Lynn Chamberlain, Utah Division Of Wildlife Resources
Spectators watch as fishing are restocked into Panguitch Lake following 2006 rotenone treatment. Chub-eating cutthroat trout had been taking over the lake.

Those who would like to see fishing regulation changes in Utah in 2009 have until June 4 to submit their suggestions.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources will present its final recommendations to the public in September.

There are three ways of making comments — attend one of the remaining Regional Advisory Council meetings, provide comments by e-mail to www.wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings or mail ideas to: Sport Fisheries Coordinator, Division of Wildlife Resources, Box 146301, Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6301.

The remaining meetings will be:

Today — Northeastern Region, 6:30 p.m. at Western Park, Room 2, 302 E. 200 South in Vernal.

Wednesday — Central Region, 6:30 p.m. at Springville Junior High School, 165 S. 700 East in Springville.

June 4 — Northern Region, 6 p.m. at Brigham City Community Center, 24 N. 300 West in Brigham City.

All of the proposed changes the biologists are considering for 2009 should be available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings by May 19.

"The topics you see there are only proposals," said Drew Cushing, warm water fisheries coordinator for the DWR. "We're very open to what anglers think about them. We're hoping they'll let us know."

Among the changes biologists are considering for 2009 are the following:

HYRUM RESERVOIR: Increase the bass limit to six fish. Only one of those fish could be longer than 12 inches.

"This change would accomplish two things," Cushing said. "It would allow anglers to keep a few more bass at Hyrum. It would also make the bass limit at Hyrum the same as the bass limit at many of the other bass waters in Utah." Cushing said Hyrum is a water you may want to consider fishing.

"Our biologists found good numbers of nice-sized bass during surveys in 2006 and 2007," he said. "This change would allow anglers to catch and keep a few of those fish while protecting the larger fish in the reservoir."

FLAMING GORGE RESERVOIR: Allow anglers to fish with up to six poles when fishing through the ice. A second pole permit would not be required to fish through the ice at the reservoir.

"This change would make the ice-fishing rules at the Gorge the same between Wyoming and Utah, and it would give anglers a chance to take more burbot out of the reservoir," said Roger Wilson, cold water sport fisheries coordinator for the DWR.

Wilson said the ice-fishing season is the best time of the year to catch burbot.

"Burbot were illegally introduced to the drainage above the reservoir. We're concerned about the effect they'll have on the fishery," he said. "They're not an attractive fish, but burbot are a great fish to eat. This proposal would allow anglers to catch more burbot to take home and eat, and it would help the fishery at the same time."

There's no limit on the number of burbot anglers can catch. Each burbot an angler catches must be kept and killed.

PANGUITCH LAKE: Consider changing regulations so anglers can keep more rainbow trout.

The current regulations at the lake allow anglers to keep up to four trout. However, to keep plenty of Utah chub-eating cutthroat and tiger trout in the lake, they must release all trout that are 15 to 22 inches long. Unfortunately, most of the trout that anglers are catching at the lake are between 15 and 22 inches long.

"A few years ago, Utah chubs were taking the reservoir over, so in 2006 we treated the reservoir and removed all of the fish," Wilson said.

"Panguitch Lake is a very productive and popular reservoir. We wanted to get fishing going as quickly as possible after the treatment, so we restocked it with thousands of catchable trout in May and June of 2006," he said. "We were hoping the fish that weren't taken by anglers immediately would grow quickly and pass the 22-inch length so anglers would have some fish to keep in the future.

"We also stocked 4- to 5-inch trout in the spring and fall of 2007. We were hoping most of these fish would remain under the 15-inch minimum through the first part of that summer. In addition to the larger trout planted the year before, these smaller trout would also provide anglers with a fish to catch and keep."

Unfortunately, Wilson said the growth of the larger rainbows appears to be stalling at about 20 inches in length. And anglers aren't catching many of the fingerlings that were planted in spring 2007.

The DWR is considering several options to provide more rainbow trout for anglers to catch. One idea is to allow anglers to keep rainbow trout of any size, even if they're between 15 and 22 inches long.

Another idea is to adjust the 15- to 22-inch slot length so fewer fish fall within the length anglers are not allowed to keep.

Biologists will continue to monitor the lake's trout populations and the size of the fish anglers are catching. The information they gather will help them know whether changes are needed in 2009.

JOES VALLEY RESERVOIR: Increase the trout limit to four fish. Only one of those splake or tiger trout could be longer than 18 inches.

"We're trying to encourage more anglers to fish at Joes Valley," Wilson said of the proposal. "It's a great water to fish, but not many anglers are fishing it."

The current regulations at the reservoir require anglers to release all trout that are between 15 and 22 inches long. "This regulation has produced some big fish, but anglers still don't seem that interested in fishing at the reservoir. And keeping bigger fish in the reservoir has not reduced the number of Utah chubs the way we were hoping it would," Wilson said.

New regulation would allow anglers to take some fish home but would still protect splake that grow longer than 18 inches.

For more information call the nearest DWR office or 801- 538-4700.