My primary concern is for the overall health and growth of a species. Rather than focusing on individual animals, I ask myself how management actions will affect the species as a whole in an area, and then I weigh the costs against the benefits. Given these considerations, most of the time my advice is that people avoid feeding deer in the winter.
Many of the larger rainbow trout were shaped like Spalding footballs, especially those in the 15- to 17-inch size class. Brown trout have also taken on a new look, and the night’s “big fish” was a 20-inch brown trout weighing in at 3.5 pounds.
Participants were extremely satisfied with the experience—especially the opportunity to see these mysterious creatures in the flesh. There was also talk of how therapeutic it was to sit in the darkness and watch the stars from lawn chairs.
Bear Lake cutthroat trout follow the same tributaries during their early-June spawning run. The tributaries to the reservoir are currently closed to fishing. Though the water is a little murky in June, you can still watch them in the river as they work their way upstream to spawn.
Fish activity and feeding really heats up along reservoir shorelines in the spring. The sun warms the shallow areas of water first, and fish naturally move into this water to bask and feed. The resulting activity attracts anglers and fishery biologists, both with the same goal: to catch a lot of fish.
Our total catch was 681 fish, including 443 rainbows, 236 browns and a couple whitefish. Our PIT tag recapture rate was around 19 percent, which is similar to what we normally see. The big fish of the night was a rainbow trout that stretched the measuring stick to nearly 22 inches, while the longest brown was just less than 19 inches.
The chaining removed pinyon and juniper trees in order to establish grasses, forbs and shrubs. These trees provide hiding spots and thermal cover for deer and elk, which is like a bedroom. By removing islands of trees and aerial seeding the area with quality plant species, we create a kitchen, and they still have a bedroom too. It’s a habitat remodel of sorts.
Having the right tool for the job is important in any profession or trade. Chefs need sharp knives, house painters need high-volume sprayers and plumbers need adjustable wrenches. The same rule applies to fisheries biologists. We often use electrofishing to do our jobs, and it’s just what it sounds like: fishing with electricity.
Scofield Reservoir is one of the most popular and heavily used fisheries in Utah. Recently, however, the reservoir has experienced some challenges that have reduced the number of anglers who fish there. The biggest challenge was the discovery of Utah chubs in the reservoir in 2005.
My adventure began about a year ago, in March 2010. I’d heard tales from previous years, and I knew the season for bear denning was upon us. For a small-town girl from Mississippi, this was a chance of a lifetime!
I have learned some interesting things during the process of collaring and monitoring deer in northern Utah. The first and most significant thing is that in recent years, deer numbers have generally risen. I have also found that when the deer died — if it wasn’t because of the winter weather — it was often because they were hit by a vehicle.