The history of Utah fishing regulations.
From fishing with dynamite to corn, the rules of fishing in Utah have been in constant change since the first fishing law in 1853. I’ve spent almost 3 years working on this article and in that time I have learned a lot about the history of fishing in Utah. I’ve added a few bits of history that I thought were most interesting, along with all of the Utah fishing laws, regulations and proclamations that I could find from 1853 to the current year (2020).
Note: Some of the PDF’s come from uncorrected Optical Character Recognition (OCR) scanned documents and there are bound to be errors in some of them. I do have sources for everything below, available upon request. If you find something that is incorrect please let me know so I can update it. Thank you for reading.
Written by Josh Vandermeyden who can be reached at [email protected].
1853 – 1899
1853 – First fishing law passed in the Territory of Utah entitled AN ACT TO PREVENT THE NEEDLESS DESTRUCTION OF FISH. Which gives the county courts jurisdiction over the fisheries in their respective county.
1854 – Law passes requiring a canal to be built from Utah Lake to the Great Salt Lake. which gives Ira Eldredge, Jesse W fox and Robert Wimmer authorization to locate the route for said canal; solicit, receive, collect and disburse subscriptions and generally do all other things necessary for the progress and completion of said work.
1857 – Robert Wimmer constructs a dam on the Jordan River that traps all the fish that pass through it. The trap averages 1500 to 2000 pounds of fish caught a week. Wimmer sells the fish for 6 cents a pound.
1862 -The second fishing law is passed in Utah. Citizens of Great Salt Lake County petition the legislature for the passage of an act prohibiting the erection of fish traps on the Jordan river and other Utah Territory rivers.
1868 – Northeastern states start to appoint fish commissioners. Experiments in New York on fish hatching obtain over 99% survival rate on eggs hatched from spawn in Brook Trout.
1870 – Des news calls for citizens to stop fishing during the spawn. Citing that the spawning fish taste bad and when spawning fish are eliminated you’re also killing thousands of offspring.
1870 – A Milton Musser is appointed Secretary of the Deseret Parent Society for the cultivation and improvement of stock, bees, and fish. Musser is tasked to organize fish Committees in various counties. The fish division includes A. P. Rockwood.
1872 – An Act For the protection of Fowl and fish and defining the duties of the County Courts in relation thereto is passed. The law states that the free migration of fish shall not be obstructed. Gives county courts jurisdiction. Dam’s must have sufficient fishways. The county court can determine the size of mesh on the seine. Lake and Brook trout are protected from seine’s from the first day of April until the last day of June. No person can place substances in the water with the intent to injure the fish. Leaving fish out of water is banned. Shad, Salmon, Black Bass, Silver Eels shall not be taken from their water for five years. Anyone can establish a fishery on their own public land. Adds protection to dam’s and private property fencing. Protection for imported oysters. All fines collected are to be provided to the schools. The law of 1865 is repealed.
1873 – Peter Madsen who was the first commercial fisherman on Utah Lake calls for better fish laws to preserve fish from unnecessary capture. He also calls for increased fish stocking in the streams of Utah. He has personally witnessed the number of trout in the area decrease dramatically.
1873 – News articles start appearing about the use of giant powder (dynamite) fishing.
1874 – An Act for Protection of Fowl Fish and other Purposes is passed. This law asks counties to appoint fish commissioners.
1876 – Utah passes new law called Violation of the laws for the preservation of game and fish. Any person catching a fish not using a hook and line is guilty of a misdemeanor. Use of explosive and poisonous substances to catch fish are prohibited.
1876 – A.P. Rockwood is appointed the first fish and game commissioner of the Territory of Utah. He was also the warden of Territorial prison and used his inmates to help fertilize the fish. He wrote “The Native Fish Of Utah“.
1878 – OF FISH and OF THE PRESERVATION OF GAME passes into law. One half of all fines collected is paid into the salary of the county commissioner.
1877 – Several newspaper articles are written about how people around the world are getting rich from farming carp. The fish are said to grow quickly and taste better than trout.
1879 – Sporting clubs are starting up in an attempt to help enforce fishing laws. Utah Fish and Game Protective Society begins this year.
1879 – After A. P. Rockwood passes away Joseph L Barwood becomes the new Territorial Commissioner. he works with the United States Deputy Fish Commissioner for the pacific Coast Livingston Stone, in order to import carp into Utah. Several orders are placed from both private pond owners and county commissioners. Although logistics become difficult and they wont arrive for a few years.
1880 – Committee on Postal Affairs abolished member moved to newly created committee on fish and game. W.D. Johnson Jr. and O.G. Snow and George D are the members.
1880 – The Preservation of Fish and Game is made into law. The first conviction of the game bill, by killing deer out of season happens on February 19th.
1880 – No law against polluting water. Public outcry sparks debate on the matter. Mostly do to smelter leaching running into streams.
1880 – People report crimes to the newspaper who publish warning to people committing fish and game crimes. Some one reports that people are spear fishing illegally in the Weber river. Some one reports that a saw mill is dumping too much dust into the rivers in Logan where fish spawn. People complain the Fish and Game Protective Society doesn’t do a good enough job to deter people from committing crimes.
1880 – The Northeastern USA passes laws against saw mills dumping dust in the rivers after it kills a bunch of fish habitat.
1881 – Multiple newspaper articles about people Fishing with dynamite at Strawberry.
1881 – Carp arrive in Weber county and grow quickly in ponds where they are raised.
1882 – An act for the preservation of fish and game becomes law. The new law makes it illegal for anyone to put any substance into water that could be injurious to fish.
1882 – So many people are using large powder to fish that a reward is offered for people to turn them in.
1882 – A. P. Rockwood passes away and John T. Caine fills in as Fish commissioner.
1883 – John T. Caine asks A. M. Musser to act as a fish commissioner until one is appointed. He does so free of charge.
1883 – Sheep grazing near city creek cause damage to the creek. The public is outraged at the incident.
1884 – Deseret news prints an article claiming native American’s are abusing their right to take fish and game by taking too much of it.
1884 – An Act for the Protection of Fish and Game passes. The new law closes fishing from March 15th through June 15th to protect spawn. Indians are no longer exempt from the fish and game laws.
1884 HF 37 a bill for the election of a board of fish commissioners is rejected by the governor. A bill passed regulating sheep grazing.
1885 Mill owners complain about having to build fish ways over dams. There are several complaints about illegal mills and dams. The fish and game committee publishes an article warning mill and dam operators to get the fish ways in place or get fined.
