Fisheries



Game and nongame fish species. The term also includes the places where fish breed and live.

Related resource topics for county planning include the following:

 

 


Map of Data


Download mxd

The ESRI mxd file of the services used to create the above map.


Resource Information

A fishery refers to the species composition of fish within rivers, streams and lakes. The term typically implies management actions, such as stocking, to meet specific objectives for a given water body. Fisheries in the MAG region of Utah are predominantly managed for sportfish (e.g., trout, bass). Utah’s fisheries are managed by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) under Title 23, Wildlife Resources Code of Utah.

Important components that affect management and use of fisheries are:

  • sportfishing
  • the presence of exotic and invasive aquatic species,
  • diseases that have a negative effect on target organisms, and
  • threatened, endangered, and sensitive species.

Following are fish species in the three-county area that are on the Utah Sensitive Species List [1]:

Summit County

  • Bluehead Sucker (Catostomus discobolus)  CS
  • Bonneville Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii utah) CS
  • Colorado River Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii pleuriticus) CS
  • Northern Leatherside Chub (Lepidomeda aliciae) SPC

Utah County

  • Bluehead Sucker (Catostomus discobolus)  CS
  • Bonneville Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii utah) CS
  • Colorado River Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii pleuriticus) CS
  • June Sucker (Chasmistes liorus) S-ESA
  • Least Chub (Chasmistes liorus) CS
  • Roundtail Chub (Gila robusta) CS
  • Southern Leatherside Chub (Lepidomeda aliciae) SPC

Wasatch County

  • Bluehead Sucker (Catostomus discobolus)  CS
  • Bonneville Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii utah) CS
  • Colorado River Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii pleuriticus) CS
  • Southern Leatherside Chub (Lepidomeda aliciae) SPC

Key to State Status Field
CS Species receiving special management under a Conservation Agreement in order to preclude the need for Federal listing.
SPC Wildlife species of concern.
S-ESA Federally-listed or candidate species under the Endangered Species Act.


Best Management Practices

Sport Fisheries
The UDWR is responsible for managing fisheries in Utah with a primary resource goal of providing quality recreational fishing opportunities [2].  Assisting the UDWR in decision making and establishing management priorities are five Regional Advisory Councils (RACs) who provide local input on fisheries-related issues. Each RAC consists of a diverse group of people representing various interests, including agriculture, sportsmen, federal land agencies, general public, and elected officials [3]. Meeting schedules and agendas can be found on the RAC website.

A fisheries-related topic of interest to communities of the Wasatch Front Region is that of Blue Ribbon Fisheries (BRF). Rivers, lakes, and reservoirs that provide exceptional angling experiences are given BRF status. Most BRFs are cold water trout fisheries [4]. Criteria for BRF status include the waterbody’s capacity to support recreational fishing pressure (high catch rates, opportunities to catch large fish), sufficient water quality and quantity to support a viable fishery, and sufficient legal angler access. BRF designation is conferred by the State Blue Ribbon Fisheries Advisory Council.

“To identify, enhance, and protect those Utah waters and their watersheds that provide, or have the potential to provide, Blue Ribbon quality public angling experiences for the purpose of preserving and enhancing these economically valuable natural resources.”

Mission Statement, Blue Ribbon Fisheries Advisory Council

BRF status is a designation that local communities can work toward by improving accessibility to local waterbodies, as well as taking steps to improve habitat for fish. Both of these steps can be accomplished through land use ordinances and by working with state and federal partners to improve habitat and water quality. Locally designated BRF waterbodies within MAG include:

 

BMP issues to consider include stocking a body of water with fish, biological and habitat monitoring, stream rehabilitation, natural recruitment, and game fish spawning activities.

Aquatic Invasive Species
Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS), also referred to as Aquatic Nuisance Species, are defined by the UDWR as nonnative species of aquatic plants and animals that cause harm to natural systems and/or human infrastructure [5]. Not all nonnative fish species are considered AIS, such as those that are desirable for sport fishing. These may include nonnative Rainbow Trout Oncorhynchus mykiss, Largemouth Bass Micropterus salmoides, and catfish.

The primary AIS threats in Utah are related to invasive mussels, Dreissenid spp., such as Quagga D. bugensis and Zebra mussels D. polymorpha, and Dark False Mussel Mytilopsis leucophaeata. The DWR actively monitors many waterbodies in Utah for the presence of Quagga mussels, which have been detected and are actively spreading throughout Lake Powell in southern Utah. Deer Creek Reservoir has also tested positive for genetic markers from Quagga, though the reservoir has not yet been labeled as infested [6].

