Don't ditch a fish!
Don't ditch a fish!
Don't ditch a fish!

It's illegal and harmful

Please don't damage fisheries, harm native species and endanger fragile ecosystems.

Know the law
  • Introducing fish — including aquarium species — into Utah waters is illegal.
  • Transporting live fish from one water to another is a violation of state law.
  • Releasing any species of fish into a Utah pond, stream or lake is against the law.
  • Fishing with live baitfish is illegal in Utah.

See the current Utah Fishing Guidebook for all fishing regulations.

The problem with ditching pets

If you've decided that caring for your pet fish is no longer an option, why not release it into a local pond or stream where it can break free of the confines of a bowl, make new fish friends and swim happily ever after? Unfortunately, that isn't what's likely to happen. Your pet could:

  • Slowly starve to death
  • Become a tasty meal for a predator
  • Introduce harmful pathogens or parasites to native populations
  • Outcompete native species for limited food resources
  • Prey directly on native species
  • Survive, multiply and become an invasive species

Once illegally introduced fish become established in a waterbody, the fish community there is forever changed. Fisheries ruined by aquarium fish require expensive chemical treatments and hundreds of hours in planning and restoration. Don't ditch your pet fish. Call us for help properly disposing of aquarium species.

The problem with transporting live fish

When you move live fish from one waterbody to another, it costs the state millions of dollars in treatment projects and lost revenue. Before you make the decision to illegally transport a fish — or fish with live bait — consider these consequences:

  • Illegally introduced fish often outcompete desired species
  • Transferring fish can introduce disease to a water, destroying fish populations
  • Illegally introduced fish can negatively alter water quality, irrigation and water delivery systems
  • Fish introduced unlawfully often escape into streams and rivers, devastating native species
  • Usually the only method for removing unwanted fish involves killing all of the fish in a body of water
  • Chemical treatments to remove invasive fish are expensive and take a lot of time
  • Eradication of invasive species has tremendous economic impact

It's not that some of these fish don't have value to anglers; it's just that in most cases, they don't belong where people plant them. The careful decisions we make about the fish in Utah's waters are largely based on angler input. Take the surveys we offer and share your input on how the fisheries are managed, but please, leave the fish stocking and biology to us.

How can you help

We can't be everywhere at once, so we need your help preventing the transport and release of live fish into ponds, lakes and streams. So, what can you do?

  1. Don't ditch a fish — whether it's an unwanted pet or a living fish from another waterbody
  2. Dispose of aquarium fish properly (call us if you need help)
  3. Report observations of invasive fish to us by calling 1-800-662-3337
  4. Report observations of illegal introductions by calling 1-800-662-3337
Quick links
Wildlife Blog: Views from DWR employees
» Wildlife Blog
Report poachers — 1-800-662-3337
» Report poachers
Wildlife dates
» Important dates
Hunter, angler mobile app
Hunter Education: Sign up for classes
» Hunter education