1885 several complaints about the Ontario mine polluting the silver creek and Weber river.
1885 There is a newspaper interview with a fly fisherman talking down on bait fisherman. So I guess some things never change.
1886 – Fish and Game law amended to make it a misdemeanor to kill or destroy any trout less than 6 inches long. Section 10 calling for fishways in dams is removed. Section 10 was removed due to irrigation company complaints. It is now a misdemeanor to have any fish in possession that is taken unlawfully.
1888 – Polluting water or using explosives in water punishable by at least $100 or 100 days imprisonment.
1890 – Governors address Arthur L Thomas he asks for people to stop using giant powder and dynamite for fears it will make all trout extinct. He calls on the legislature to copy Colorado’s law of making it illegal to export trout out of the state.
1890 – Deseret Evening News says the way the legislature goes about making fish and game laws is like administering medicine to a patient in the absence of a diagnosis.
1890 – New law creates the position of a fish and game commissioner. The commissioners job is to purchase fish fry, create fish hatcheries, and distribute fish throughout the state. Each county is to appoint a fish and game commissioner. The law once again requires dams owners to construct fish ways.Fishing season open from July 1st to March 1st. It is now legal for the officer to confiscate any fishing equipment that is used to illegally obtain fish. Exporting fish out of Utah becomes illegal. The total budget of the commissioner to stock fish in 5k a year.
1891 County commissioners claim the way the law is currently written it is impossible to prosecute offenders.
1892 Article posted in Salt Lake Tribune The effect of constant tinkering of the laws is to diminish respect for them. A game season once adopted should be maintained. For instance which permits July shooting one year, forbids it the next and the third allows it again.
1892 – The law this year just makes a few tweaks from the Protection of Fish and Game passed in 1890.
1893 – fishing season closed on Feb 14 reopen on June 16
1894 – Talk of legislation to ban seine fishing at Utah Lake causes both sides of the argument to get heated. Seine fisherman sell their trout at 1 1/4 cent to 1 1/2 cents a pound and get 3 to 4 cents per carp. They claim the seine laws will destroy their livelihood.
1894 – The new law states that the fish and game commissioner has to keep track of the number, species and location of each fish planted. Fishing season is from the 15th of June – the 15th of January. Fish can only be caught now with hook and line, except Carp, Chub and Sucker. Anyone using a seine on Utah Lake will have to buy a permit for $5.00. Anytime they want to use the seine they have to have a deputy there to supervise. using a seine without permission is punishable by a fine up to $300.00. Quicklime or other chemicals is made illegal to fish with.
1894 – Still several reports about giant powder being used and fish being shipped off by the ton to be sold in other states. Logan enacts a fish and game club. Members work to help catch people breaking the fish and game law. Each time they catch someone breaking the law they get to keep half of the fine. Membership soars and the use of giant powder is rare in Logan.
1896 – Utah becomes a state. A. M. Musser is relieved of his duty as Fish Commissioner. He arrested in 1985 and spent 6 months in jail, then was arrested again in 1987 both time for cohabitation (polygamy). During his time as Fish Commissioner he obtained over 10 millions fish to be stocked, and many of those were at no charge.
1896 A big push of a group in Utah County who wants to make seining less restricted and open up sale of fish and game across the border of Utah. Luckily this does not pass.
1896 – The state legislature establishes the Utah department of fish and game. A state fish and game warden is appointed and paid $500.00 a year. fishing season is now June 1st through January 15th. Cannot keep (game fish) under 8 inches long. unlawful to take, kill of have in possession any shad, catfish, whitefish, perch, rock bass, crappie, rainbow trout, goldfish, silverfish or silver eels for a period of 3 years. Daily limit of trout is now 15 pounds.
1897 – The new law makes the fishing season June 15th through December 15th. A water body in each county is to be used for fish planting breeding and propagating fish.
1898 – New fish and game warden John Sharp ( john sharp servers for 11 years) closes several streams to fishing. The following streams will be used for fish planting, breeding and propagating. Parly’s canyon stream and all tributaries for 4 years. Panguitch Lake tributaries for 4 years. Lost Creek for 3 years. Big spring Creek in Rich county for four years. Gorgensen Creek which flows into Fish Lake for 4 years. Oak Creek in Millard county for four years. Box Elder Creek for three years. Cottonwood Creek in Farmington for 3 years. Chalk Creek in Summit County for 3 years.
1899 – Carp are quickly reproducing and destroying Utah Lake. They ate all the moss that surrounded the lake that bass would spawn in.
1899 – AN ACT to Provide for the Construction and Equipment of a State Fish Hatchery; for the Maintenance of the Same and the Distribution of the Fry to the Various Waters of the State of Utah. No fish under 7 inches, season is June 15th through December 15th.
1900 – 1930
1900 – Rivers closed for fishing are now seeing a huge increase in trout. Parly’s was seeing a large number of brook trout.
1901 – An act to amend An act for the protection of fish, game and birds; for appointment of state and county wardens and prescribing their duties;Gives wardens power to search persons without a warrant. Changes to how many hooks can be attached to each line. Fishing season 14th of June to December 15th. Only Carp, Chubs, Suckers, Bullhead, Catfish, and mullet may be shipped out of state, provided they are first inspected and tagged by the warden.
1905 – Two tons of fish netted at Utah Lake and only 1 trout and 3 bass were found total.
1905 – Law to amend sections of the fish and game laws from 1898, 1899,1901, and 1903.
1906 – A lot of discussion on new screen designs for irrigation and dams. A prize of $25 was set for the best device. Now that there are several fish hatcheries it is also important to have good screens to keep the fish in. The creator of the winning fish screen George Tuckfield was awarded $35 for exceeding expectations.
1907 – Private fishing and hunting clubs push for fishing licenses to be instituted in order to raise money for the fish and game wardens. This was tried a few years prior but was vetoed by the governor. They point out that Idaho and Montana have license fee’s.
1907 – Several reports of Utah Lake being over run with Carp. Legislators start trying to pass laws to extinguish the carp.
1907 – Fish and Game law requires fishing licenses for any male over 14. This license also allows you to kill any game animal during the open season. Also bans fishing for game fish with artificial light or fire. Anyone using seines must be accompanied by a deputy, who shall be paid no more than $2 dollar a day. Non resident license is $10. Anyone violating any of the fish or game laws must pay at least a $25 fine. Fishing season is between June 14th and April 1st. The new state commissioner is HB Cromar, replacing sharp.
