When I first visited the burned area it looked like a bulldozer had gone down the middle of the stream. It was completely full of gravel. There were no fish. There were no pools. This was my first taste of what we were dealing with.
DWR stocks 12,000 rainbow trout and 5,000 tiger trout every year into Red Creek Reservoir. The rainbows are stocked in mid-June and the tigers in early July. Red Creek Reservoir can actually yield some pretty impressive growth, and the condition of the fish has been good.
Newer research has shown an additional factor: water and air temperatures play a big part in fish survival. Fish, especially cold-water fish like trout, are more likely to die when they are caught and brought up into warm summer waters.
The main questions for fisheries managers are whether or not the growing population of chub will compete with sport fish for food and/or space, as has been observed elsewhere, or whether chub can be effectively controlled by trout populations.
One of the perks of working in the Communications section at DWR is that I have quick access to things like web statistics. (If you’re nerdy like me, those sorts of things excite you.) We recently checked the traffic on the fishing portion of the DWR website. In order from least to most page views, here are the 15 Utah waterbodies you were most curious about.
Fishing for brown trout in the Ogden River can be fantastic. Average fish densities can reach upwards of 6,000 fish per mile of stream. Yes, you read that right: there are tons of fish in the Ogden River.
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.
Each summer, more than 60 employees from the DWR’s northern region spend a day together, improving wildlife habitat and a local DWR facility. In June of 2012, we held our annual workday at the Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
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.
All winter I’ve been looking forward to the ice coming off at two reservoirs where I’ll have a good chance of doing both—catching lots of big fish. This spring you’ll find me at Scofield and Joes Valley reservoirs.
Fall is a transitional time for a biologist. It’s also one of my favorite times of year. The season begins amid a frenzy of fieldwork and ends with days behind the desk. The transition between these two modes of work is anything but gradual and naturally anything but boring.