Crappie fishing, help needed: Wildlife officials invite anglers to catch fish for transfer from Sand Hollow to Gunlock

ST. GEORGE – Last fall, Gunlock Reservoir was left devoid of fish after being chemically treated to kill off an invasive species. Now state wildlife officials are working to refill the reservoir and are asking local anglers for help.

Richard Hepworth, southern region aquatics manager for the Utah Division of Wildlife Services, and other DWR at Sand Hollow reservoir, with the aid of local anglers, collect largemouth bass and other fish for relocation to Gunlock reservoir which been been devoid of fish until recently. Gunlock was chemically treatment last August to kill off smallmouth bass which are seen as a threat to endangered species in the Virgin River system, Sand Hollow State Park, Hurricane, Utah, April 21, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Richard Hepworth, southern region aquatics manager for the Utah Division of Wildlife Services, and other DWR at Sand Hollow reservoir, with the aid of local anglers, collect largemouth bass and other fish for relocation to Gunlock reservoir which been been devoid of fish until recently. Gunlock was chemically treatment last August to kill off smallmouth bass which are seen as a threat to endangered species in the Virgin River system, Sand Hollow State Park, Hurricane, Utah, April 21, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

As of 4 p.m. Thursday, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources staff and local fishing enthusiasts had caught 230-plus largemouth bass at Sand Hollow Reservoir for transfer to Gunlock Reservoir. One tasty fish proving elusive during this unusual fish-a-thon is the crappie, a silvery sunfish that can grow up to 12 inches and weigh as much as 4 pounds.

Fishing continues Saturday for anglers who want to join the DWR in its fishing efforts to restock Gunlock Reservoir.

In fact, it wasn’t until last week when DWR personnel introduced around 40 crappies, taken from Willard Bay Reservoir in northern Utah, that Gunlock Reservoir had any fish swimming in it at all, said Richard Hepworth, DWR’s southern region aquatics manager.

DWR officials plan to move any largemouth bass, blue gills and additional crappies caught during this weekend’s fishing efforts at Sand Hollow Reservoir to Gunlock Reservoir as soon as possible.

We’re getting a new group of fish ready to go in there really quick,” Hepworth said.

An advantage of moving the largemouth bass at this time is that many are ready to spawn. So while adult fish will be introduced to Gunlock, a new generation won’t be far behind them.

And while DWR personnel could take the time to collect the fish through casting nets and other means, they’ve found there’s a better way when it comes to causing less stress and injury on the fish.

Personnel with the Utah Division of Wildlife Services at Sand Hollow reservoir, with the aid of local anglers, collect largemouth bass and other fish for relocation to Gunlock reservoir which been been devoid of fish until recently. Gunlock was chemically treatment last August to kill off smallmouth bass which are seen as a threat to endangered species in the Virgin River system, Sand Hollow State Park, Hurricane, Utah, April 21, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Personnel with the Utah Division of Wildlife Services at Sand Hollow reservoir, with the aid of local anglers, collect largemouth bass and other fish for relocation to Gunlock reservoir which been been devoid of fish until recently. Gunlock was chemically treatment last August to kill off smallmouth bass which are seen as a threat to endangered species in the Virgin River system, Sand Hollow State Park, Hurricane, Utah, April 21, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

To he honest, fishing gear is one of the easiest on the fish,” Hepwoth said.

So anglers are invited to go to Sand Hollow Reservoir this week and give the DWR a hand. DWR officials will either be at the boat docks or out on the water. Hepworth said the DWR boat will be easily recognizable.

Fish caught by anglers and given to the DWR will be placed in a truck and transported to Gunlock.

The goal is to place up to 300 largemouth bass in Gunlock Reservoir. A hundred were fished out of Sand Hollow Tuesday, which another 130 caught Thursday. The last day for the fishing will be Saturday.

The invasive species that triggered the chemical treatment at Gunlock was the smallmouth bass, Hepworth said. Those fish, among others, are considered prohibited for introduction to the Virgin River system, which is home to several threatened and endangered native fish species.

Moving 300 largemouth bass to Gunlock will help revitalize the reservoir, Hepworth said, as well as help support the remaining population in Sand Hollow by cutting down the competition.

“We’re really helping the ones that are left,” he said.

Even if some want to fish for themselves, Hepworth still invites people to come to Sand Hollow and fish, adding the fishing this season is great.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery. 

Resources

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.