1907 – 21,386 licenses were sold in the first year.
1907 – New Commissioner Cromar brings in Yellow Catfish for Utah Lake, which he believes will kill the carp.
1908 – Commissioner is now an office you can run for.
1909 – The fishing law updates the fishing season from June 15th to December 31st for trout and bass. Which does away with spring fishing. Fishing/hunting licenses are now $1.25. Money collected from the license fees and fines are now put into a newly created fish and game fund.
1909 – Fred W Chambers is appointed fish and game commissioner.
Utah is divided into district by state warden Chambers.
District 1. Rich, Cache, Boxelder, Weber and Morgan.
District 2. Davis, Salt Lake, Tooele, Utah and Juab.
District 3. Summit, Wasatch, Uintah counties.
District 4. Sanpete, Carbon, Grand and San Juan.
District 5. Emery, Piute, Sevier, Wayne and Garfield.
District 6. Millard, Beaver, Ireon, Kane, and Washington.
1911 – Several new fish and game laws pass the senate and are then vetoed by the governor. Only a few laws amended this year.
1912 – It is believed that there are no native elk in Utah. So the government purchase 10 elk from Idaho Falls to be put on a nature preserve. Soon after they find some herds of elk still living in Utah.
1912 – Multiple fish hatcheries are being built to address the lack of fish in the state.
1912- Utah’s state warden Fred W Chambers help shape fish in game laws across several states. Proposing that irrigation companies should protect fish before they drain water.
1912 – 20 pound Lake trout being caught in Fish Lake.
1912 – Fishing licenses at $1.25 have generated $70,000 over last 2 years.
1913 – Sportsmen clubs push for the Fish and Game to be taken out of the hands of the legislature. They feel like the protections needed aren’t being addressed.
1913 – New fish and game law replaces the expired law of 1909. Game fish which are now considered bass, trout, and mountain herring have a season from June 15th to November 30th. Catfish, suckers, carp, and chub are open all year around. It is illegal to sell any game fish. Daily limit is 15 pounds of fish, although you can have a single fish over 15 pounds at Bear Lake, Fish Lake, or Panguitch Lake. You may not have in your possession more than 50 pounds of game fish at any time. It is now illegal to catch fish using electricity.
1913 – New record trout at Fish Lake is 23 pounds.
1914 – Spring season for game fishing opens from February 15th to March 31st.
1915 – Sportsmen from all over the state gather in convention to try and agree on changes of the fish and game law to be submitted to the legislature. Sporting clubs from all over the state sent representatives to attend. Chambers drafted up the 5 changes that were settled on to submit to legislature.
1915 – Several updates to fishing with a net or spear in this years fishing law.
1915 – A father and son were sent to 3 months in prison for dynamiting fish.
1915 – Deer hunting laws changed that a deer shot must have visible horns.
1915 – Catfish numbers exploding as the wardens think they will destroy the carp. Rainbow Trout now being planted all over.
1915- Warden’s work with canal companies to make sure the June Sucker are moved to safer water before the canals are drained.
1915 – Forrest rangers help protect fish and game laws in Ashley National Forest. Rangers receive commissions as deputy wardens. Forest rangers given full authority to enforce game laws.
1915 – License fees and fines amount to $40,000 in 1915.
1916 – Spring season Feb 15th to March 31st. Summer season June 15th to November 30th. Unlawful to fish between 9pm and 3am. Unlawful to take Trout or Mountain Herring under 6 inches long or bass under 8 inches long.
1916 – Work begins on putting screens on all irrigation canals on the Uinta Indian Reservation.
1916 – The seven commercial fishing groups on Utah Lake agree to catch and release all catfish.
1916 – The sanitation committee tries to shut down fishing in Big Cottonwood and Parly’s canyon.
1916 – It’s estimated the Fish and Game has planted over 12 million fingerlings over the past two years.
1917: Fishing unlawful between 9pm and 4am. Trout allowance 10 pounds per day and bass allowance 15 pounds per day. Limit of 25 pounds of fish on possession at any time. People are now allowed to wade on streams that flow on private property.
1917 Robert Siddoway is new fish and game commissioner. His appointment is protested heavily and he is considered not a true sportsman. Siddoway calls Utah lake limitless in it’s fish. Calls for the public to seine for fish. He is in favor of commercializing Utah Lake and having loose seining laws. He ends his career a few year later being charged with embezzlement and misappropriation of funds.
1918 – No more spring fishing season.
1918 – Fishing hours changed to match federal daylight savings hours. Hours are now 5am to 10pm.
1918 – Indian Creek at Strawberry is closed to fishing, due to fish snagging.
1919 – New law passed changes fishing license from $1.25 to $2.00 for men over 16 and kids or women the fee is now $1. Non resident and alien licenses are now the same price as locals. Fishing season is June 15th to November 30th. Strawberry fishing season is July 1st – October 31st, and Fish Lake’s season is June 15th to October 31st. Guides on Strawberry may not charge more than 50 cents per hour per person. Fishing from anchored boats is prohibited. Anyone fishing without a license will get a fine of at least $25.
1920 – Dynamiting fish is still an issue. More convictions over dynamiting fish.
1921 – David H Madsen is made state fish and game commissioner. His father was the first settler to fish on Utah Lake for a living.
1921 – Fishing license for men over 16 is $2. For boys between 12 and 16 the fee is $1 and women over 18 the fee is $1. Bass must be at least 8 inches in length and Trout must be at least 7 inches. Fishing from horseback is prohibited. Guides must obtain a permit of $5.00 per season. Salmon eggs or fish spawn prohibited to be used as bait.
1921 – Almost 50,000 licenses issued; revenue is more than $80,000.
1922 – Licenses bring in more than $100,000.
1923 – Madsen works closely with local clubs and public to draft fish and game legislation. Madsen stated the close cooperation between the fish and game department and the sportsman’s organizations throughout the state has resulted in a much better understanding of conditions, and a law which is broad enough to include all the problems of game propagation and protection. The bill mostly deals with protection of fur trapping. It gives the commissioner the power to restrict fishing or hunting in any portion of the state. All fine, licenses, and sales will now go strictly to the propagation of fish and game in the state. Timpanogos mountain is designated a game sanctuary.
