will select which birdhouses are accepted into the 2011 exhibit. A limited number of entries will be accepted for the exhibit.

• The Ogden Nature Center reserves the right to refuse submissions.

Winners in both adult and child categories will receive cash awards at a reception and awards presentation on Wednesday, April 13 at 5:30 pm.

This exhibit would not be possible without its main sponsors: the Utah Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Registration forms and full details are available online at  or at the Ogden Nature Center’s Visitor Center guest services desk, 966 W. 12th Street, Ogden, UT 84404. For more information, please call the Ogden Nature Center at 801-621-7595.

Friday, February 18, 2011

See as many as 20,000 snow geese

Photo by Lynn Chamberlain, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Delta -- It’s a sight you have to see to believe: thousands of pure white snow and Ross’ geese lifting off Gunnison Bend Reservoir amid honks and the beating of wings.

You can see this spectacle yourself on Feb. 25, 26 and 27 at the annual Utah Snow Goose Festival. The festival will be held at and near Gunnison Bend Reservoir, just west of Delta. Admission is free.

As many as 20,000 snow geese have been at the reservoir during past festivals. Except for the black tips on their wings, snow geese are pure white. “We’ll provide spotting scopes so you can get a close look at the geese,” says Bob Walters, Watchable Wildlife coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. “We’ll also be available to answer any questions you have.”

In addition to seeing the geese, you can learn more about wildlife at free seminars offered by the DWR. The seminars will be held on Friday, Feb. 25.

The best times to see the geese
The areas where you’ll see the geese vary according to the time of the day. Walters says if you arrive early in the morning, you can watch the geese feeding in fields that surround the reservoir. Then, at about 10:30 a.m., the geese take off and fly back to the reservoir. “That’s an exciting time to see and hear the geese,” he says.

After landing on the reservoir, the geese usually spend the next few hours there. “Then, anywhere from 4 to 6 p.m., they take off again and fly back to the fields,” Walters says. “It’s thrilling to be there when the geese do this.”

DWR biologists will watch which fields the geese fly to. If you arrive after the geese have left the reservoir, the biologists will direct you to the fields where the geese are feeding.

Viewing tips
Use binoculars or a spotting scope to view the geese. If you get too close to the geese, you could scare them away.

If you pull off the road to view the geese, pull as far off the road as you can. And watch for cars.

The weather could be cold and wet. Bring the proper clothes so you can stay warm and dry.

For more information about the 2011 Snow Goose Festival, call the Delta Area Chamber of Commerce at (435) 864-4316.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Domes for the World: A Call to Action

Many of you have supported Domes for the World (DFTW) over the years, and followed our progress as we have worked to improve the lives of people in desperate need of safe and affordable housing. Now you have the opportunity to let the world know what you think about our efforts.

DFTW has entered an international competition for sustainable urban housing. Funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Changemakers competition is aimed at finding innovative solutions for live-able and inclusive cities. The most competitive submissions will be showcased in June at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., where they will be viewed by public and private partners including prospective funders.

Winners will be selected based on their ability to engage communities, entrepreneurs and key institutions in collaborating to integrate and develop affordable inclusive, and sustainable urban housing that respects the environment, local cultures, and practices.

One of the goals of the competition is to encourage feedback from the online community. We invite you to share your views on Monolithic EcoShells and the work that DFTW has been doing around the world. It only takes a moment to sign up.

Beginning next week, a panel of independent judges will select 15 finalists from all of the entries submitted in the competition. The Changemakers online community will then vote for three winners. We will keep you updated on our progress and encourage you to vote once finalists are announced on March 23.

In the meantime, you can follow competition news on Twitter and Facebook .

Complete Free Online Course before gathering Shed Antlers in Utah

Photo of a shed elk antler by Phil Douglass, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Late winter and early spring is the worst time of the year for elk, moose and especially deer in Utah.

Deep snow makes it harder for deer to move and find food in the winter. And cold temperatures sap the deers’ strength. By the time winter ends, deer are usually the weakest they’ll be all year.

Winter is also the time of year when male deer, elk and moose shed their antlers. The animals will be without antlers until this spring, when they’ll start to grow a new set.

Gathering shed antlers
Gathering antlers that drop off the heads of deer, elk and moose is an activity that’s grown in popularity across the country, including here in Utah. The challenge with shed-antler gathering is that it happens during the worst time of the year for the animals and the habitat they rely on in the winter.

“By the time winter ends, the animals are stressed,” says Mike Fowlks, Law Enforcement Section chief for the Division of Wildlife Resources.

“The habitat they rely on in the winter is also wet,” he says. “It’s easily damaged. Once the habitat is damaged, it can take years for it to recover.”

Fortunately, Fowlks says you can have fun gathering shed antlers without stressing the animals and damaging their habitat.

“A free course that’s available at our website will show you how,” he says. Fowlks says you must complete the DWR’s Antler Gathering Ethics course if you want to gather shed antlers in Utah between Feb. 1 and April 15.

Free course
The free course is available at . After you finish the course, make sure you print a certificate that shows you’ve completed the course. “And make sure you carry your certificate with you,” Fowlks says. “By law, you must have your certificate with you while you’re gathering shed antlers.”

