Rules and regulations
KEY: fish, fishing, wildlife, wildlife law
Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment: January 22, 2013
Notice of Continuation: October 1, 2012
Authorizing, and Implemented or Interpreted Law: 23-14-18; 23-14-19; 23-19-1; 23-22-3
(1) Under authority of Sections 23-14-18 and 23-14-19 of the Utah Code, the Wildlife Board has established this rule for taking fish and crayfish.
(2) Specific dates, areas, methods of take, requirements and other administrative details which may change annually and are pertinent are published in the proclamation of the Wildlife Board for taking fish and crayfish.
(1) Terms used in this rule are defined in Section 23-13-2.
(2) In addition:
(a) "Aggregate" means the combined total of two or more species of fish or two or more size classes of fish which are covered by a limit distinction.
(b) "Angling" means fishing with a rod, pole, tipup, handline, or trollboard that has a single line with legal hooks, baits, or lures attached to it, and is held in the hands of, or within sight (not to exceed 100 feet) of, the person fishing.
(c)(i) "Artificial fly" means a fly made by the method known as fly tying.
(ii) "Artificial fly" does not mean a weighted jig, lure, spinner, attractor blade, or bait.
(d) "Artificial lure" means a device made of rubber, wood, metal, glass, fiber, feathers, hair, or plastic with a hook or hooks attached. Artificial lures, including artificial flies, do not include fish eggs or other chemically treated or processed natural baits or any natural or human-made food, or any lures that have been treated with a natural or artificial fish attractant or feeding stimulant.
(e) "Bag limit" means the maximum limit, in number or amount, of protected wildlife that one person may legally take during one day.
(f) "Bait" means a digestible substance, including worms, cheese, salmon eggs, marshmallows, or manufactured baits including human-made items that are chemically treated with food stuffs, chemical fish attractants or feeding stimulants.
(g) "Camp" means, for the purposes of this rule, any place providing temporary overnight accommodation for anglers including a camper, campground, tent, trailer, cabin, houseboat, boat, or hotel.
(h) "Chumming" means dislodging or depositing in the water any substance not attached to a hook, line, or trap, which may attract fish.
(i) "Commercially prepared and chemically treated baitfish" means any fish species or fish parts which have been processed using a chemical or physical preservation technique other than freezing including irradiation, salting, cooking, or oiling and are marketed, sold or traded for financial gain as bait.
(j) "Dipnet" means a small bag net with a handle that is used to scoop fish or crayfish from the water.
(k) "Filleting" means the processing of fish for human consumption typically done by cutting away flesh from bones, skin, and body.
(l) "Fishing contest" means any organized event or gathering where anglers are awarded prizes, points or money for their catch.
(m) "Float tube" means an inflatable floating device less than 48 inches in any dimension, capable of supporting one person.
(n) "Free Shafting" means to release a pointed shaft that is not tethered or attached by physical means to the diver in an attempt to take fish while engaged in underwater spearfishing.
(o) "Gaff" means a spear or hook, with or without a handle, used for holding or lifting fish.
(p) "Game fish" means Bonneville cisco; bluegill; bullhead; channel catfish; crappie; green sunfish; largemouth bass; northern pike; Sacramento perch; smallmouth bass; striped bass, trout (rainbow, albino, cutthroat, brown, golden, brook, lake/mackinaw, kokanee salmon, and grayling or any hybrid of the foregoing); tiger muskellunge; walleye; white bass; whitefish; wiper; and yellow perch.
(q) "Handline" means a piece of line held in the hand and not attached to a pole used for taking fish or crayfish.
(r) "Immediately Released" means that the fish should be quickly unhooked and released back into the water where caught. Fish that must be immediately released cannot be held on a stringer, or in a live well or any other container or restraining device.
(s) "Lake" means the standing water level existing at any time within a lake basin. Unless posted otherwise, a stream flowing inside or within the high water mark is not considered part of the lake.
(t) "Length measurement" means the greatest length between the tip of the head or snout and the tip of the caudal (tail) fin when the fin rays are squeezed together. Measurement is taken in a straight line and not over the curve of the body.
(u) "Liftnet" means a small net that is drawn vertically through the water column to take fish or crayfish.