1923 – Fish and game extracts resident hunting and fishing license is $2.00. A license for boys 12 to 16 and women over 16 is $1.00. A non resident fishing license is $3.00 and a non resident fishing and small game license is $5.00. A non resident large game license is $10.00. The trout season is from 4am to 9pm. The angler cannot use more than two hooks. The limit is 10 pounds and cannot exceed 40 fish. The limit of possession must not exceed 25 pounds. Grandaddy Lakes open from July 15th to October 1st.
1923 – There is a game club in pretty much every county. The fish and game relies on them for information and closes certain streams to fishing at their requests.
1923 – There are now 8 game preserves.
1923 – Over one thousand truckloads of fish planted in Utah. That is over 8 million fish.
1924 – State is now operating seven fish hatcheries.
1924 – Fish and game department brings in over 200k in revenue for the year. 65% of this was put towards fish and game stocking. . Over 17 million fish fry and fingerlings planted over last 2 years.
1924 – reward of $25 for help convicting any person using dynamite on fish.
1925 – Utah now has 12 game preserves.The bag limit for catfish is 100 a day. The fishing season at Fish lake is shortened by 10 days and the Strawberry season is lengthened by 5 days.
1927 – Lots of discussion on raising the fishing license price to $3. The price settles at fishing license $2, hunting license is $2 and a combination license is $3. Fishing season closes a month earlier on October 30th.
1928 – Fish and game commissioner D H Madsen is appointed a federal position over the bear river migratory bird refuge. J Arthur Meacham of Logan is appointed the new commissioner. Madsen was very popular in Utah and was the president of the Western Association of Game Commissioners.
1928 – California has a female game warden who shocks the country and does a really good job. In some cases she would disguise herself as an old lady, then make the arrest when the perpetrator was caught off guard.
1928 – 55,000 fishing licenses were given out in Utah.
1929 – Sportsmen groups push for legislation restricting guides at Fish Lake.
1929 – Law SEINING FOR FISH passes.
1929 – Public reports of dynamite being used at Fish Lake after fish found dead washed up on shore. After the Fish and Game investigates they find the dead fish are just spawning salmon that were planted 4 years prior.
1929 – Over 12 million fish planted that were grown in Utah fish hatcheries . Over 60,000 permits bought by sportsman.
1920’s – 30’s. Most fish are stocked by local fishing clubs donating time resources and money.
1930 – Man fined $299 for dynamiting trout in Provo River.
1930 – Sportsman’s clubs vote for increase in fishing and hunting licenses. A passionate debate ensues and the licenses fees are kept the same.
1930 – New record catch cutthroat caught out of Strawberry Reservoir weighs 26 lbs 12 oz.
1931 – 1960
1931 – licenses sold over 62,000 in 1932 the licenses only sold around 52,000.
1931 – 32 pound Chinook Salmon caught in Bear Lake.
1931 – After commissioner Meacham receives protest from local sporting groups, the governor appoints Newell B Cook as the state fish and game commissioner.
1931 – No changes in fishing law. Just new amounts for appropriations.
1932- New hunting licenses have perforated edges. So you can detach on side and attach it to the horn of your deer. Officials now using airplanes to help count wild animals.
1932 – First all woman sport club created called Roosevelt Women’s Fish and Game club.
1933- Governor signs two bills. One prohibits guides from hunting or fishing while acting as a guide. The other closes Navajo and Blind Lake on October 1st each year.
1933 – Utah maintains the largest domestic stock of game fish for breeding purposes of any state in the union and feeds more fish than all the neighboring states combined.
1933 – I believe this is the first fishing proclamation for Utah.
1934 – Commissioner Newell B Cook releases a proclamation to allow the snagging of sucker in the Provo River from US Highway 91 to Smiths channel. From March 24th through June 1st.
1934 – Fishing season would open on June 15th however due to drought the season started early on May 13th 1934 – Due to extreme drought the state seines game fish from Utah Lake to keep in ponds so they don’t freeze in the low water level ice.
1934 – F.E.R.A money helps several wildlife related project across the state.
1934 – Strawberry Water Users Association claims fisherman are trespassing and try to charge anglers at Strawberry Reservoir 50 cents for a license. In 1935 the deputy attorney general says this practice is unfair and several groups threaten the Strawberry Water Users Association with legal action.
1935 – 11 hundred and 25 tons of carp and suckers have been seined out of Utah Lake in the last 3 years.
1935 – New law titled POWERS OF COMMISSIONER.
1935 – Proclamation opens fishing season early on Sunday May 19th.
1936 – Talks of a multi-state fishing license for Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. The license would be $3 and last for two weeks. The hope is to bring in more tourism to the area.
1936 – After request from local sporting clubs Yankee Reservoir and Hendricksons Lake wont open until July 1st in order to protect smaller fish recently planted.
1936 – Licenses bring in over $51,000 with over 17k licenses sold.
1936 – 17, 590 resident fishing and hunting licenses sold in Utah.
1936 – Golden Trout are first stocked in Utah.
1937 – Combination license fee raised from $3 to $4. Non resident big game license raised from $15 to $20.
1937- Fishing season opens on May 16th for lakes and streams below 7,000 feet. The other fisheries open on June 15th and July 1st.
1937 – Bill is signed giving aliens the same fishing rights as citizens.
1938 – Fishing season opens May 29th for water under 7,000 feet elevation. All others will be July 1st, except Fish Lake which opens June 15th. Bag limit is 30 fish or 10 pounds per day and 25 pounds possession quota.
1938 – Fishing and hunting licenses bring in $368,118 from 1936 to 1938.
1938 – A proclamation is made that seining in Utah Lake is limited to Carp. This is in an effort to protect the June Sucker which was thought to have disappeared entirely.
1939 – A group of sportsman protest the reappointment of Newell B Cook. The group claims the state fish and game commissioner is hard to deal with. Their main complaint being about the difficulty of obtaining trapping licenses.
1939 – Newell B Cook is reappointed and proclaims June 4th to be the general fish opener. The bag limit is updated for several of the high elevation lakes. The limit is changed to 8 pounds or 20 fish.
1939 – Four men fined for dynamiting fish on the Strawberry River. The men were fined $100.00 each and threatened with 6 months in jail if arrangements for payments were not met.
1939 – Wales Reservoir is opened to fishing due to drought.
1940 – Out of season fisherman fined the choice of paying $25 or spending 10 days in jail.
1940 – Fish and game license sales increase by $34,090.80 from 1938 to 1939. Non resident license sales of fish and small game more than doubled from previous year. The most popular license sold was the deer and bird combination license with the resident fishing license in second place.