If you have young children, and you’ve completed the course, your children don’t need to complete it. As long as you’ve completed the course, your certificate will cover your kids too.

Fowlks says if you complete the course, you can gather antlers across Utah. “Please remember, though, that many of the state’s wildlife management areas are closed in the spring and the winter to protect wildlife,” he says.

You must complete the course if you want to gather shed antlers between Feb. 1 and April 15. If you wait until April 15 or later to gather antlers, you don’t need to complete the course.

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

Variety of Fish at Utah Ice Fishing Waters

You have warm clothes and waterproof boots. Your ice fishing equipment is ready to go. And you have a basic idea of how to locate fish and catch them through the ice.

So what’s standing between you and a great ice fishing experience this winter?

Maybe only one thing: knowing which waters in Utah to fish.

Fortunately, dozens of waters across Utah provide good ice fishing year after year. “In my opinion, Utah has some of the best ice fishing in the country,” says Drew Cushing, warm water sport fisheries coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. Cushing has fished through the ice in states across the country.

“Utah provides a wider variety of fish to catch than any place I know of,” he says. “And many of these opportunities are probably close to your home.”

Cushing gave Utah County as an example. If you live in the county, you can fish for white bass at Utah Lake in the morning, and then turn around and head to Strawberry Reservoir to catch trophy-sized cutthroat trout in the afternoon; all in the same day!

Fishing reports
Visiting the DWR’s fishing report is one way to learn which type of fish are in which waters and where fishing is the best.

DWR biologists, officers and outreach personnel update the report every one to two weeks. You can read the report at .

Other Internet sources—such as and—are also good places to visit. And don’t forget your local fishing tackle shop or sporting goods store—people who work at these stores are often the first ones to know about good fishing in their areas.

Cushing says the following waters are producing great fishing for the following fish:

Larger Yellow Perch
Fish Lake, and Rockport Reservoir

Smaller, but more abundant Yellow Perch
Pineview, Echo, and Starvation reservoirs --“Catching perch at Pineview can be fairly easy,” Cushing says. “Just locate the spot on the bottom where the perch are, and then put your bait in front of the fish.”

Larger Bluegill
Pelican Lake

Smaller, but more abundant Bluegill
Mantua Reservoir

Largemouth Bass
Pelican Lake, and Mantua Reservoir

Rainbow, Cutthroat, Brown or Tiger Trout
Deer Creek Reservoir

Strawberry Reservoir--“Strawberry provides fantastic fishing for big trout, and lots of them,” Cushing says.

Birch Creek Reservoir--“This water provides good fishing for big tiger trout,” Cushing says.

Lake Trout
Flaming Gorge Reservoir and Fish Lake--“You have a good chance to catch some big fish at these waters,” he says.

Flaming Gorge Reservoir

Pineview Reservoir--Cushing says crappie can be tricky to catch. “They suspend at various depths,” he says, “so they can be tough to find. “But if you catch a crappie at a certain depth, keep fishing that depth,” he says, “and you should do well. Pineview has a good population of crappie.”

Kokanee Salmon
Causey Reservoir, and Porcupine Reservoir--Cushing says the best ice fishing for kokanee salmon happens at the two waters at the start of the ice fishing season. “When ice first forms on these waters,” he says, “salmon fishing can be fantastic for about two to three weeks.”

White Bass
Utah Lake--This is another water where the best fishing happens early in the ice fishing season. “Fishing for white bass is usually best from the time the ice forms until about mid January,” Cushing says. “The harbors at the lake are the best places to catch them through the ice.”

Some of the best fishing of the year
Cushing says the arrival of winter doesn’t mean fishing is over until the spring. “Winter can be the most fun, the most productive and the least expensive time of the year to fish,” he says. “New lakes, new opportunities and new species of fish are out there for you to enjoy. Get out there, and take advantage of it.”

See Bald Eagles Feb. 12

Photo by Ron Stewart, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

If you’ve ever seen a bald eagle in the wild, you know it’s an experience that can take your breath away.

On Feb. 12, you’ll have a chance not only to see bald eagles, but to learn more about them. The Division of Wildlife Resources will hold its annual Utah Bald Eagle Day that day.

Bald Eagle Day is free. You can see eagles at five locations across the state. Viewing times vary depending on the viewing site you visit:

Northern Utah
Salt Creek Waterfowl Management Area (Compton’s Knoll), located about 10 miles northwest of Corinne Viewing will take place at Salt Creek from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In addition to seeing the eagles at Salt Creek, you can also see a captive bald eagle that volunteers from the Ogden Nature Center will bring to the event. The captive eagle will be at the event from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Make sure you bring your camera with you—this will be a great chance to take a picture of your kids standing next to a real bald eagle!

To reach the WMA, take Exit 365 off of Interstate 15 and travel west on state Route 83 through Corinne. Stay on Route 83 until you get to 6800 West (Iowa String). Travel north to 6800 N. Travel west on 6800 N. until you reach the Salt Creek WMA/Compton’s Knoll Watchable Wildlife site.

Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, located on the west side of Farmington at 1325 W. Glover Lane (925 South) Viewing will take place at Farmington Bay from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If you’re traveling north on Interstate 15, coming from Salt Lake City and other areas south of Farmington:

To reach the WMA, travel north on I-15, and exit the freeway at Exit 325. Turn left on Park Lane and travel west. The road will angle to the south, and you’ll come to Clark Lane at the first traffic light. Turn right. Travel west to the first stop sign, which is at 1525 West, and turn left. Travel south to Glover Lane, and turn right. Travel west on Glover Lane for about one block until you come to 1325 W. Turn left on 1325 W. and travel south into the WMA.

If you’re traveling south on Interstate 15, coming from Ogden and other areas north of Farmington:

To reach the WMA, travel south on I-15 and exit the freeway at Exit 325. Go to the stoplight and turn right on Park Lane. Travel south to the next light, which is at Clark Lane, and turn right. Travel west to the first stop sign, which is at 1525 West, and turn left. Travel south to Glover Lane, and turn right. Travel west on Glover Lane for about one block until you come to 1325 W. Turn left on 1325 W. and travel south into the WMA.

Central Utah
Fountain Green State Fish Hatchery, located east of Nephi. Viewing will take place at Fountain Green from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If you’re coming from the north, you can reach the hatchery by taking Interstate 15 and exiting the freeway at the second Nephi exit (Exit 225). After exiting the freeway, turn east on state Route 132 and travel about 10 miles. About 1 mile before the city of Fountain Green, a Bald Eagle Day sign will point you to an access road that leads to the hatchery.

Once you reach the hatchery, you’ll be given a driving map of the Sanpete Valley that highlights the best areas in the valley to view eagles. Literature, displays and bathroom facilities will also be available at the hatchery. Spotting scopes will be set-up at a viewing location about one mile from the hatchery where eagles often gather in a large tree.

Northeastern Utah
Split Mountain/Green River, located north of Jensen and below the Dinosaur Quarry in Dinosaur National Monument (DNM). Viewing will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

To reach the site, drive north from U.S. Highway 40 in Jensen on the road (state Route 149) to the Dinosaur Quarry.

Your first stop should be at the staging area located just inside the DNM boundary. Displays and spotting scopes will be available at the staging area, and you might be able to see bald eagles and other raptors in the distance.

You can also see live birds close up! At least two live birds of prey—and maybe as many as four—will be on display at the staging area.

From the staging area, biologists will direct you to other sites where you may have better views of eagles and other wildlife of interest. In past years, visitors have seen bald and golden eagles hunting and feeding, as well as prairie falcons, hawks, mule deer, river otters, pheasants, turkeys, sandhill cranes, porcupines, mergansers, Canada geese and other wildlife.

During your trip, you may also want to stop and visit the Dinosaur National Monument. The monument’s dinosaur quarry is closed, but you can see a few dinosaur bones at a temporary visitor center near the quarry. The visitor center also includes a small bookstore.

Southern Utah
Cedar Valley, about four miles northwest of Cedar City Viewing will take place in Cedar Valley from 3 p.m. until dusk.

To reach the site, exit Interstate 15 at Exit 59, and travel west on state Route 56 to 3900 W. Turn right on 3900 W., and travel north to 2800 N. The viewing site is at 3900 W. and 2800 N.

Get a close look
Bob Walters, Watchable Wildlife coordinator for the DWR, says spotting scopes will be set up at each viewing site so you can get a good look at the eagles. “Biologists and volunteers will also be on hand to help you spot the eagles and to answer your questions,” he says.

You can also pick up information about bald eagles, and wildlife watching and birding opportunities in Utah, at each location. The materials will be available for free, or for a small cost.

The best time to attend
The best time to see eagles on Feb. 12 depends on whether you want to sacrifice staying a little warmer for a chance to see more eagles!
If you want to attend during the warmest time of the day, attend late in the morning or early in the afternoon. Walters says the warmer temperatures are especially important if you bring young children with you.

Late morning and early afternoon are also usually the clearest times of the day to see eagles. If you want to see the greatest number of eagles with fairly good light conditions and reasonably warm temperatures, attend between 2 and 4 p.m. Walters says in late afternoon, eagles at most of the locations start flying to trees to roost for the night.

“If you want to see the greatest number of eagles,” he says, “mid to late afternoon is usually the best time to attend.”

Items to bring
If you attend Bald Eagle Day, dress in warm clothes and bring waterproof boots. Also, if you want to get pictures of the eagles, bring a telephoto lens.

“The eagles will be some distance from the viewing areas,” Walters says. “In the past, we’ve had photographers try to get close to the eagles. They ended up scaring the eagles away.”

Utah’s most popular viewing event
Walters started Bald Eagle Day in 1990 as a way to introduce people to Utah’s wildlife.

“I started Bald Eagle Day because I wanted to make people aware of the wildlife around them,” Walters says. “I wanted to whet their appetite to see more.”  Since it began, Bald Eagle Day has become Utah’s most well attended, and one of its most enjoyed, wildlife-viewing events. “I think the event is still accomplishing its intended purpose,” he says.