(v) "Motor" means an electric or internal combustion engine.
(w) "Nongame fish" means species of fish not listed as game fish.
(x) "Possession limit" means, for purposes of this rule only, one bag limit, including fish at home, in a cooler, camper, tent, freezer, livewell or any other place of storage.
(y) "Protected aquatic wildlife" means, for purposes of this rule only, all species of fish, crustaceans, or amphibians.
(z) "Reservoir" means the standing water level existing at any time within a reservoir basin. Unless posted otherwise, a stream flowing inside or within the high water mark is not considered part of the reservoir.
(aa) "Second pole" means fishing with one additional rod, pole, tipup, handline, or trollboard that has a single line with legal hooks, bait, or lures attached to it and is held in the hands of, or within sight of the person fishing.
(bb) "Seine" means a small mesh net with a weighted line on the bottom and float line on the top that is drawn through the water. This type of net is used to enclose fish when its ends are brought together.
(cc) "Setline" means a line anchored to a non-moving object and not attached to a fishing pole.
(dd) "Single hook" means a hook or multiple hooks having a common shank.
(ee) "Snagging" or "gaffing" means to take a fish in a manner that the fish does not take the hook voluntarily into its mouth.
(ff) "Spear" means a long-shafted, sharply pointed, hand held instrument with or without barbs used to spear fish from above the surface of the water.
(gg) "Spearfishing (underwater)" means fishing by a person swimming, snorkeling, or diving and using a mechanical device held in the hand, which uses a rubber band, spring, pneumatic power, or other devise to propel a pointed shaft to take fish from under the surface of the water.
(hh) "Tributary" means a stream flowing into a larger stream, lake, or reservoir.
(ii)(i) "Trout" means species of the family Salmonidae, including rainbow, albino, cutthroat, brown, golden, brook, tiger, lake (mackinaw), splake, kokanee salmon, and grayling or any hybrid of the foregoing.
(ii) "Trout" does not include whitefish or Bonneville cisco.
(1) A license is not required on free fishing day, a Saturday in June, annually. All other laws and rules apply.
(2) A person 12 years of age or older shall purchase a fishing license before engaging in any regulated fishing activity pursuant to Section 23-19-18.
(3) A person under 12 years of age may fish without a license and take a full bag and possession limit.
(1) All fishing contests shall be held pursuant to R657-58 Fishing Contests and Clinics.
(1) Bear Lake
(a) The holder of a valid Utah or Idaho fishing or combination license may fish within both the Utah and Idaho boundaries of Bear Lake with one fishing pole. With the purchase of a valid Utah fishing or combination license and a Utah second pole permit, or a valid Idaho fishing or combination license and an Idaho two-pole permit, an angler may fish with two poles anywhere on Bear Lake that is open to fishing. A second pole or two-pole permit must be purchased from the state of original license purchase.
(b) Only one bag limit may be taken and held in possession even if licensed in both states.
(2) Reciprocal Fishing Permits
(a) The purchase of a reciprocal fishing permit allows a person to fish across state boundaries of interstate waters.
(b) Reciprocal fishing permits are offered for Lake Powell and Flaming Gorge Reservoir (See Subsections (3) and (4).)
(c) Utah residents may obtain reciprocal fishing permits by contacting the state of Arizona for Lake Powell and the state of Wyoming for Flaming Gorge.
(d) Nonresidents may obtain reciprocal fishing permits through the division's web site, from online license agents and division offices.
(e) The reciprocal fishing permit must be:
(i) used in conjunction with a valid unexpired fishing or combination license from a reciprocating state; and
(ii) signed by the holder as the holder's name appears on the valid unexpired fishing or combination license from the reciprocating state.
(f) Reciprocal fishing permits are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase.
(g) Anglers are subject to the laws and rules of the state in which they are fishing.
(h) Only one bag limit may be taken and held in possession even if licensed in both states.
(3) Lake Powell Reservoir
(a) Any person qualifying as an Arizona resident and having in their possession a valid resident Arizona fishing license and a Utah reciprocal fishing permit for Lake Powell can fish within the Utah boundaries of Lake Powell.