1940 – After meeting with local sportsman groups commissioner Cook changes the opening day to all elevations of the state. The past system of first opening the lakes and rivers below 7,000 feet caused over crowding.
1941 – New law creates 3 man state fish and game commission. Newell R. Frie is named the Chairman, Mark Anderson is appointed the Director, and E N Larson the third on the commission. The law requires people of all ages to obtain a fishing license. Children under 12 and adults over 65 must purchases a license for 10 cents.
1941 – Fish and game revenue increased over 60 grand from year prior.
1941 – 1941 Utah Fishing proclamation.
1942 – Utah now has 12 active fish hatcheries, and over 15 million fish available to plant. The fish are mostly all planted by local public sportsman groups. They could make a request form for the type of fish and the body of water needed. Then the hatchery would give the sportsman groups the fish to stock.
1942 – Fish and game commission asks for public input on fishing season dates, bag limits, and shooting hours. Due to a rubber shortage from the war, several hunters respond to the questions saying they will stay close to home.
1942 – Utah is now on War Time. Many fisherman are upset because the war time is an hour earlier from the traditional Mountain Standard Time. fisherman have to abide by the official time which is now war time.
1942 – The war has people thinking defensively and the fish and game talks about not closing lakes. They fear that lake closures could leave to dam sabotage. They ask for guards to be placed near certain dams, and to have a off limits zone for boats near dams.
1942 – Fish and game director Mark Anderson resigns from position. His son who was handling the family business was leaving to fight in the war. Anderson stepped down to handle take over the business.
1942- The fishing season ends two weeks earlier this year. The date lines up with the start of deer hunting season. This way the wardens only have to focus on the hunt and not have their resources stretched. The areas around several dams are closed to fishing. Sportsman are warned that they will be shot if entering area.
1942 – Governor Herbert B. Maw declares an executive order changing the fishing time to standard time. This way people can fish until 10pm instead of the 9pm war time.
1942- Marion J. Madsen named acting fish and game director. Then is replaced a few months later by Ross Leonard. Warden’s around the state get a pay increase from $140.00 a month to $160.00.
1942 – Japanese citizens will be denied purchase of alien fishing licenses.
1942 – The LDS church complains about the fishing season always starting on a Sunday. They ask that it is changed the next year.
1943 – One of the first house bills proposed is to change the hunting and fishing season to start on a Saturday. The Provo Wildlife Federation opposes the bill.
1943 – Fish and game commission is now 5 people. The hunting and fishing seasons will no longer start on a Sunday. Frank Pace, and Jack Clay are the two new members of the commission.
1944 – Catfish and Perch fishing now open year around at Utah Lake.
1944- Fishing closed below U B dam (modern day Yuba). New fish are being planted and they want them to establish a population.
1944 – Sales of fishing and hunting licenses increase 14% from 1942 to 1943.
1944 – State fish and game commission will give you free strychnine so you can kill skunks.
1945 – Weber River is opened to snagging of trash fish below power plant.
1945 – State to publish the list of names of fish and game violators each month.
1945 – Bill passed permits cancellation of hunting and fishing licenses to anyone found guilty of violating fish and game laws.
1945 – Children are now able to fish for free. The elderly are given a discount on licenses.
1946- Curfew law set for 9pm at Fish Lake. As part of the curfew there will be a loud siren that will blow when it is time to stop fishing. Wardens will also comb the lake with speedboats looking for law breakers.
1946 – 1946 fishing proclamation. Fish bag limit for the year is reduced from 20 to 15 trout.
1946 – Fish and game department received $17,793.45 from fines collected. This was an increase of more than $7,000 from 1945.
1947 – There is a strong push for legislation requiring life preservers on boats that are less than 25 feet long.
1947- More than one half of the men in Utah over 16 years of age purchased licenses to fish and hunt in 1946.
1947 – 1947 Utah fishing proclamation.
1947 – Idaho bans use of live bait for fishing.
1947 – Ross Leonard is reappointed as fish and game director for another four years.
1947 – 1094 arrests for fish and game violations for the year.
1948 – 1948 Utah fishing proclamation.
1948 – Ross Leonard resigns with the fish and game department. He will accept a position with the wildlife management institute.
1948 – Randall L. Turpin named Director of fish and game.
1949 – Randall L. Turpin resigns from director position to take his old job back as coordinator to federal aid disbursement to wildlife. Several sportsman groups were upset for the large amount of antlerless deer that were set to be slaughtered.
1949 – John Perry Egan is nominated as the new director of the fish and game.
1950 – 1950 Utah fishing proclamation.
1950 – Lee Kay becomes head of new public relations department for the fish and game.
1950 – Fisherman who lose license can no longer get a replacement for 50 cents. They now have to purchase a new fishing license again.
1950 – 66 miles of river becomes off limit to non tribal members including portions of Uintah, Whiterocks, Yellowstone, Rock Creek, and Lake Fork. Cedar View and Twin Posts Reservoir are also now off limits unless you buy a tribal fishing permit. Non native fisherman argue that the fish hatcheries in Utah should not stock the tribal land waters. Although the fish hatchery in Sprinville is a federal hathery so it would still plant a small number of fish.
1951 -Experimental fish stocking and fish tagging in Uintah county shows that late season planting and even winter planting is more successful than previously thought. This will reduce costs at fish hatcheries and improve size of the trout.
1951 – As an experiment fish fry and planted in Crouse Reservoir and grown to a few inches. Then with the help of local sporting groups they are gathered and taken by truck to streams and rivers in the Uinta Mountains. 17 truck loads of fish were removed from Crouse Reservoir weighing about 450 pounds per load.
1951 – One person in every 3.6 in Utah purchased a hunting or fishing license in 1951. This was an increase of 6,000 licenses from the prior year.
1952 – 1952 Utah fishing proclamation. Bag limit on catfish changed to 20 fish or 20 pounds whichever one comes first. Fisherman are now required to display fishing permit by attaching it to outer clothing. This must be displayed at all times while fishing.
1953 – Resident is defined as someone who is domiciled withing the state for one year or longer. The previous law defined a resident as only 90 days or longer.
1954 – Live minnows authorized for certain bass waters in Cache, Tooele, and Millard Counties.
1955 – 1955 Utah fishing proclamation. Laws regarding baits are liberalized. Fish and game license sales in 1955 surpass 1 million dollars.