Invasive mussels in Utah waters have no natural competitors, so once they are established, they spread quickly, colonizing nearly any and all underwater surfaces. They are currently impossible to remove from contaminated waterbodies and are easily spread to nearby waterbodies via rivers and flooding. They are also inadvertently spread through accidental transporting, such as on boats. The mussels can clog water transmission and power generation infrastructure, harm water-based recreational equipment, and outcompete both native and nonnative game species for nutrients. All these impacts can have profound impacts on sportfish populations. Other AIS include the New Zealand Mudsnail Potamopyrgus antipodarum and Eurasian Watermilfoil Myriophyllum spicatum.

Several parasites and diseases are also considered invasive because of their effects on local fisheries. Each malady has a unique lifecycle, which in turn have management implications, including transmission from hatcheries, sportsman, and natural sources. These include whirling disease and spawning syndrome.

Preventing the spread of AIS is currently the most effective management action. The UDWR has a statewide system of boat cleaning/decontamination stations (see the Quagga Decon Stations data), inspection check-points, and angler education efforts.

AIS BMPs and planning resources:

Clean, Drain, Dry Utah Division of Wildlife Resource


Economic Considerations

In 2011 a typical angler spent $84 on a fishing trip in Utah. This included the cost of equipment and multipliers like lodging, retail purchases, and dining in restaurants. Fishing relies on good water quality and hydrology [7].

Fishing and supporting activities have a positive economic impact on local communities. According to a report by the economic consulting firm Southwick and Associates, anglers spent $489.8 million while fishing in Utah during 2011 [8]. A 2012 study of outdoor recreation found that $1.2 billion was spent for water related activities including fishing in Utah [9].

During the 2016 fiscal year the Department of Wildlife’s Wildlife Habitat Council spent 48-percent of its budget ($1,168,325) on support and management of sportfish [10].

Sport Fishing and Blue Ribbon Fisheries (BRF)
BRF designation is important for two reasons. First the designation is a prime attraction for both local and out-of-state anglers. Second, BRF designation opens up a waterbody to substantial grant opportunities from the Council, which allocates about $450,000 towards restoration, access, acquisition and other fisheries related needs. This fund is created from a $1 fee added to every fishing license sold in the state.

Aquatic Invasive Species
As previously stated, invasive mussels can impair water-transmission and power-generation infrastructure, and they can damage water-based recreational equipment. Statewide management for AIS is already nearly $1.4 million [6]. Future control cost of the mussels throughout Utah could prove to be expensive, with UDWR estimates exceeding $15 million per year [11].

 


Impact Considerations

In addition to direct economic costs to clear mussels from water infrastructure, the presence of mussels in local waters may direct recreational anglers to other destinations outside the region. This will affect communities and businesses that depend on recreational fishing.

Finally, AIS can cause significant harm to native fisheries through degradation of habitat and competition for resources, especially to imperiled species that could face additional threats from AIS resulting in future listing under the Endangered Species Act [6].


Data Download
  GIS Data Map Service Web Map Document  Tabular Data  Website
Data NameData ExplanationPublication DateSpatial AccuracyContact
Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) decontamination stations
Location and operation information for decontamination sites across Utahunknown1:24,000Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Blue Ribbon Fisheries
Use to locate some of the best fishing fisheries in Utah.UnknownUnknownUtah Division of Wildlife Resources
Fish Stocking Report
Stocking list by waterbody, species and countyUpdated MonthlyTabular DataUtah Division of Wildlife Resources
Fishing Report
Fishing spots across UtahUnknownUnknownUtah Division of Wildlife Resources

References

  1. Utah Division of Wildlife resources, Division of Natural Resources. 2015. Sensitive Species List by County. Accessed September 21, 2016.
  2. Utah Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife Resources. 2015. “Goals and Objectives”. Accessed: 2/4/16
  3. Title 23 – Wildlife Resources Code of Utah, § Chapter 14 – Division of Wildlife Resources and Wildlife Board-Section 2.6.
  4. Blue Ribbon Fisheries Advisory Council. 2009. Blue Ribbon Fisheries Advisory Council Handbook.
  5. Utah Department of Natural Resources, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Utah Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force. 2009. Utah Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan, Publication No. 08-34.
  6. Utah Department of Natural Resources, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. 2016. Invasive Mussels. Accessed August 29, 2016.
  7. Kim, M. and P.M. Jakus. 2013. The Economic Contribution and Benefits of Utah’s Blue Ribbon Fisheries. Utah State University, Center for Society, Economy, and the Environment Research Report #4, Feb. 27.
  8. Southwick Associates. 2011. Economics of Fishing In Utah.
  9. Southwick Associates. 2013.  The Economic Contributions of Outdoor Recreation: Technical Report on Methods and Findings.
  10. Utah Department of Natural Resources, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. 2016.  About the DWR. Updated September 14, 2016.
  11. Utah Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife Resources. 2016. Invasive Mussels, Just How Serious in This Problem? Accessed: 1/29/16.