(b) Any person who is not a resident of Utah or Arizona must purchase the appropriate nonresident licenses for Utah and Arizona to fish both sides of Lake Powell.
(c) Only Utah and Arizona residents are allowed to purchase reciprocal permits to fish both sides of Lake Powell.
(4) Flaming Gorge Reservoir
(a) Any person possessing a valid Wyoming fishing license and a Utah reciprocal fishing permit for Flaming Gorge is permitted to fish within the Utah waters of Flaming Gorge Reservoir.
(1) While angling, the angler shall be within sight (not to exceed 100 feet) of the equipment being used at all times, except setlines.
(2) Angling with more than one line is unlawful, except:
(a) when using a valid second pole permit in conjunction with an unexpired Utah one day, seven day or annual fishing or combination license;
(b) while fishing for crayfish without the use of fish hooks;
(c) while fishing through the ice at Flaming Gorge Reservoir. A second pole permit is not required when fishing through the ice at Flaming Gorge Reservoir, or when fishing for crayfish with lines without hooks.
(3) No artificial lure may have more than three hooks.
(4) No line may have attached to it more than three baited hooks, three artificial flies, or three artificial lures, except for a setline.
(5) When angling through the ice, the hole may not exceed 12 inches across at the widest point, except at Bear Lake, Flaming Gorge Reservoir, and Fish Lake where specific limitations apply.
(1) A person may use a second pole to take fish on all waters open to fishing provided they have an unexpired fishing or combination license and a valid second pole permit, except as provided in Subsection (5) below.
(2)(a) A second pole permit may be obtained through the division's web site, from license agents and division offices.
(b)(i) A second pole permit is a 365 day permit valid only when used in conjunction with an unexpired Utah one day, seven day or annual fishing or combination license.
(ii) A second pole permit does not allow an angler to take more than one daily bag or possession limit.
(3) Anglers under 12 years of age must purchase a valid fishing or combination license and second pole permit in order to use a second pole.
(4) A second pole permit shall only be used by the person to whom the second pole permit was issued.
(5) A person may use up to six lines without a second pole permit when fishing at Flaming Gorge Reservoir through the ice. When using more than two lines at Flaming Gorge Reservoir, the angler's name shall be attached to each line, pole, or tip-up, and the angler shall check only their lines.
(1) A person may use a setline to take fish only in the Bear River proper downstream from the Idaho state line, including Cutler Reservoir and outlet canals; Little Bear River below Valley View Highway (SR-30); Malad River; and Utah Lake.
(2)(a) Angling with one pole is permitted while setline fishing, except as provided in Subsection (b).
(b) A person who obtains a second pole permit may fish with two poles while setline fishing.
(3) No more than one setline per angler may be used and it may not contain more than 15 hooks.
(4)(a) A setline permit may be obtained through the division's web site, from license agents and division offices.
(b) A setline permit is required in addition to a valid Utah one day, seven day or annual fishing or combination license.
(c) A setline permit is a 365 day permit valid only when used in conjunction with an unexpired Utah one day, seven day or annual fishing or combination license.
(5) When fishing with a setline, the angler shall be within 100 yards of the surface or bank of the water being fished.
(6) A setline shall have one end attached to a nonmoving object, not attached to a fishing pole, and shall have attached a legible tag with the name, address, and setline permit number of the angler.
(7) Anglers under 12 years of age must purchase a valid Utah one day, seven day or annual fishing or combination license and setline permit in order to use a setline.
(1) Underwater spearfishing is permitted from official sunrise to official sunset only, except as provided in Subsection (6).
(2) Use of artificial light is unlawful while engaged in underwater spearfishing, except as provided in Subsection (6).
(3) Free shafting is prohibited while engaged in underwater spearfishing.
