Big changes in store for Scofield anglers
In an effort to fight the explosion of the Utah chub at Scofield Reservoir, the Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) is proposing changes in fishing regulations for Scofield Reservoir anglers in 2009.
Every year, the DWR conducts gill-netting surveys at major reservoirs to evaluate the health of that fishery. In 2006, fisheries biologists counted an average of two chubs per net at Scofield Reservoir. The number of chubs per net jumped to 26 in 2007. Then in 2008, the chub population increased to 205 per net.
The DWR first responded to the presence of chubs in the reservoir in 2005 when 105,000 tiger trout fingerlings were stocked. An increase in the trout limit was initiated in 2007 to thin what was determined to be an overabundance of fish in the reservoir and to increase overall growth rates. The increased growth rates should have produced more large predators in the long run; however, the unexpected rapid increase in chub numbers necessitated more drastic action.
Beginning in 2009, the DWR is proposing regulations, like those imposed at Strawberry Reservoir, where a chub war has been underway for several years. It will be proposed that the trout limit be lowered to four fish. Within that four fish limit, there will be special protection for cutthroat and tiger trout, which are needed to maximize chub predation. Anglers will be able to keep only one cutthroat or tiger trout under 15 inches, and only one cutthroat or tiger trout over 22 inches. All cutthroat and tiger trout between 15 and 22 inches must be immediately released. Rainbow trout will not be given special protection as they are not effective predators.
This proposal among others is being proposed to fight the battle of illegal fish introductions across the state.
Proposed changes for 2009 will be discussed at the September round of Regional Wildlife Advisory Council (RAC) meetings. Proposals and schedules may be found at: http://wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings/next.php.
For those wishing to make a comment on the changes, but who can't attend a RAC meeting, they may email comments to their regional sportsmen representative. Their email addresses are listed at: http://wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings/rac_members.php.