Exceptional Fish Yield in a Mid-Elevation Utah Trout Reservoir: Effects of Angling Regulations
Great Basin Naturalist
Brigham Young University
We used creel surveys to evaluate how a change from a 6-mon to a year-round fishing season affected the sport fish harvest in East Canyon Reservoir (Utah), a 277-ha mesoeutrophic system. Under the year-round season, fishing effort was 840 angler-h.ha-1.yr-1, and 360 trout ha-1 were captured. Catch rates were proportional to estimated trout densities in the reservoir, ranging from 1.06 during the winter ice fishery, to 0.18 fish angler-1.h-1 in July. Ninety-nine percent of fish harvested were rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus myskiss). Thirty-two percent of the 300,000 75-mm fingerling trout stocked annually were captured by anglers within 2.5 yr, but return rates varied with the strain and/or size of trout stocked. Annual fish yield was 102 kg/ha, among the highest yet reported for a temperate zone, lacustrine system. Extending fishing from a 6-mon season to year-round increased the number of fish captured and provided almost twice as many hours of recreational fishing in the reservoir. The harvest period was changed from traditional spring-summer months to primarily a winter-spring fishery because relatively few trout survived for more than 6 mon after reaching harvestable size. Although salmonid production in East Canyon Reservoir is very high, the fishery is in a precarious state because high primary productivity driven, in part, by cultural cutrophication, makes water quality suboptimal during midsummer.
Wurtsbaugh, W.A., D. Barnard and T. Pettengill. 1996. Fish yield in a mid-elevation Utah trout reservoir: effects of angling regulations. Great Basin Nat. 56: 12-21.