(4) Causey Reservoir (Weber County), Deer Creek Reservoir (Wasatch County), Flaming Gorge Reservoir (Daggett County), Jordanelle Reservoir (Wasatch County), Ken's Lake (San Juan County), Lake Powell (Garfield, Kane and San Juan counties), Lost Creek Reservoir (Morgan County), Pineview Reservoir (Weber County) (with the exception of tiger muskie), Red Fleet Reservoir (Uintah County), Steinaker Reservoir (Uintah County), Starvation Reservoir (Duchesne County), Willard Bay Reservoir (Box Elder County) and Yuba Reservoir (Juab and Sanpete counties) are open to taking game and nongame fish by means of underwater spearfishing from 6:00 a.m. on the first Saturday of June through November 30, except as specified in subsections 5 and 6 below. Fish Lake is open to taking game and nongame fish by means of underwater spearfishing from 6:00 a.m. on the first Saturday of June through September 15.
(5) Lake Powell is open to taking carp and striped bass by means of underwater spearfishing from January 1 through December 31.
(6) Flaming Gorge is open to taking burbot by means of underwater spearfishing from January 1 through December 31, 24 hours each day. Artificial light is permitted while engaged in underwater spearfishing for burbot at Flaming Gorge. Artificial light may not be used at other waters nor may it be used when pursuing other fish species in Flaming Gorge. No other species of fish may be taken with underwater spearfishing techniques at Flaming Gorge between official sunset and official sunrise.
(7) The bag and possession limit for underwater spearfishing is the same as the bag and possession limit applied to anglers using other techniques in the waters listed in Subsection (4) above and as identified in the annual Utah Fishing Proclamation issued by the Utah Wildlife Board.
(8) Nongame fish may be taken by underwater spearfishing only in the waters listed in Subsection (4) above and as provided in Section R657-13-14.
(9) The waters listed above in subsection 4 are the only waters open to underwater spearfishing except that carp may be taken by means of underwater spearfishing from any water open to angling during the open angling season set for a given body of water.
(1) Hand-held dipnets may be used to land game fish legally taken by angling. However, they may not be used as a primary method to take game fish from Utah waters except at Bear Lake where they are permitted for Bonneville Cisco.
(2) The opening of the dipnet may not exceed 18 inches.
(3) When dipnetting through the ice, the size of the hole is unrestricted.
(4) Hand held dipnets may also be used to take crayfish and nongame fish, except prohibited fish.
(1) Artificial light is permitted while angling, except when underwater spearfishing. However artificial light is permitted while underwater spearfishing for burbot in Flaming Gorge or while bow fishing for carp statewide.
(2) A person may not obstruct a waterway, use a chemical, explosive, electricity, poison, crossbow, firearm, pellet gun, or archery equipment to take fish or crayfish, except as provided in Subsection R657-13-14(1)(c) and Section R657-13-20.
(3) A person may not take protected aquatic wildlife by snagging or gaffing, except at Lake Powell where a gaff may be used to land striped bass. It is unlawful to possess a gaff at waters, except at Lake Powell.
(4) Chumming is prohibited on all waters, except as provided in Section R657-13-20.
(5) The use of a float tube or a boat, with or without a motor, to take protected aquatic wildlife is permitted on many public waters. However, boaters should be aware that other agencies may have additional restrictions on the use of float tubes, boats, or boats with motors on some waters.
(6) Nongame fish and crayfish may be taken only as provided in Sections R657-13-14 and R657-13-15.
(1) Use or possession of corn, hominy, or live baitfish while fishing is unlawful.
(2) Use or possession of tiger salamanders (live or dead) while fishing is unlawful.
(3) Use or possession of any bait while fishing on waters designated artificial fly and lure only is unlawful.
(4) Use or possession of artificial baits which are commercially imbedded or covered with fish or fish parts while fishing is unlawful.
(5) Use or possession of bait in the form of fresh or frozen fish or fish parts while fishing is unlawful, except as provided below and in Subsections (7) and (8).
(a) Dead Bonneville cisco may be used as bait only in Bear Lake.
(b) Dead yellow perch may be used as bait only in: Deer Creek, Echo, Fish Lake, Gunnison, Hyrum, Johnson, Jordanelle, Mantua, Mill Meadow, Newton, Pineview, Rockport, Starvation, Utah Lake, Willard Bay and Yuba reservoirs.
(c) Dead white bass may be used as bait only in Utah Lake and the Jordan River.
