You wouldn't think there are people stupid enough to put fish in a water where they don't belong, especially if those fish could destroy good fishing.
But they do and did. Under the cloak of secrecy they catch, keep and illegally move live fish with no thought to the results of their work.
Someone put walleye in Red Fleet Reservoir. Why? Likely because this individual likes walleye and Red Fleet.
And, it's very likely, in years to come, this individual will come to dislike both.
Someone did the same thing in Deer Creek years ago.
Whoever did it obviously liked to fish for walleye and didn't want to take the time to go where walleye already were. So, he or she caught live walleye, a male and a female, took them to Deer Creek and released them.
What happened is the two fish met up, had baby fish, which grew up and had more baby fish. Eventually, this family of hungry fish ate up most all of the other fish, primarily trout and perch.
The results were that hundreds and hundreds of fishermen who traveled to Deer Creek to catch trout and perch, in most cases, left with empty creels.
The same thing is likely to happen at Red Fleet. The walleye that were illegally planted will eventually raise a family that will decimate the fishery.
Ed Johnson, the regional aquatic biologist, told me there are large bass and browns, up to 15 pounds, in Red Fleet. He also said that there is no way those fish can be replaced.
Remedies include chemical treatment with rotenone or changing management plans. Either plan will prove very costly to fishermen.
If managing the walleye is the choice, then what will be required is the DWR will have to raise and release larger trout that can escape the ravenous walleye.
Doing this is by no means cheap.
All because one individual thought he or she knew more than trained professional biologists. All because this individual never had smarts enough to realize the consequences of the work.
The walleye was first introduced into Utah waters in 1951. It was planted in Gunnison, Delta, Yuba and Utah lakes. Since that time, it has expanded its range, often by illegal means.
And, the walleye is a very prolific fish, which can make it a problem in waters where it isn't wanted. One 12-pound female can produce upward of 388,000 eggs.
Compounding the problem is walleye are not an easy fish to catch, which hasn't particularly endeared it to most Utah fishermen. And, by no means has it or will it ever replace big rainbows and browns on the popularity charts.
Utah fishermen should be incensed. The money needed to correct the problem could be better spent on improving fishing.
I can only hope the person responsible has bragged about his or her deed, and someone within earshot gives the information to game officers.
If treatment is the solution, then this individual should be made to carry the bags of rotenone to the barges and, when the work is done, be handed the bill for chemicals and manpower.
He or she should then be required to restock the reservoir.
In all, it shouldn't cost more than $5 million $10 million.That done, I wonder how much love this individual would have for the walleye.
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