DWR estimates there will be 10 million fish stocked in Utah’s water bodies in 2023.

DWR estimates there will be 10 million fish stocked in Utah’s water bodies in 2023.

Fish storage. Photo: Department of Wildlife Resources

Utah, December 16, 2023 (Gephardt Daily) — 10,634,431 whole fish — totaling 1,171,098 pounds — were stocked in 604 Utah bodies of water this year, according to information released by the Division of Wildlife Resources.

“This was a moderate increase compared to the 8.2 million fish DWR stocked last year,” the release said.

Here’s a look at fish stocking totals from other years:

“Over the past few years, DWR has made several changes to stocking, including stocking fewer, but larger, fish when needed to increase their survival rate, as well as stocking more smaller fish at sites,” the department’s statement said. with the highest growth rates. .

Additional changes made due to drought concerns include:

  • Stocking fewer fish in water bodies that have low water levels or that are expected to have low water levels during drought conditions.
  • Evaluation of fish species stocked in water bodies affected by drought, including stocking more warm-water fish species in some water bodies.
  • Changing the timing of stocking certain types of fish to help reduce the potential effects of warmer water.

“The practice of stocking fish in the Beehive State dates back more than 150 years, with fish being first officially stocked in Utah in 1871,” the release says. “At that time, fish from other states were transported by train and stored in lakes along the train route.”

In 1897, Utah opened its first hatchery and began raising trout locally.

“These original hatcheries were impoundment streams where we put fry that we got from the federal government,” said Craig Shugard, assistant chief of DWR’s aquatics division. “We opened our first traditional fish hatchery – where we produced our own eggs and used raceways as we do today – in Murray in 1899.”

Over time, DWR expanded its fish hatchery operations. There are now 13 facilities throughout Utah, with the Mantua Fish Hatchery recently undergoing upgrades and plans underway to build a new loa fish hatchery.

The bulk of the fish stocked in 2023 — 1,063,571 pounds of a total of 1,171,098 pounds — came from these DWR hatcheries. The remaining fish were transported from certified disease-free hatcheries throughout the United States

“Our hatcheries are important because they provide the majority of the fish we stock in the state,” Shugard said. “Stocking is an important management tool we use to provide Utahns with the numbers and species of fish they desire. Fish stocking helps ensure the public has a great fishing experience. It also helps recover threatened or endangered fish. June suckers are listed from Endangered to Endangered Threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2021 due to recovery efforts, which included stocking.

DWR fish hatcheries produce multiple strains of some species, and some fish are sterile (meaning they cannot reproduce). Sterile fish production is an important management tool that helps in controlling fish populations in different water bodies.

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