(d) Dead shad, from Lake Powell, may be used as bait only in Lake Powell. Dead shad must not be removed from the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
(e) Dead fresh or frozen salt water species including sardines and anchovies may be used as bait in any water where bait is permitted.
(f) Dead mountain sucker, white sucker, Utah sucker, redside shiner, speckled dace, mottled sculpin, fat head minnow, Utah chub, and common carp may be used as bait in any water where bait is permitted.
(6) Commercially prepared and chemically treated baitfish or their parts may be used as bait in any water where bait is permitted.
(7) The eggs of any species of fish caught in Utah, except prohibited fish, may be used in any water where bait is permitted. However, eggs may not be taken or used from fish that are being released.
(8) Use of live crayfish for bait is legal only on the water where the crayfish is captured. It is unlawful to transport live crayfish away from the water where captured.
(9) Manufactured, human-made items that may not be digestible, that are chemically treated with food stuffs, chemical fish attractants, or feeding stimulants may not be used on waters where bait is prohibited.
(10) On any water declared infested by the Wildlife Board with an aquatic invasive species, or that is subject to a closure order or control plan under R657-60, it shall be unlawful to transport any species of baitfish (live or dead) from the infested water for use as bait in any other water of the State. Baitfish are defined as those species listed in sections (5)(b),(5)(c),(5)(f) and (8).
(1) The following species of fish are classified as prohibited and may not be taken or held in possession:
(a) Bonytail (Gila elegans);
(b) Bluehead sucker (Catostomus discobolus);
(c) Colorado pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus lucius);
(d) Flannelmouth sucker (Catostomus latipinnis);
(e) Gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum), except at Lake Powell;
(f) Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella);
(g) Humpback chub (Gila cypha);
(h) June sucker (Chasmistes liorus);
(i) Least chub (Iotichthys phlegethontis);
(j) Leatherside chub (Snyderichthys copei);
(k) Razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus);
(l) Roundtail chub (Gila robusta);
(m) Virgin River chub (Gila seminuda);
(n) Virgin spinedace (Lepidomeda mollispinis); and
(o) Woundfin (Plagopterus argentissimus).
(2) Any of these species taken while attempting to take other legal species shall be immediately released.
(1)(a) Except as provided in Subsections (b) and (c), a person possessing a valid Utah fishing or combination license may take nongame fish for personal, noncommercial purposes during the open fishing season set for the given body of water.
(b) A person may not take any species of fish designated as prohibited in Section R657-13-13.
(c) Nongame fish may not be taken in the following waters, except carp may be taken by angling, archery, spear, or underwater spearfishing:
(i) San Juan River;
(ii) Colorado River;
(iii) Green River (from confluence with Colorado River upstream to Colorado state line in Dinosaur National Monument);
(iv) Green River (from Colorado state line in Brown's Park upstream to Flaming Gorge Dam, including Gorge Creek, a tributary entering the Green River at Little Hole);
(v) White River (Uintah County);
(vi) Duchesne River (from Myton to confluence with Green River);
(vii) Virgin River (Main stem, North, and East Forks).
(viii) Ash Creek;
(ix) Beaver Dam Wash;
(x) Fort Pierce Wash;
(xi) La Verkin Creek;
(xii) Santa Clara River (Pine Valley Reservoir downstream to the confluence with the Virgin River);
(xiii) Diamond Fork;
(xiv) Thistle Creek;
(xv) Main Canyon Creek (tributary to Wallsburg Creek);
(xvi) Provo River (below Deer Creek Dam);
(xvii) Spanish Fork River;
(xviii) Hobble Creek (Utah County); and
(xix) Snake Valley waters (west and north of US-6 and that part of US-6 and US-50 in Millard and Juab counties).
(2) Nongame fish, except those species listed in Section R657-13-13, may be taken by angling, traps, bow and arrow, liftnets, dipnets, cast nets, seine, spear or underwater spearfishing in the waters specified in Subsection R657-13-9(4).
(3) Seines shall not exceed 10 feet in length or width.
(4) Cast nets must not exceed 10 feet in diameter.
(5) Lawfully taken nongame fish shall be either released or killed immediately upon removing them from the water, however, they may not be left or abandoned on the shoreline.