1956 – 1956 Utah fishing proclamation. Corn is made illegal for fishing along with live minnows, cheese, and liver. Law changed to allow lures once again to have an unlimited number of blades on spinning lures. Now anglers can be within 10 feet of their rod.
1956 – When asked about corn being illegal, Director J. Perry Egan noted “Each year several changes in fishing regulations are made by our commission as conditions and facts that have been gained from studies show these changes are needed in the advancing management of the state’s fishery resources.”
1957 – 1957 Utah fishing proclamation. Each person in a boat is now required to have a life preserver on board.
1957 – Counties across the state approve the fish and game department to use the same radio frequency as other enforcement agencies.
1958 – Legal fishing hours are expanded by one hour. Fishing hours are now 4am to 9pm. Campfires are no longer considered as artificial light.
1958 – Fish and game director J. Perry Egan dies after fight with illness. He was the director for 8 years.
1958 – Harold S Crane named director of the fish and game.
1958 – No person or group can stock a water body with fish, without first obtaining permission from the state fish and game department.
1958 – Utah fish and game officers titles are updated from warden to conservation officer.
1958 – Chamber of Commerce pushes for year around fishing season. They are also asking for boats and craft be allowed to use smaller waters.
1959 – Cisco spawn is open to anglers with dip nets for the first time at Bear Lake. This kicks off the first annual Cisco Run.
1959 – Bait restrictions are relaxed. All year around waters are now open to fishing 24 hours a day.
1959 – Law passes allowing fish and game commission authority to enter into reciprocal licensing with bordering states.
1959 – Fishing and hunting licenses this year are printed on yellow paper for residents and pink paper for non residents. The licenses were updated from the formal white paper to make it easier to identify non residents. Over 40% of hunting and fishing license fee’s collected in 1958, were from non residents.
1959 – Admission of 49th state of Alaska, cuts federal fish and game revenue by $20,000.00 in Utah.
1960 – 1960 Utah fishing Proclamation. Carp and other non game fish may be taken by bow and arrow.
1960 – Nearly 180,000 or roughly 1 out of 4 Utah’s were estimated to go fishing on the opening day.
1960 – New record carp caught in the Great Salt Lake Marshes weighs 30 lbs.
1961 – Fish and Game department asks legislature for license fee increase.
1961 – For the fourth year conservation officers, biologists, hatchery personnel and administrative workers go to Utah State University to take a week of classes. These skills help them stay up to date in the field.
1961 – Utah fish and game submerges 150 old cars in Bear Lake in order to create a reef for smaller fish.
1961 – New state record squawfish is caught on the Green River weighing 14 and 3/4 pounds.
1961 – 1961 Utah fishing proclamation.
1962 – Lee Kay retires from public service after 35 years with the department of fish and game. Lee Kay was the first professional conservation education administrator in the United States. You can read more about him on the Lee Kay Ponds page.
1962 – 1962 Utah fishing proclamation. A Utah resident is now defined as a person domiciled in Utah for 6 months. Relaxed from the previous law of 1 year.
1963 – Defense department tests underwater nuclear tests at Bear Lake to test thickness of earths crust. Hundreds of fish were killed in the test.
1963 – 1963 Utah fishing proclamation.
1964 – 1964 Utah fishing proclamation. Anglers can purchase $2 reciprocity stamp to fish in both states on Flaming Gorge.
1964 – 5,000 to 10,000 Bear Lake Cisco are planted in Lake Tahoe on the California, Nevada border. In exchange for the Cisco Utah received over a half million Lahontan-strain cutthroat eggs. The cutthroat were planted in the High Uintas.
1964 – In one of the largest aerial hauls of fish ever attempted a C-46 from Hondo, Texas hauled 1 million fingerling large mouth bass. The specially equipped jet then dropped the bass into lake Powell. Two weeks later a plane carrying 1 million fingerling bass from Oklahoma was also utilized. Four million rainbow trout from federal hatcheries in Arizona were also airlifted.
1965 – Fish and game department experiments stocking fish with helicopter. The fish were put into 19 x 24 inch bags and filled with water and oxygen. When the helicopter reached the lakes the bags were emptied into the water.
1965 – 1965 Utah fishing proclamation.
1966 – Utah fish and game director Harold S. Crane passes away. Crane was the first director with professional training in the wildlife field. He served in the department for over 18 years.
1966 – John E Phelps is appointed the new director of the fish and game.
1966 – Youth corps project provides up to 50 youth to work with fish and game department. The youth ages 16 through 21 worked in fish hatcheries, game farms, waterfowl management, and many field projects. 90% of the costs are paid for by the federal government.
1966 – 1966 Utah fishing proclamation.
1967 – Fish and game asks 10,000 anglers to keep a survey of their fishing activity. The survey will include locations fished and number of fish caught.
1967 – Game officials to enforce new litter law declared by the governor.
1967 – Utah agrees with Arizona on a $1 reciprocity stamp.
1967 – Fishery biologists start experimenting with albino rainbow trout.
1967 – New state record kokanee slamon is caught at Utah Lake weighing 4 pounds by Leo Park.
1968 – Lee Kay helps public draft a petition demanding that funds from the fish and game not be diverted to other departments.
1968 – Rainbow Trout at Flaming Gorge are tagged with different color dart tags in order to determine the horizontal migration patterns. Fish planted in Buckboard are tagged with blue tags and fish planted in Cedar Springs are planted with yellow tags.
1968 – Golden Trout from Wyoming are planted in the Atwood Basin of the Uinta Mountains. Golden Trout were first stocked in several Uintas lakes in 1936, but only survived in Echo Lake.
1969 – Flaming Gorge fish migration study determines some rainbow trout were migrating up to 30 miles in the reservoir.
1969 – 1969 Utah fishing proclamation.
1970 – 1970 Utah fishing proclamation. Tip Ups for ice fishing are now legal. No size limit on fish this year. Inlet waters closed at Willard Bay to protect spawning walleye. The channel is closed to allow biologists to collect eggs. Corn will be illegal on some waters, also chumming will be outlawed on the same waters.
1971 – Utah Division of Fish and Game is now Division of Wildlife Resources. The DWR will be within the Department of Natural Resources. The name change reflects the divisions involvement in all wildlife, not just fish and game.
1971 – The DWR holds a public contest to design the departments new logo emblem. The winner, Jim Morgan design includes a flying whistling swan over a map of the state of Utah.
1971 – 1971 Utah fishing proclamation. Those found improperly disposing of fish remains (offal), will be find for litter.