For more information about Bald Eagle Day, call Walters at (801) 538- 4771, or Division of Wildlife Resources offices in Ogden, Springville, Vernal or Cedar City.

Officials ask--"Don’t Feed the Deer"

Photo by Ron Stewart, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Utah’s mule deer herds seem to be doing well as winter winds down.

As they do every winter, biologists with the Division of Wildlife Resources have been monitoring the deer closely. In addition to determining the condition of the deer as they entered the winter, the biologists have been watching for four additional things:

-The amount of food available to the deer
-How deep the snow is
-How cold the temperature is
-The amount of body fat they find on deer that have been killed along roads

If three or more of the five factors reach a critical point, biologists will consider feeding deer specially designed pellets. The pellets are formulated to fit the complex digestive system mule deer have.

Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the DWR, says biologists came close to feeding deer in Rich County this winter.

“In December,” he says, “the snow was piling up. Then the cold temperatures froze the top of the snow. That made it difficult for the deer to paw through the snow to find their food.”

Then, in January, the conditions improved. “It didn’t snow as much,” Aoude says, “and the temperatures warmed up and started to melt the snow. We didn’t need to feed the deer after all.”

Aoude and other biologists were relieved that the deer didn’t need to be fed. While feeding deer can help the animals when winter conditions are severe, feeding can also put deer in circumstances that aren’t good for the deer or the plants the deer rely on.

Aoude says biologists will continue to monitor the winter conditions and the deer herds. If the deer need to be fed, the biologists will make sure the feeding is done in the right way, at the right time and with food that is best for the deer.

Don’t feed the deer
Aoude strongly advises you not to feed deer on your own. “You may not realize it,” he says, “but feeding deer actually harms the deer a lot more than it helps them.”

Aoude gives several reasons why feeding deer is a bad idea:
Deer have complex and delicate digestive systems. If you feed the wrong foods to them, the deer can actually die with stomachs that are full of food.

Feeding deer congregates them in a smaller area. And that can lead to all kinds of problems for the deer:

Congregating deer in a small area increases the chance that the deer will pass diseases to each other.

When deer congregate to feed, it’s “every deer for itself.” The larger deer push the smaller deer—the fawns—aside. Fawns often end up receiving less food than they would have received if you had left the deer alone and not fed them.

Feeding deer near a road increases the chance that deer will be killed by cars.

In addition to eating what you’re feeding them—which may or may not be good for them to eat—deer will also eat other vegetation in and near the feeding area. This can lead to deer over-browsing the area. That over-browsing can damage the plants in the area for years to come.

Even after winter is over, deer will often stay close to the area where you fed them.

Learn more
More information about why deer shouldn’t be fed is available at .

Winter Safety Reminders from National Forests

Salt Lake City, Utah, February 2, 2010 – Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest officials would like to remind all winter recreationists to have a safe, fun-filled season and to be extra careful while out in the woods. Snowmobilers, skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers, and dog sleds all share the same trails at some point in time, so it is extremely important that all users respect each others rights to enjoy their recreation activity of choice.

Snowmobile users should always proper trail etiquette such as: Obey all trail signs. Slow down when meeting other users and oncoming snowmobile traffic. Pull to the right ride or just off the trail if you meet oncoming dog sleds. Stop before crossing highways. Stay to the right on curves and slow down. Make sure your snowmobile is legally registered. Never snowmobile in wilderness areas. Make sure you are riding on trails, roads or areas that are open to snowmobiles. Maps are available to identify routes open to motorized and non-motorized uses. These routes do not include adjacent, surrounding lands or private property. Please leave gates open or closed, as you found them. Respect private property. You can pick up Winter Travel Maps at local Forest Service offices that will show you what trails, roads and areas are open for snowmobile use.

Skiers and snowshoers should always move to the side of the trail or just off the trail when you hear snowmobilers approaching. Please do not insist on the right-of-way, you are no match for a snowmobile. Remember you are responsible for your own safety.

Be informed about avalanche dangers. Carry safety equipment such as avalanche beacons, shovels and probes. Take an avalanche awareness class. Call the Avalanche Forecast Center for the most current and update information at 801-524-5304 or http://www.utahavalanchecenter/ . Here are a few safety tips to practice this winter:

 Call ahead for current conditions

 Make sure your vehicle is in good operating condition and contains an adequate level of fuel and have properly fitting tire chains and know how to install them

 Leave your itinerary with a friend or family member

 Never travel alone and take along your cell phone and a map
 Wear appropriate clothing and footwear

 Always carry extra clothing, food, water, flashlight, first aid kit, matches, and a small shovel

 If you become injured or lost, stay calm and seek shelter from the elements, but do not stray from your planned route

BE PREPARED FOR ANYTHING! Always stay alert on trails, know your limits for whatever form of winter recreation you choose to enjoy. Respect the rights of other users and the National Forest you are recreating on.

View Elk This Saturday In Springville

Photo Courtesy Scott Root, DWR

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is holding an elk viewing event this Saturday, February 5th at the DWR central region office located at 1115 North Main Street in Springville. The DWR will have spotting scopes and binoculars on hand to allow the public to view elk that are wintering above the valley floor on the mountains above Provo and Springville. The event will run from 9:00 a.m. until Noon.

