Important News Article on stock fish - Don Allphin

wayne gustaveson

Moderator
Staff member
#1
Sometimes (even though I feel like people are tired of my rants on assorted topics) I must once again dedicate a very pointed column to the importance of “allowing” the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) to do their jobs regardless of our personal opinions as to their effectiveness.

Please allow me to explain.

Starting with me, some of the management policies of the UDWR literally drive me to drink (sodas). They are human beings (some even have advanced degrees) and at times I feel their “book learning” gets in the way of boots-on-the-ground in the real world. That being said, I would never decide on my own to alter their management plans by taking matters into my own hands.

This month, Kolob Reservoir in southern Utah was killed because some anglers decided they wanted perch, blue gills, and sun fish in the reservoir, instead of the trout the UDWR have been managing for years. That may not resonate with some of you but I have seen the aftermath of the “death” of a reservoir, seen the dead and dying fish, smelled the rotting carcasses, and watched the short-term economic hardships placed on businesses that relied on a healthy fishery for a large part of their income.

Why does this continue to happen?

Anglers come in all sorts of different packages. Purists, that would never purposely harm a fish and would never think of taking one home for dinner; avid sportsmen that take their limits but no more; and then those that take more than their limits, ignore slot limits or other regulations and in short, think more about themselves and anyone or anything else.

It is this third tier of anglers I am writing to this morning. Wake up and smell the coffee. If you decide to illegally stock or move any fish from one water to another, you are spitting in the faces of every other law-abiding angler in the state. Period.

We now have smallmouth bass in Quail Creek Reservoir in southern Utah, northern pike in Utah Lake, smallmouth bass in Strawberry Reservoir, white bass in Deer Creek, and the list goes on and on. It is difficult enough for the UDWR to manage the fish they purposely stocked in our reservoirs, but to be forced to deal with unthinking and uncaring individuals that “think” they are “putting one over” on fishery managers are destroying angling opportunities for the rest of us.

In my mind, there are a few reasons people illegally stock fish.

1. They truly believe they are helping the fishery.

2. They only care about THEIR fishing experiences and couldn’t care less about anyone else.

3. They are such poor anglers they want a larger variety of fish in a reservoir so they can catch more fish.

4. They are so ignorant of laws and the rationale for proper fishery management that they don’t respect anything the UDWR says or does, and just want to put a wrench in their plans.

Can something be done to stop this senseless waste of taxpayer dollars to kill reservoirs and start over again time after time? Yes, there are several things than can and should be done.

1. Offer rewards for people observing illegal stocking and calling a hotline.

2. Have the mussel awareness personnel check live wells and ice chests in every boat passing through their stations.

3. Increase the criminal penalties for illegal stocking or transfers of fish.

4. Provide more education for anglers about the short and long term effects of illegal stocking.

We are truly blessed with some of the finest fishing opportunities in the world. From trout to bass, catfish to stripers, our reservoirs are full of a variety of species. Regardless our differences with management policies and styles by those in charge, we MUST REPECT their decisions and make our cases in RAC meetings held frequently all over the state.

We must decide to never play “God” with our fisheries.
 

Gem Morris

Well-Known Member
#3
Didn't know about the smallmouth in Strawberry. That's REALLY dissappointing!! It is such a fantastic kokanee fishery - among the top few in the West. I hope that isn't affected. I know they eat different things but the SMB will for sure eat more than their share of kokanee fry. This is a sad day.
 

wayne gustaveson

Moderator
Staff member
#4
Didn't know about the smallmouth in Strawberry. That's REALLY dissappointing!! It is such a fantastic kokanee fishery - among the top few in the West. I hope that isn't affected. I know they eat different things but the SMB will for sure eat more than their share of kokanee fry. This is a sad day.

...and with the cold water temperatures smallmouth bass will grow slowly and not really produce any major fishery at all.

smallbass.jpg
 

Dungee Fishing

Well-Known Member
#5
Have heard rumors of smallies in strawberry, have never seen an actual picture of one though and we’ve never seen any sign of one. We fish the Berry a lot.
 

John P Funk

Well-Known Member
#6
This is a systemic problem throughout the West, due to a combination of ignorance and apathy ( I don't know and I don't care), and is unfortunately a reality. I honestly think the illegal stockers believe they are "improving" these fisheries, when in reality they are destroying them. We now have smallmouth bass in the Lower Dolores River(Below McPhee Reservoir) that will never be removed. They don't get very big(I've never caught one over about 6"long), so there's really no point of them being there but they will be there from now on devouring any food that would have gone to native fish.
 

Dorado

Well-Known Member
#9
It is all selfishness. We have it all the time in Wyoming, mostly people who want to catch warmwater/coolwater fish. They want to catch the fish they caught in the Midwest, never mind that they the lakes here are cold, high elevation lakes that trout thrive in...they want their walleye/pike/bass, dam$ everyone else!!!!
 
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Squirrel

Well-Known Member
#10
It is all selfishness. We have it all the time in Wyoming, mostly people who want to catch warmwater/coolwater fish. They want to catch the fish they caught in the Midwest, never mind that they the lakes here are cold, high elevation lakes that trout thrive in...they want their walleye/pike/bass, dam$ everyone else!!!!
Example, the lake trout introduced into Yellowstone Lake. Sq
 
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