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You can keep more fish

Wildlife Board approves fishing changes for 2014

SALT LAKE CITY — Starting Jan. 1, you can have more fish in your freezer at home. And you won't be required to eat fish you catch at waters that have catch-and-kill regulations.

A father and daughter fishing at Petes Hole in Utah.

Utah's fish possession limit will change in 2014. The change might increase the chance you take your family fishing at waters farther from your home.

Photo by Randall Stilson, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Those changes are among several fishing changes members of the Utah Wildlife Board approved at a meeting on Nov. 7. The changes go into effect Jan. 1, 2014.

All of the changes the board approved will be available in the 2014 Utah Fishing Guidebook. The free guidebook should be available at wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks by early December.

The following are among the changes the board approved for 2014:

  • You can have more fish in your possession.

    Currently, the daily bag limit and the possession limit are the same. For example, if you catch four trout (the daily limit at most waters in Utah) and then put them in your freezer at home, you can't catch and keep any more trout until you've eaten at least one of the fish. If you eat one fish, you can go out and catch one more. If you eat two fish, you can go out and catch two more. If you eat all four fish, you can go out and catch another four-trout limit.

    Starting Jan. 1, the possession limit will be twice the daily limit at most fishing waters in Utah. Drew Cushing, warm water sport fisheries coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says increasing the possession limit might encourage anglers to travel and fish waters that are farther from their homes.

    "Having a possession limit that's twice the daily bag limit will allow you to stay an extra day and fish," he says. "You can catch your daily limit one day, and then go out the next day and catch one more limit. That extra day of fishing might be the incentive you need to travel to some distant waters to fish."

    The possession limit will not change at Strawberry or Flaming Gorge reservoirs, however. If you have a limit of fish at home, you cannot fish these waters until you've eaten at least one of the fish.

  • Starting Jan. 1, you won't be required to eat fish you catch at catch-and-kill waters.

    A total of 10 waters in Utah have catch-and-kill regulations. The regulations require you to kill certain species of fish if you catch those species at the waters.

    (The catch-and-kill regulation is a tool that helps biologists better control fish that have been stocked into waters illegally.)

    Currently, Utah also has a regulation that does not allow fish to be "wasted." "You must eat the fish you keep," Cushing says.

    Starting Jan. 1, the "wasting" rule will be eliminated at catch-and-kill waters. Also, there will no longer be a wasting rule for common carp, no matter where in the state the carp are caught.

    Cushing encourages you to eat the fish you catch at catch-and-kill waters. "But anglers will no longer be required to eat fish that the law forces them to kill," he says. "This change will allow you to decide for yourself whether you want to eat the fish."

    If you decide not to eat the fish, you can kill it and then return it to the water or dispose of it in a fish-cleaning station, a garbage can, a landfill or a dumpster.

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