DWR Conservation Outreach Manager Scott Root states “I have been watching over 100 elk and many deer east of Springville and Provo for the past month. Elk and deer utilize these critical winter range areas above the valley floor because the sun burns off the snow and exposes much needed vegetation. Many people have no idea that herds of these magnificent big game animals can often be viewed right from their homes. Within a month or so as the temperatures rise and the snow melts, the elk will climb up and over the mountain and be out of view again.”

Elk are the second largest member of the deer family and are easy to identify in the field. Mature males, called bulls, may weigh up to 700 pounds, stand five feet at the shoulder and measure eight feet from nose to rump. Their antlers can weigh approximately 50 pounds. Mature females, called cows, may weigh up to 500 pounds, stand four and a half feet at the shoulder and measure six and a half feet from nose to rump. For questions about the event, contact Root at (801) 491-5656.

The DWR also offers a closer view of elk at Hardware Ranch near the town of Hyrum in northern Utah. For more information on seeing elk at Hardware Ranch visit the DWR’s website at:  or call (435) 753-6206.

Johnston's Army Adventure Camp Registration Now Open

Fairfield – Register now for the Johnston’s Army Adventure Camp at Camp Floyd State Park and Museum in Fairfield. This authentic and unique hands-on adventure camp is geared toward boy scouts, and fulfills requirements for the American Heritage Merit Badge and National Historic Trails Award.

Offered from April through October, adventure camp is based on the history of Johnston’s Army at Camp Floyd in the Utah Territory. This two-day program includes an overnight stay with sleeping accommodations in recreated military tents. Scouts provide their own sleeping gear.

Camp size is limited to 30 scouts and leaders. Camp fees are $20 per person and include all camp materials and breakfast.

Camp Floyd State Park is located in the town of Fairfield, 22 miles southwest of Lehi on State Highway 73. For more information or to register, please call 801-768-8932.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Free UEN Cheese Night February 23 meet Famous Vermont Cheesemaker

Click on Image to see full view

RSVP online at
Samples and Fun await!
Learn about the new Harmon's Cheese Passport Program!

New State Park Pass for Utah's Veterans with Disabilities

Salt Lake City – The Board of Utah State Parks and Recreation approved a new discounted pass for Utah veterans with disabilities effective February 1, 2011. Veterans with a service-connected disability of 50% or greater may purchase the Annual Pass for $35, which is more than 50% off the regular price. Qualified veterans are asked to complete an affidavit and attach appropriate documentation.

“We’re pleased to offer this opportunity to those who have given so much to our state and country,” said Utah State Parks Director Mary Tullius.

The Annual Pass provides day-use access to most of Utah’s 43 state parks for the pass holder and up to seven guests in the same private vehicle. Annual passes do not cover the Davis County Causeway Fee at Antelope Island, entrance fees at This Is The Place Heritage Park, and are good for one machine/rider at Jordan River Off-Highway Vehicle State Recreation Area.

As part of another Utah State Parks program, the agency places free Annual Passes in 84 libraries statewide. Any library patron may check out a pass with their library card and visit the parks of their choice through the Check It Out Program. For more information, visit  or call 877-UT-PARKS.

Utah State Parks Events schedule

February 14 – 28 Camp Floyd/Stagecoach Inn State Park and Museum - Fairfield
Money of the U.S. Civil War Exhibit: Before the war, a wide variety of coins were in circulation, but as the war progressed, copper, gold and silver coins were hoarded and money changed to meet demands of the divided nation. Explore different types of emergency money such as demand notes and greenbacks, encased postage stamps, fractional currency and Civil War tokens, plus the first U.S. coin to feature the motto “In God We Trust.” Museum hours are Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost is $2 per person or $6 per vehicle with up to eight occupants. 801-768-8932

February 17 Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum - Vernal
New Dinosaurs: Join us at 7 p.m. for a free lecture by Utah Museum of Natural History Paleontologist Mark A. Lowen on the newest discoveries of dinosaurs in Utah. 435-789-3799

February 18 Wasatch Mountain State Park - Midway
Full Moon Snowshoe Hike: Join Friends of Wasatch Mountain at 7 p.m. for their annual snowshoe hike under a full moon. Hikes for families with children, beginners, intermediate and advanced snowshoers are available. Cost is $5 per person. Snowshoe rentals are available for $5 a pair for non-members, and free for members of Friends of Wasatch. Registration is required by calling 435-654-1791.

