While conducting routine surveys at Scofield Reservoir a few weeks back, long considered Utah's second best trout fishery, Division of Wildlife Resources biologist captured a 4-pound walleye in their gillnets.
While it was a single fish, obviously the result of an illegal transplant, it could be the first step in the downfall of this Carbon County reservoir. Experience from such illegal transplants suggests the possibility of more walleye in the reservoir.Walleye are among the most predacious of all freshwater fish and have a particular fondness for trout, especially the fingerling-size fish stocked in Scofield.
If the walleye does become established in the water, the trout fishery would virtually be wiped out within 10 years, says Bruce Schmidt, DWR chief of fisheries.
Wildlife officials are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone found moving fish from one water to another.
In a release issued by the Utah B.A.S.S. Federation, noting that the walleye is detrimental to both trout and largemouth bass, it was pointed out that it has long been opposed to illegal transplanting and bans any member caught from belonging to or fishing with the group.
The federation, which represents 10 clubs in Utah, has agreed to join with the DWR in attempting to apprehend those responsible for the walleye plant in Scofield. Members have agreed to become a "neighborhood watch" committee. The group is also offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest or conviction of the person or persons responsible, reports club president Jerry Little.
The Wasatch Bassmasters also came out with a statement condemning the placing of walleye in the reservoir and approved a reward in the amount of $200.
The illegal planting of fish is a Class A misdemeanor and carries a fine of up to $2,500. The illegal transportation of fish is a Class B misdemeanor and carries a fine of up to $1,000 and the confiscation of vehicles and equipment used in the offense.
*** CLUB TO HOLD POINTING TEST - The Utah Pointing Dog Club will hold a test for all breeds of pointing dogs Sunday in the fields west of the Lee Kay Center for Hunter Education, 5700 W. 2100 South. Competition begins at 8 a.m. Different from trials competition, dogs will be tested against standards and will be working with pheasant placed in the fields. Entry fee is $20 for the senior test, $15 for the junior test. For information contact Kay Craig at 943-9814.
*** A RECORD BROWN OR NOT - No one in the world has ever caught a brown trout as big as the one Mike Manley landed back in August on the North Fork River in Arkansas. But don't look for his name in the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) world record book. It won't be there.
A month after Manley caught a 38-pound, 9-ounce brown trout, he was informed by IGFA officials that his catch didn't meet standards set by the record-keeping organization in Florida.
Manley caught the fish legally. In fact, his catch was recently verified as an Arkansas state record. But, rules strictly prohibit the use of treble hooks for bait fishing.
The National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame is conducting a routine investigation of the catch, and officials say chances are good that Manley will receive a record.