Something Fishy In Utah? DWR Is Working On It
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is working to make sure there is something fishy going on in Utah. In an effort to enhance fishing and boost native fish populations, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources stocks a variety of fish species throughout Utah every year, and in 2023, over 10 million fish were stocked into waterbodies across the state.
In fact, the total number was a whopping 10,634,431 which equates to some 1,171,098 pounds of fish were stocked in to 604 waterbodies in Utah this year. By comparison, in 2022 DWR stocked 8.2 million fish in the state.
Over the past few years, the DWR has made several changes to stocking, including stocking fewer, but larger, fish where needed to increase their survival rate, and also stocking more small fish in locations with higher growth rates. The DWR has also made proactive changes to address drought concerns.
Some of those changes include stocking fewer fish in waterbodies with low water levels, or projected low levels, changing the timing of when certain fish species are stocked to help minimize the potential impacts of warmer water, and evaluating the fish species stocked at drought-impacted waterbodies, including stocking more warmwater fish species at certain waterbodies.
The practice of stocking fish in the Beehive State goes back more than 150 years, as fish were first formally stocked in Utah in 1871. At that time, fish were transported from other states by train and were stocked into lakes along the train route. In 1897, Utah opened its first hatcheries and started raising trout locally.
Over time, the DWR expanded its fish hatchery operations. There are now 13 facilities across Utah, with the Mantua Fish Hatchery recently undergoing upgrades and plans underway to build a new Loa Fish Hatchery.
The bulk of the fish stocked in 2023 came from these DWR hatcheries. The DWR fish hatcheries produce multiple strains of some species, and some of the fish are sterile. Producing sterile fish is an important management tool that helps control fish populations in various waterbodies.
You can find out more on the stocking policies by going to the DWR website.