DWR: Tiger muskies stocked in Utah; recommend fishing regulation changes

UTAH – The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has reported that more than 4,200 tiger muskies have a new home in the state.

On Aug. 23, biologists with DWR stocked 3- to 5-inch tiger muskies into three reservoirs in the state.  A total of 150 tigers went into Bullock reservoir in northeastern Utah, Joes Valley reservoir in east-central Utah received 3,100 and Johnson reservoir in southwestern Utah got 1,000.

You can watch as the tigers are released into Joes Valley reservoir by viewing a DWR video.  The video is featured below: 

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Video courtesy of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Joes Valley and Johnson reservoirs have good populations of tiger muskie.  The additional fish will expand those populations and provide anglers with more chances to catch these toothy giants.

The tigers stocked in Bullock reservoir were the first tigers stocked there since the DWR treated the reservoir in 2012 to remove carp and other undesirable fish.

DWR hatchery workers obtained the 4,250 tiger muskie in South Dakota and transported them to Utah.

Drew Cushing, warm-water sport fisheries coordinator for the DWR, said the small tiger muskie will grow fast.  “By next spring,” he said, “the fish should be 15 inches long.  And within five to six years, muskies that are more than four feet long should be available to catch.”

And there’s more good news: In October, the DWR should receive several hundred true muskies from North Carolina.

Joes Valley Reservoir is located in Emery County and Johnson Reservoir is located in Sevier County

DWR recommends fishing regulation changes

Fishers might be allowed to have more fish in their freezer next year, and they might not be required to eat the fish they catch in waters that have catch-and-kill regulations.

Those changes are among several fishing changes that DWR biologists are proposing for Utah’s 2014 fishing season.

All of the regulations the DWR is proposing are available at its Wildlife Board & RACs page

After reviewing the proposed changes, people can share ideas with biologists at public meetings in September.

Drew Cushing, warm water sport fisheries coordinator for the DWR, encourages people to attend their regional meeting and share their ideas.  

“Utah’s fishing waters belong to you,” Cushing said.  “We want you to speak up, and let us know what you think about the job we’re doing and our ideas for 2014.

Proposed fishing changes

The following are among the biologists’ recommendations for 2014:

Increase the number of fish an angler can have in his or her possession.

Currently, the daily bag limit and the possession limit are the same.  For example, if someone catches four trout (the daily limit at most waters in Utah) and then put them in your freezer at home, that person can’t catch and keep any more trout until he or she has eaten at least one of the fish.  If one fish is eaten, then that person can go out and catch one more, and so on. 

For 2014, DWR biologists are recommending that the possession limit be twice the daily limit at most of Utah’s fishing waters. Cushing said increasing the possession limit might encourage anglers to travel and fish waters that are farther from their homes. 

Having a possession limit that’s twice the daily bag limit would allow you to stay an extra day and fish,” he said.  “You could catch your daily limit one day, and then go out the next day and catch one more limit.  That extra day of fishing might be the incentive you need to travel to some distant waters to fish.”

Biologists are not recommending a change in the possession limit at Strawberry or Flaming Gorge reservoirs.  If you had a limit of fish at home, you could not fish these waters until you’d eaten at least one of the fish.

Remove the requirement that anglers eat fish they catch at catch-and-kill waters.

A total of 10 waters in Utah have catch-and-kill regulations.  The regulations require anglers to kill certain species of fish if they catch those fish at the waters. The catch-and-kill regulation is a tool that helps biologists better control fish that have been stocked into waters illegally.

Currently, Utah also has a regulation that does not allow fish to be “wasted.”  

“You must eat the fish you keep,” Cushing said.

Biologists are recommending that the “wasting” rule be eliminated at catch-and-kill waters.  They’re also recommending that the wasting rule not apply to common carp, no matter where in the state the carp were caught.

Cushing encourages Fishers to eat the fish they catch at catch-and-kill waters.  “But we don’t want to require anglers to consume fish that the law forces them to kill,” he said.  “This change would allow you to decide for yourself whether you want to eat the fish.”

If a fisher decided not to eat the fish, he or she could kill it and then return it to the water or dispose of it in a fish-cleaning station, a garbage can, a landfill or a dumpster.

Learn more, share your ideas

After reviewing the ideas, people can let their Regional Advisory Council members know their thoughts by attending upcoming RAC meeting or by sending an e-mail to them.

RAC chairmen will share the input they receive with members of the Utah Wildlife Board.  The board will meet in Salt Lake City on Nov. 7 to approve rules for Utah’s 2014 fishing season.

Dates, times, and locations for the RAC meetings are as follows:

Southern Region

Sept. 10
7 p.m.
Richfield High School
510 W. 100 S.
Richfield

Southeastern Region

Sept. 11
6:30 p.m.
John Wesley Powell Museum
1765 E. Main St.
Green River

Email

You can also provide your comments to your RAC via email. Email addresses for your RAC members are available at http://wildlife.utah.gov/dwr/rac-members.html.

The group each RAC member represents (sportsman, non-consumptive, etc.) is listed under each person’s email address.  People should direct their emails to the people on the RAC who represent their interests.

Submitted by: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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