February 18 Snow Canyon State Park - Ivins
Join park staff for a moonlit, one-mile hike beginning at 8 p.m. Enjoy the unique opportunity to see the canyon by moon-glow. Event is free and open to the public. Space is limited and registration required. 435-628-2255

February 19 Camp Floyd/Stagecoach Inn State Park and Museum - Fairfield
Ladies of Camp Floyd Day Camp: Take a step back in time to learn about the life and times of women of Camp Floyd. Ladies of Camp Floyd Day Camp teaches everyday activities completed by women of Camp Floyd. Participants wear period dresses, meet costumed interpreters, play 19th century games, learn etiquette of the period, construct a rag doll, learn dances, and more. Reservations and a $15 fee per participant are required. 801-768-8932

February 19 Wasatch Mountain State Park - Midway
Snow Cave Building: Join us at 10 a.m. to learn the basics of building a snow cave. Knowing how to build a snow cave is not only fun, but can also be vital in any winter survival situation. Come dressed in layers with a waterproof outer layer. Meet at the Educational Yurt. 435-654-1791

February 19 Rock Cliff Nature Center/Jordanelle State Park - Francis
Moonlight Hike: Join us at 7 p.m. for a moonlight snowshoe hike. Registration is required and space is limited. Bring your own snowshoes or rent a pair from the park for $5. Event costs $5 per person or $7 per family. 435-782-3030

Building Zion Youth Camp at Territorial Statehouse in Fillmore

Fillmore -- Youth groups are invited to Territorial Statehouse State Park Museum to journey back in time and discover how early Utah settlers lived during the 1860s while accepting the call to build the Statehouse and Utah’s first capital city.

Learn about Utah’s pioneer history, sacrifices, and challenges through a three-day / two-night program with hands-on activities including cabin building, rope and candle making, weaving, and quilting. Enjoy recreational activities including pioneer dances and the game of Rounders, which is similar to baseball.

"Building Zion Youth Camp is a great way for museum visitors to actively learn Utah’s history and gain an appreciation of the pioneer settlers,” commented Territorial Statehouse State Park Museum Curator Carl Camp. “Today’s youth should experience life before cell phones and iPods.”

Participants receive Territorial Statehouse State Park Museum backpacks, water bottles, and tithing scripts redeemable in the gift shop. The cost is $30 per person and group leaders are free.

Tent and RV camping are available with facilities including restrooms, multipurpose building with small kitchen, refrigerators, picnic tables, showers, and use of the swimming pool.

Territorial Statehouse State Park Museum is located in Fillmore off I-15, approximately 148 miles south of Salt Lake City. For more information, available dates or to make a reservation, please call 435-743-5316.

Make Tracks and Find Tracks at Jordanelle State Park

Francis – Make tracks on a guided snowshoe hike at Jordanelle State Park’s Rock Cliff Recreation Area on Saturday morning, February 26. (Participants are given exact meeting place and time when they register.)

Hike with the park naturalist and learn about animals living in the park. Bring snowshoes or borrow a pair from the park. Learn how to identify animal tracks, and snowshoe through the park practicing the art of animal tracking. Pre-registration is required and the hike is limited to 25 participants. Registration for this activity is $10 per family or group with up to eight people. Sign up by calling 801-537-3123 or email .

Rockin’ Utah creates opportunities for families to explore the outdoors and learn skills to build their own connections with nature.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cisco Run now On!

Photo Courtesy Guy Perkins

There is no longer any ice on Bear Lake. The Utah State Park Marina has frozen over and you cannot launch boats at the marina. Boat launching is possible at the First Point ramp and Cisco Beach ramps. The courtesy docks have been removed at First Point and Cisco Beach due to icing problems. There are a few inches of snow along the east side at this time.

The cisco have finally showed up along the shoreline at Cisco Beach. Today was the first day we have sighted any cisco, so the run should begin to improve over the next few days. The cisco fishermen who were at the beach at first light did not dip net any fish since the cisco came in along the shore around 8:30am. We did not see any cisco off the Utah State Park marina as of today. Anglers fishing from boats have been able to snag limits of cisco off the “rockpile” area in just over an hour. They are also catching some nice sized cutthroat and whitefish while fishing for cisco. Other anglers boat anglers will catch a limit of cisco over the rockpile and then move farther off shore into water that is 60-80 feet deep and use tube jigs tipped with cisco to target lake trout and cutthroat trout. Remember, the limit on cisco is 30 fish (daily and possession) so count your fish carefully. Also, remember that a person may not possess a multipoint hook with a weight permanently or rigidly attached directly to the shank (commonly called a snag hook) or a weight suspended below a multipoint hook unless the hook is on an unweighted dropper line that is at least three inches long.

Anglers (both boat and shore) have been doing excellent for cutthroat trout and a few lake trout off the east side near 2nd Point jigging and South Eden jigging and trolling. Try depths of 40-70 feet. Use 3/4 -1 ounce jigs tipped with cisco, sucker or carp meat when jigging. The trollers are using downriggers with small flatfish and rapala-style lures with rattles in them. You can fish from shore at the Utah State Park marina and anglers are picking up a few rainbow and cutthroat trout. Try powerbait or mealworms under a bobber or spoons and spinners casted from shore. There is currently about 8” of snow along the west side of the lake.

Three Easy Fried Cisco Recipes

Cisco are a popular Utah fish, caught only at Bear Lake for a short period of time. Although these fish are not known for having a lot of meat, they are fun to cook and easy to eat. The meat is typically very high in fat content -- to the point that you can almost squeeze the oil out. Cisco is a soft-boned fish and when you deep fry them, the meat is easily removed from the bone.

Although some people will drop the fish straight into the fry oil right after catching hem, provided is a recipe for an easy batter mix.

