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Keep more trout at Scofield Reservoir in 2007

Keep more trout at Scofield Reservoir in 2007

SALT LAKE CITY - Anglers at Scofield Reservoir can keep eight trout a day beginning Jan. 1, 2007.

Also beginning Jan. 1, anglers who have a Second Pole Permit can fish with two fishing poles at any fishing water in the state.

Those changes were among several fishing regulation changes the Utah Wildlife Board approved for Utah's 2007 fishing season. Board members approved the changes at their Oct. 5 meeting in Salt Lake City.


The following are some of the major fishing changes the board approved for 2007.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2007, anglers may:


Trout limit at Scofield Reservoir

A big drop in the number of anglers fishing at one of Utah's best trout waters prompted the Division of Wildlife Resources to recommend raising the trout limit at the water. After hearing the recommendation, the Utah Wildlife Board voted to raise the trout limit at Scofield Reservoir from four to eight trout beginning Jan. 1, 2007.

"Scofield is one of the best trout fishing waters in Utah, but the number of anglers who fish it has dropped off dramatically during the past 20 years," says Roger Wilson, sport fisheries coordinator for the DWR.

Wilson says in 1986, anglers spent almost 347,000 hours fishing at Scofield. By 2005, that number had dropped to just under 115,000 hours. "That's a 67 percent drop in angling pressure," Wilson said.

The drop in angler hours has also led to a drop in the number of fish caught at the reservoir. In 1986, anglers caught more than 252,000 trout. By 2005, that number had fallen to less than 36,000.

"Scofield is a fantastic trout fishing water, and anglers are missing out on some great fishing," Wilson said. "We hope raising the trout limit will bring the anglers back."

Wilson says biologists will try the eight trout limit as an experiment. "Our biologists will continue to watch the trout population closely to make sure the eight-trout limit is not having a negative effect on the population," he said. "We'll also survey anglers to learn if the eight-trout limit is one of the reasons they decided to fish at the reservoir."

Statewide walleye limit

Walleye fishing in Utah should be even better in the future after board members approved a recommendation that allows anglers to keep up to 10 walleye. The only exception is Willard Bay Reservoir in northern Utah, where the limit remains at six walleye.

Only one of the walleyes caught at any of the waters can be longer than 24 inches. "Right now many of the state's walleye populations are going through a boom-and-bust cycle. We'll have good numbers of nice-sized walleye at a particular water for a few years, and then the population at that water will decline in both size and numbers as the walleye population grows bigger than the population of fish they prey on," Wilson said.

Wilson says the key to preventing the decline is creating a better balance between the walleye and the fish they prey on.

"Allowing anglers to keep more of the small walleyes should reduce the overall number of walleyes in these waters. Fewer walleyes will provide a better balance between the walleyes and the fish they prey on," he says. "We're hoping the regulation change will result in fewer ups and downs in the walleye population and more consistent and better walleye fishing."

Two fishing poles

Beginning Jan. 1, 2007, anglers can fish with two fishing poles at any public water in Utah that's open to fishing.

"Other states have allowed anglers to use two fishing poles statewide, and there hasn't been a negative effect on their fish populations," Wilson said. "Allowing Utah's anglers to use two poles will provide them with more opportunity and more fun at waters across the state."

In addition to their fishing license, anglers must purchase a Second Pole Permit to use a second pole. Second Pole permits cost $15.

Anglers who use a second pole are reminded that they may not catch two limits of fish. "You may keep only one limit of fish, but using two poles might just give you a better chance at catching that limit," Wilson said.

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

Utah's 2007 Fishing Guide should be available in December.