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Ray Grass, Deseret News
Fishermen in float tubs navigate the waters of Mantua Reservoir. Plans are under way to improve fishing at the reservoir.

The tiger muskie at Pineview Reservoir have become quite a catch in recent years. Under a new emergency regulation put in place yesterday, all muskie caught will have to be released.

The new regulation calls for the catch-and-release of all muskie caught in Pineview.

The latest record catch there was a 52-inch muskie, which, had it been kept and mounted, very likely would have been a state record.

The latest catch and release, said Craig Schaugaard, regional fisheries coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, was 2 inches longer and much heavier that the current record.

The reason for the new regulation is that the DWR has not been able to bolster the number of tiger muskie for three years.

A threatening disease was found in hatcheries that supplied Utah with small muskie. And, as yet, a new supplier has not been located.

A tiger muskie is a cross between a northern pike and a muskellunge, which is more commonly referred to as a muskie. Because the tiger muskies are a hybrid, or mix, they are sterile and cannot reproduce.

And Utah does not have means to raise muskies and has had to go outside the state and buy the eggs.

Schaugaard also noted that plans are under way to improve fishing opportunities at Mantua Reservoir.

The problem is the reservoir has become overrun with underwater vegetation, which has made it impossible for anglers to get lures and baits down to the fish. The program involves treating the underwater weeds to open up areas.

"We have the money but haven't been able to start the project. By the time ice left Mantua, we were into the irrigation season and couldn't treat the reservoir," he said.

"We're looking at starting the project after Oct. 15 and do more in the spring."

The plan is to treat certain areas of the reservoir in order to open up pockets for fishermen.

"Even now, those who can find a hole in the vegetation can have some pretty good fishing. The problem, of course, right now, is trying to find a hole in all the vegetation," he said.

Those anglers able to find the open area are catching good numbers of bluegill, some up to 1 pound, and some perch.

At this time of the year, as waters begin to warm, fishing strategy changes.

July is traditionally a time of year when the fish go deeper to find cooler water.

There's a point where water becomes too warm for fish. When that happens, they begin the search for cooler temperatures, and the best place for them to cool down is in the deeper water.

Which, of course, is good news for boaters but not so good for shore anglers. It takes a long, long cast from shore to get a worm or chunk of Power Bait out to where fish are holding in deeper waters.

The easiest way to find fish, of course, is with a fish finder. By closely monitoring the sonar responses, anglers can determine at what level the fish are holding.

The recommendations for now, of course, are to go deeper where possible, and when it's not possible, which is often the case for shore fishermen, then to move to the higher lakes in places like the Uintas and Boulders.


E-mail: grass@desnews.com