1971 – Two anglers in southern Utah are caught with 165 trout in their possession. This is more than 18 times the limit of their legal limit.
1972 – New fishing license material is much stronger than prior licenses. It appears to be paper but wont easily rip.
1972 – 1972 Utah fishing proclamation. Registration now required for private fish pond installations.
1973 – Mantua hatchery establishes brood stock of 50,000 albino rainbow trout.
1973 – Division of Wildlife spends over a $250,000 on fish food for it’s fish hatcheries. This is a large jump from $137,000 the prior year due to soaring prices.
1973 – Explosives and Rotenone are used at Strawberry Reservoir in an attempt to control chub populations.
1973 – 1973 Utah fishing proclamation.
1974 – The Division of wildlife resources fisheries experiment station in Logan, is one of only six such places in the United States that researches causes of malfunctioning fish cells.
1974 – Striped bass introduced into Lake Powell, a first for Utah.
1974 – Cost of the chemical Rotenone used in rough fish removal jumps from $8.64 per surface acre in 1961 to $43.95 per square acre in 1973.
1974 – Utah’s new record brown trout at 29 pounds caught out of Flaming Gorge, is determined to be 8 years old. The biologists determined the age of the fish by counting the rings on the scales under a microscope.
1974 – 1974 Utah fishing proclamation.
1975 – 1975 Utah fishing proclamation. Corn is still illegal and hominy is added to the banned fishing bait list as well.
1975 – Hail kills 1,000 fish in a storm at the Panguitch state hatchery.
1976 – 1976 Utah fishing proclamation. Adult fishing license increase from $5 to $8. All fish possessed or transported must be kept in such a manner that species and numbers can be determined. Fisherman should leave a one inch square patch of skin on each fillet in order to identify species.
1976 – Donald A Smith is appointed director of wildlife resources. He replaces Bud Phelps. The new director engages the public through a series of community forums throughout the state.
1976 – Walleye are introduced to Starvation Reservoir in hopes of combating the chub population.
1976 – Conservation officer stops vehicle suspected of poaching and find the occupants have stolen 1756 lbs of copper telephone wire. The thieves had removed the wire from the Denver, Craig, Salt Lake City toll line.
1977 – Once thought extinct, the famed Pyramid Lake strain of Lahontan cutthroat are discovered in northwestern Utah.
1977 – New water intake at Flaming Gorge dam warms the water before it releases it into the Green River. The previous colder water was hurting the fish population in the river below.
1977 – New world record brown trout caught at Flaming Gorge weighing 33 pounds 10 ounces. New state record northern pike is caught at Lake Powell weighing 14 pounds 15 ounces. New state record golden trout caught in Atwood Creek weighs 13 and a half oz.
1977 – 1977 Utah fishing proclamation.
1978 – Utah has six strains of rainbow trout. A multi year study begins to determine which strain of rainbow trout would be best to use in the future.
1978 – Data is collected on several Utah Streams. Then computers will use the information to predict de-watering effects on fish habitat.
1978 – DWR uses the following characteristics to determine if a water body can sustain fish. Width, depth or flow, dissolved oxygen, acidity, dissolved mineral content and temperature. Biologist survey the Boulder Mountains for possible places to plant.
1978 – The governor forces the resignation of division director Don Smith and John Nagel, operators chief. On the charge that they used state owned boats for private excursions. Douglas Day takes over as director.
1978 – 1978 Utah fishing proclamation.
1979 – The UWORF submits a bill to raise the price of fishing licenses. The Utah Wildlife and Outdoor Recreation Federation is Utah’s largest sportsman’s organization.
1979 – The six strains of rainbow trout being studied are tagged and panted in Porcupine Reservoir. The study will see how many of each strain is caught and growth rates.
1979 – Growth rates increase in trout below Flaming Gorge Dam after the water is warmed.
1979 – 1979 Utah fishing proclamation.
1980 – DWR asks for license increase from 18 to 31 dollars. The fee increase has to be approved by the legislature each time so they want to to the biggest increase possible. The combination permit price has only been raised four times in the last 43 years.
1980 – Legislature approves increase of combination permit from 18 dollars to 23 dollars.
1980 – Utah fishing proclamation.
1980 – New record striped bass caught at Lake Powell weighs 21 pound 8 ounces.
1980 – 90,000 cisco are planted into Flaming Gorge in hopes of establishing a forage fish population.
1981 – Three million cisco eggs are planted in Flaming Gorge Reservoir.
1981 – State record smallmouth bass is caught at Flaming Gorge weighing 3lbs 1oz.
1981 – 1981 Utah fishing proclamation.
1982 – Anglers next year fishing for trout will have to purchase a trout stamp in addition to a fishing license. The stamp cost of $3.30 will help fund fish hatchery remodels and purchase of conservation pools.
1982 – More than six million spawning cisco eggs are gathered from Bear Lake. Once hatched the fry will be planted into Flaming Gorge Reservoir.
1982 – DWR tags 600 lake trout in order to study harvest rates. Anglers who catch a tagged fish will receive $5 when they turn the tag into a wildlife resource officer.
1982 – Poaching hotline brings 92 arrests in first 9 months.
1982 – Record striped bass caught at Lake Powell weighing 28 pounds 6 oz.
1982 – 1982 Utah fishing proclamation.
1982 – Starvation Reservoir is converted into a warmwater fishery. Bass tournaments are held at Flaming Gorge where the bass caught are then transplanted to Starvation Reservoir.
1982 – After person illegally plants carp in Mantua, the DWR is forced to close the reservoir for two years for treatment. The DWR announces they will give a $1,000 reward to anyone turning in bucket biologists if it results in a conviction.
1983 – One pound 1 oz yellow perch caught at Deer Creek breaks the previous state record. 4 pound 4 oz Bonneville white fish caught on the Bear River, also sets a new catch record.
1983 – 8,500 Bear Lake sculpin are planted in Flaming Gorge Reservoir. This is the 4th year these fish have been planted.
1983 – After being chemically treated Mantua Reservoir receives a shipment of Bluegill taken from Pelican Reservoir.
1983 – 1983 and 1984 Utah fishing proclamation. Wildlife guides no longer require a separate license.
1984 – Lifetime combination license debuts at only $500.00.
1984 – Trout stamps are once again required for anglers to keep trout.
1984 – DWR director Douglas Day is fired and Bill Geer becomes acting director. Bill has long been an advocate for an open fishing season.