Clean & Skin the fish as you typically would any other fish

Cut off head and tail

Prepare the Batter mix with the following ingredients:
2 eggs
1 cup flour
A shot of Tabasco sauce, chili powder, or black pepper

Combine amounts until you reach consistency of pancake batter. Place fish in batter mix and flip it to cover both sides well.

With oil at 375 F, lay fish in deep skillet or shallow fry pot and cook until crust is golden brown.

Serve warm with lemon or lime juice.

Tip: If you want to store skinned Cisco for later, toss about a dozen in a milk jug.

Fill with water and freeze. Keep in mind that these can spoil quickly due to the high oil content.

Perkins Recipe

You cut behind the gills and over the back to the other gill. Imagine the cut to look like putting a horse shoe behind the gill to resemble the cut. With a pair of plyers pull the dorsal fin off and then grab where you made the cut while holding the head on the cutting board and peal the skin off toward the tail. The motion resembles taking off your socks. Then cut off the tail and head. Insert the knife tip where the head was with the blade toward the belly and cut it open. You can use your thumb to remove the entrails. Rinse in cold water and lay aside.

Son Chef soaked the thirty little fishes in a can of condensed milk and two cups regular cow. Using my wife’s new “Bullet Grinder” (warning: ask permission before turning the smoothie machine into a cracker grinder) He ground up a tube of Ritz Cracker and a cup of garlic croutons. A skillet he filled with enough oil that the fish could float and heated the oil to 375 degrees. Cook them until brown and then flip them.

Using a tablespoon of lemon juice, a couple gobs of mayo, use your color skills from the first grade and mix enough mustard and ketchup together until it is a light orange color. You now have Artic Circle’s secrete fry sauce.

Since it was Son Chef’s prepping and cooking choice he also prepared his favorite homemade Mac and Cheese.

Eating Cisco is a lot like fondue.  For smoking I use a lemon, brown sugar, garlic powder, and Kosher salt brine. I soak them for 8 hours and then give them a quick rinse. I load the smoker and leave it at 150 for 30 minutes. I then add a cup of dry Alder chips and run the heat up to 225 for thirty minutes.

Cisco Recipe #3
Approximately 1 Cup cornmeal
Approximatley 1 Cup flour
2 Tbp salt
Black Pepper to Taste (1/4- 1/2 tsp)
1 Cube butter
30 cisco fish

Scale and gut your fish. Cisco are best when prepared fresh.

In a bowl mix all dry ingredients
Melt 1/4 of the butter in a large frying pan. Dip wet fish in flour mixture and put in hot butter. Add more butter as needed.

Cook on low heat until brown on outside and cooked through. You can eat bones, fins, and all, as they are small and tender from cooking.

Fishing Help Needed January 25 at Yuba Reservoir

The DWR has selected the 25th of Jan. to try and collect the remaining 37 fish (perch or pike) from Yuba necessary to complete the disease certification process. After testing, if these fish prove to be disease free we will be allowed to collect Northern Pike eggs later this spring to aid in the statewide Tiger Muskie Program. As you can see below (fishing info from Jeff Rasmussen Yuba Park Manager) fishing may be a little difficult but I figure if we can get enough people on the ice, especially many of you who really know how to fish, we should be able to catch the fish we need.

We will plan on arriving at the Painted Rocks boat ramp (east side of Yuba south of Levan) at 8:30 am on Tuesday Jan. 25th. Please come and go as you would like. I will have a cooler there to collect any fish caught to meet our quota. I will provide drinks, hot choc. and snacks for anyone who comes to help. I recommend people bring whatever fishing equipment you feel is needed (primarily fishing for perch). We will have a power auger provide by the Strawberry biologists for anyone to use but again feel free to bring whatever you would like. We will plan on fishing until 2-3pm or until we collect enough fish whichever comes first but again feel free to come and stay as long as you would like.

Again, we would love to have as many participate as possible so please pass this email/information on to any of your contacts or people you think might have an interest in this fun outing, we would love the help! Please contact me if you have any questions and it would help me get an idea of how many people will be coming. Thanks in advance for you help with the DWR Tiger Muskie Program! Look forward to seeing you on the ice:)

The ice thickness currently sits at 5-7 inches. There have been very few people out fishing. I talked to a guy this morning at Painted Rocks who caught four good sized Perch in 4 hours. Another group yesterday caught 1 perch near Oasis Campground in about 4 hours. There have been a few who have been skunked. If you are going to do it I think the sooner the better. Its usually best the first few weeks we have ice.

Mike Slater
Regional Aquatic Program Manager
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
1115 N. Main
Springville, UT 84663

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wildlife Board approves more hunting permits for 2011

Salt Lake City -- By all indications, black bears in Utah are doing well. And that means hunters will have a few more chances to hunt bears in 2011.

On Jan. 4, the Utah Wildlife Board approved several bear hunting changes for Utah’s 2011 seasons. All of the changes the board approved will be available in the 2011 Utah Black Bear Guidebook. The free guidebook should be available at  during the week of Jan. 31.