(1) A person possessing a valid Utah fishing or combination license may take crayfish for personal, noncommercial purposes during the open fishing season set for the given body of water.
(2) Crayfish may be taken by hand or with a trap, pole, liftnet, dipnet, handline, or seine, provided that:
(a) game fish or their parts, or any substance unlawful for angling, is not used for bait;
(b) seines shall not exceed 10 feet in length or width;
(c) no more than five lines are used, and no more than one line may have hooks attached, - except when an angler possesses a valid second pole permit in which case two hooked lines may be used. On unhooked lines, bait is tied to the line so that the crayfish grasps the bait with its claw; and
(d) live crayfish are not transported from the body of water where taken.
(1)(a) At all waters except Strawberry Reservoir, Scofield Reservoir, Panguitch Lake, Jordanelle Reservoir and Lake Powell, game fish may be dressed, filleted, have heads and/or tails removed, or otherwise be physically altered after completing the act of fishing or reaching a fish cleaning station, camp, or principal means of land transportation. It is unlawful to possess fish while engaged in the act of fishing that have been dressed or filleted. This shall not apply to fish that are processed for immediate consumption or to fish held from a previous day's catch.
(b) Trout and/or salmon taken at Strawberry Reservoir, Scofield Reservoir and Panguitch Lake, and smallmouth bass taken at Jordanelle may not be filleted and the heads or tails may not be removed in the field or in transit.
(c) Fish may be filleted at any time and anglers may possess filleted fish at any time at Lake Powell.
(2) A legal limit of game fish or crayfish may accompany the holder of a valid fishing or combination license within Utah or when leaving Utah.
(3) A person may possess or transport a legal limit of game fish or crayfish for another person when accompanied by a donation letter.
(4) A person may not take more than one bag limit in any one day or possess more than one bag limit of each species or species aggregate regardless of the number of days spent fishing.
(5) A person may possess or transport dead fish on a receipt from a registered commercial fee fishing installation, a private pond owner, or a short-term fishing event. This receipt shall specify:
(a) the number and species of fish;
(b) date caught;
(c) the certificate of registration number of the installation, pond, or short-term fishing event; and
(d) the name, address, telephone number of the seller.
(1) A person may not possess or transport live protected aquatic wildlife except as provided by the Wildlife Code or the rules and proclamation of the Wildlife Board.
(2) For purposes of this rule, a person may not transport live fish or crayfish away from the water where taken.
(3) This does not preclude the use of live fish stringers, live wells, or hold type cages as part of normal angling procedures while on the same water in which the fish or crayfish are taken.
Without prior authorization from the division, a person may not:
(1) tag, mark, or fin-clip fish for the purpose of offering a prize or reward as part of a contest;
(2) introduce a tagged, marked, or fin-clipped fish into the water; or
(3) tag, mark, or fin-clip a fish and return it to the water.
(1) All waters of state fish rearing and spawning facilities are closed to fishing.
(2) State waterfowl management areas are closed to fishing except as specified in the proclamation of the Wildlife Board for taking fish and crayfish.
(3) The season for taking fish and crayfish is January 1 through December 31, 24 hours each day. Exceptions are specified in the proclamation of the Wildlife Board for taking fish and crayfish.
(4)(a) Bag and possession limits are specified in the proclamation of the Wildlife Board for taking fish and crayfish and apply statewide unless otherwise specified.
(b)(i) A person may not fish in waters that have a specific bag or size limit while possessing fish in violation of that limit.
(ii) Fish not meeting the size, bag, or species provisions on specified waters shall be returned to the water immediately.
(c)(i) Trout, salmon and grayling that are not immediately released and are held in possession, dead or alive, are included in the person's bag and possession limit.
(ii) Once a trout, salmon or grayling is held in or on a stringer, fish basket, livewell, or by any other device, a trout, salmon or grayling may not be released.
(2) A person may not take more than one bag limit in any one day or have in possession more than one bag limit of each species or species aggregate regardless of the number of days spent on fishing.
Variations to season dates, times, bag and possession limits, methods of take, use of a float tube or a boat for fishing, and exceptions to closed areas are specified in the proclamation of the Wildlife Board for taking fish and crayfish.
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