The state Wildlife Resources Division says a four-year study of Minersville Reservoir produced some interesting results, including showing waterfowl were out-competing fishermen.
The division annually planted about 200,000 fingerling trout in Minersville, just west of Beaver and about 200 miles south of Salt Lake City, Dale Hepworth, regional fisheries manager, said Saturday."What we found was that fishermen were catching only about 20,000 to 45,000 trout a year out of Minersville," said Hepworth. "That was below the 30 percent to 40 percent catch rate we expected."
The division's study, aided by Utah State University graduate students, will be discussed at public meetings in Beaver on Wednesday and in Milford on Thursday to release its "intriguing biological findings," said Hepworth.
The state agency had believed trash fish and non-game species were crowding trout out of Minersville and other low-elevation lakes and reservoirs.
The agency poisoned the reservoir to remove the other fish. But still catch levels in the man-made lake were below what the division expected, based on experience with higher-elevation lakes that remain frozen in the spring.
"We knew some of the planted fingerlings were being eaten by Minersville's larger trout, but we also found waterfowl such as grebes, loons and mergansers were taking a heavy toll on the small fish," he said.
When fingerlings were planted last spring, waterfowl were migrating north for the summer and, "we had almost a total loss. It was like we were operating a drive-in restaurant for the birds."