The following are some of the changes the board approved:

A total of 419 hunting permits. That’s 53 more than the 366 offered in 2010. About 40 percent of those who draw a bear-hunting permit end up taking a bear. The extra 53 permits should result in hunters taking about 180 bears in 2011. In 2010, hunters took 158 bears. Forty one of the 419 permits are premium-limited-entry permits.

If they don’t take a bear during the spring hunt, those who draw one of the 41 premium-limited-entry permits can hunt bears again during the fall hunt. The spring hunting season has been extended for one week on four additional bear hunting units in Utah. The South Slope, Yellowstone unit and the South Slope, Vernal, Diamond Mountain, Bonanza unit in northeastern Utah, and the Central Mountains, Manti-North unit in central Utah, are the three units where the spring season was extended at the request of biologists from the Division of Wildlife Resources.

The Wildlife Board also approved a request from the Southern Region Advisory Council to extend the season one week on the Boulder unit in southern Utah.

Adding the four units brings to 10 the total number of bear hunting units in Utah that have a spring hunting season that runs one week longer than the other units in the state.

The extended season starts April 9 and runs until June 5. Those who draw a fall spot-and-stalk permit for the Book Cliffs, Little Creek unit can hunt from August through November.

2010 was the first year a spot-and-stalk bear hunt was held on the unit. To avoid conflicts with big game hunters, bear hunters were not allowed to hunt on the unit in October. But very few deer hunters are allowed to hunt the unit, and the DWR is not aware of any conflicts that occurred between deer and bear hunters. For that reason, DWR biologists recommended that spot-and-stalk bear hunters be allowed to hunt on the unit in October too.

(Spot-and-stalk hunters may not use hounds to track and tree bears, and they may not use bait to try to lure bears in.)

The Book Cliffs, Little Creek unit is in the roadless area in the Book Cliffs.

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

Cold Ice Means Hot Fishing

Photo Courtesy DWR

Winter is one of the best times to catch fish
Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean it’s time to put your fishing gear away. In fact, if you put your gear away now, you might miss some of the best fishing of the year.

That’s right—those “crazy” people standing on the ice at waters across Utah aren’t so crazy after all. They know a layer of cold ice means hot fishing in the water beneath the ice.

“You can set your watch by it,” says Drew Cushing, warm water sport fisheries coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. “When ice starts to form on a body of water, the fish under the ice get very active. And they’re eager to bite.”

And that eagerness to bite often continues through the winter.

A cheap and fun way to fish
Cushing says fishing on the ice provides anglers with several advantages:

If you’re willing to walk, you can reach any part of the reservoir you want to fish.

Cushing says ice is the great equalizer. “In the winter, you don’t need a boat or a float tube to reach certain parts of a reservoir,” he says. “If you have a rod and a reel, and you’re willing to walk, you can reach any part of the reservoir you want to fish.”

Catching fish in the winter doesn’t require the skill needed to catch fish during other times of the year. If you drop your bait in front of the fish, the fish will probably take it.

You don’t need a lot of expensive equipment. A short rod and reel; some line, hooks and wax worms or meal worms; and a digging bar or an ice auger are all you need to get started.

If you like to fish with lures, you may want to include a few ice flies and small jigs in your tackle box too.

Because you can dig two holes close together, ice fishing is a great way to double your fun by fishing with two poles. Just make sure you have a two-pole permit before you dip that second line in the water.

In addition to catching fish, you and those you’re fishing with can have fun visiting together. Just drill your holes close together and enjoy your visit. “Most ice anglers really look forward to the social side of ice fishing,” Cushing says.

That sounds great. But isn’t it hard to drill a hole through the ice?
One thing that surprises many first-time ice anglers is how easy it is to drill a hole through the ice.

Cushing says if you have a hand auger, you can drill through six to eight inches of ice in about a minute. “It’ll take a little longer if you use a digging bar,” he says, “but not much.”

Digging bars cost between $5 and $10. Manual ice augers cost about $50.

Great! But how can I have fun if I’m cold?
Temperatures can be cold during the ice-fishing season. But that doesn’t mean you have to be cold. You can stay warm simply by dressing for the conditions.

Cushing says one piece of equipment that anglers often forget is a pair of waterproof boots. As the day warms, slush can develop on top of the ice. “Having a pair of waterproof boots will keep your feet warm and dry,” he says.

Sounds good. But how do I know if the ice is safe to walk on?
Most anglers wait until the ice is at least 4 inches thick before walking on it.

Ice is usually thinnest near the shore. Before you walk out, Cushing says you should stay close to shore and dig or drill a test hole to see how thick the ice is. You may also want to dig or drill some additional holes as you walk out.

If you find that the ice in your test holes is at least four inches thick, you can be almost certain that the ice farther out is at least four inches thick, or thicker.

Two ice-related items that you may want to consider buying are ice cleats and ice spikes.

You can strap the ice cleats to the bottom of your boots. The cleats will give you better traction as you walk on the ice.

Ice spikes are two short pieces of metal. They’re often attached by a short cord that you can drape around the neck.

If you fall through the ice, you can pull yourself out by jabbing the spikes into the top of the ice near the edge of the hole.