The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is working on its Blue Ribbon Fisheries program with 17 new projects.  

A DWR press release said that the program that designates and funds the fisheries has allocated $450,000 to maintaining and improving bodies of water around the state. There are 43 bodies of water that hold the Blue Ribbon status and two mountain regions, the Uinta and Boulder Mountains with streams, lakes, and rivers that also share that status.  

The Blue Ribbon Fisheries Program was started in 2001 by previous Gov. Mike Leavitt. 

"The program was created because Utah's leaders recognized that fishing is one of the state's most popular and economically valuable recreational activities," Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Sportfish Coordinator Randy Oplinger said. "There was a need to improve fisheries in Utah and to recognize the best angling opportunities in the state. This program helps fulfill both of those needs." 

There are several requirements that must be met before a waterbody can have Blue Ribbon Status. Not only does the waterbody need to be a place that can draw in many types of anglers but also must be recreationally fitting. Blue Ribbon waterbodies are chosen by the Blue Ribbon Fisheries Advisory which is made up of 13 anglers chosen by the Governor.  

"These waters are among the best fishing spots in Utah. They have been proven to provide not only great fishing, but also ideal habitat for the fish, economic benefits to the local communities, and an overall high-quality experience in the outdoors," Oplinger said. "They offer high fishing success rates and usually have great amenities like boat ramps and fishing piers." 

With other funding partners, the Blue Ribbon Fisheries Program has a total of $1.3 million for the projects. 

Three Blue Ribbon Fisheries Projects for 2023: 

  • Installing fish habitat at Pineview Reservoir: This project will install artificial habitat structures in the south arm of Pineview Reservoir, which will provide shelter from predators for young fish, particularly yellow perch and black crappie. The installation of this habitat should help increase the size of the perch and crappie in the reservoir, and will also indirectly benefit species such as tiger muskie that feed on the perch and crappie. Roughly $10,000 will be allocated to this project. 
  • Duchesne River bank stabilization: This project will help stabilize and decrease erosion on the bank of the Duchesne River, near Hanna. In its current state, the eroding bank is depositing sediment into the river, which is reducing the quality of the fish habitat in the area. Additional work in this stretch of the river will improve the overall quality of the habitat for the benefit of both fish and anglers. Roughly $25,000 will be allocated to this project. 
  • New bathroom at Strawberry Reservoir: This project will install new restroom facilities at the new Chicken Creek East parking area at Strawberry Reservoir. Roughly $42,000 will be allocated to this project. 


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