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Action Taken to Fight Illegal Fish Stocking

Wildlife Board approves no limit and catch-and-kill rules

Salt Lake City -- The war to fight illegal fish stocking took a step forward in Utah recently.

On Nov. 3, members of the Utah Wildlife Board approved no limit and catch-and-kill regulations for the following waters in southern and central Utah:

No limit on the number of smallmouth bass anglers can keep

Smallmouth bassQuail Creek, Sand Hollow and Gunlock reservoirs
Smallmouth bassVirgin and Santa Clara rivers
No limit. Anglers must keep and kill the fish they catch
Black bullhead catfishDeer Creek Reservoir
Northern pikeUtah Lake

Drew Cushing, sport fisheries coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says the agency will no longer manage fish that are placed illegally in a body of water. “Two tools we have to fight illegal fish stocking are no limit and catch-and-kill regulations,” he says. “We want illegally stocked fish removed as quick as possible.”

Cushing says the no limit and catch-and-kill regulations are just the first of many ideas DWR biologists are discussing to fight illegal fish stocking in Utah. “This month,” he says, “we’ll discuss which ideas we might want to implement next.”

All of the fishing rules the board approved for the state’s 2012 season will be available in the 2012 Utah Fishing Guidebook. The guidebook should be available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks in early December.

Stealing your fish

Cushing says illegal fish stocking hurts anglers, including you, several ways:

Cushing says those who move fish illegally hurt Utah’s wildlife more than those who poach deer or elk. “In terms of money and the number of people illegal fish stocking affects,” he says, “those who move fish from one body of water to another do a lot more damage.”