1984 – Splake is experimentally stocked in Utah for the first time in Fish Lake.
1985 – Fisherman rejoice as the Utah wildlife board adopts year around fishing for 1985. There are now very few water bodies in Utah with a specific fishing season.
1985 – William Geer is named director of the division of wildlife. Geer was previously a fish biologist for the DWR and ran the fish hatchery program.
1985. 1985 Utah fishing proclamation. License fee increase to $18 for an adult fishing license and $35 for a combination license. The infamous trout stamp is no longer required.
1985 – For the first time smallmouth bass are introduced into Rockport Reservoir. This is part of an experiment to see if the bass can help control rough fish. The bass are a northern strain particularly adapted to cooler water, that came from North Dakota.
1986 – US Fish and Wildlife Service lists June Sucker as an endangered species. It is believed there are only about 300 of the fish in existence.
1986 – 1986 Utah fishing proclamation.
1987 – 40% of adults in Utah purchase a fishing license which is the highest in the nation. The national average per state is 25%.
1987 – Oxygen injection system is installed at the Midway hatchery. Sensors and electronic controllers monitor and automatically open and close valves in the system to maintain a steady oxygen level. It is believed with help from these systems the state can eventually double trout production.
1987 – 1987 Utah fishing proclamation.
1988 – 1988 Utah fishing proclamation. Utah has first inaugural free fishing day. On free fishing day no license is required. Several clinics are offered around the state in order to teach kids how to fish.
1988 – Record striped bass from 1987 is overturned after it was found out the angler didn’t have a license. The fish was caught on January 1st of 1987 and the anglers license had run out the day before.
1988 – A golf course in St George illegally imported grass carp as a way to keep their pond vegetation under control.
1988 – Utah governor decides to not retain DWR director William Geer. This decision sees huge backlash in the community. Many feel the decision was made after Geer fought legislation to place a dump on elk feeding grounds in Wallsburg. Geer also refused to give the governor a free fishing license. He was touted by sportsmen groups as a non political leader who put animals first and that cost him his job.
1989 – Timothy H. Provan is named director of the DWR.
1989 – Litter becomes such an issue at Scofield Reservoir that officials consider closing the water to ice fishing.
1989 – Ten year old catches new state record Walleye at Deer Creek Reservoir weighing 13 pounds six ounces. 40 pound striped bass breaks state record at Lake Powell.
1989 – 1989 Utah fishing proclamation.
1990 – The cost of $3.5 million for the biggest planned fish kill ever attempted in the world to occur at Strawberry Reservoir. Sourcing enough rotenone for the chemical treatment of the lake was an issue. In years past the rotenone plant had come from South America, although with farmers turning to the high profit illegal drug trade finding enough rotenone had become an issue. Over 1 million pounds of the powdered rotenone will be used. 141 people are being trained to treat the lake and over 161 miles of streams.
1990 – Crews use explosives to clear beaver dams from the Strawberry River in order prep for the chemical treatment of the water. 95% of the fish in Strawberry Reservoir are suckers and chubs.
1990 – Study shows that most of the June Sucker spawning in the Provo River average 30 years of age.
1990 – 1990 Utah fishing proclamation.
1991 – Anglers are restricted from taking cutthroat from the Strawberry River but are encouraged to harvest brown trout.
1991 – 1991 Utah fishing proclamation. New magazine style fishing proclamation with adds significantly reduces cost of publishing.
1991 – Record for striped bass weighing 41 pound 10 ounces caught at Lake Powell.
1991 – Whirling disease shows up in Utah for the first time. Fish at three private fish hatcheries test positive for the disease. The disease spreads quickly and causes lots of money and man hours to combat.
1992 – Owners of the private fish hatchery that spread whirling disease are fined $29,000 by the DWR. The hatchery is owned by the governors family.
1992 – 1992 Utah fishing proclamation. Tiger Trout are now considered a game fish in Utah.
1992 – Mill Meadow, Forsyth, UM Creek, and the Freemont River are all chemically treated to remove whirling disease.
1993 – Whirling disease is discovered in northern Utah. Fish from a hatchery in Paradise test positive and a rainbow trout from the Little Bear River tests positive for the destructive disease.
1993 – Whirling disease now in three northern Utah fish hatcheries as well as in Blacksmith Fork.
1993 – 1993 Utah fishing proclamation.
1993 – Director of the DWR Tim Provan resigns his position. Robert Valentine is named interim director.
1993 – Wyoming cancels reciprocal stamp for fisherman on Flaming Gorge. Utah fisherman will now need to buy a non resident Wyoming fishing license to fish on the Wyoming side of the lake. The two states disagree on how lake trout should be managed.
1993 – Utah state record for Sacramento Perch is caught at Pruess Reservoir weighing 4 pounds 5 ounces.
1994 – After the legislature slashes the budget DWR is forced to eliminate 28 full time positions. Thousands of sportsmen protest on the steps of the capitol.
1994 – Electric Lake has the only certified disease free Yellowstone cutthroat trout eggs in the world. Over 700,000 eggs are collected by biologists to be raised at the Glenwood and Fountain Green hatcheries. In nature only 1% of the cutthroat eggs survive to be fingerlings. In the hatcheries that number goes up by 75%.
1994 – In an effort to combat litter the DWR comes up with the Utah Stream Team. It’s pretty much like an adopt a highway program but instead groups can volunteer to clean up sections of rivers in the state.
1994 – DWR finishes the year with a $1.2 million shortfall of the 1994 budget.
1995 – Legislature passes bill that transfers control of commercial fish from DWR to the Department of Agriculture. Private fish hatcheries are now tested for diseases by a division that doesn’t even have facilities to test the fish. Sportsman groups were very angry about what appeared to be a retaliation attack on the division that fined the governors families fish hatchery, after it spread whirling disease.
1995 – The FDA forces biologists at Strawberry Reservoir to stop using Methyl-testosterone to sterilize rainbow trout. The FDA didn’t outright make the use of the chemical illegal but instead forced the DWR to spend millions of dollars in studies if they wanted to continue using it. Biologists are searching for a new method to sterilize fish.
1995 – 1995 Utah fishing proclamation.
1995 – Bonneville cutthroat trout is in danger of being listed on the endangered species list. Parley’s Canyon is treated with rotenone so the Bonneville cutthroat can be restocked.
1996 – 71 DWR employees have either left or were terminated from their jobs in the last three years. Several of these employees played a key role in investigating whirling disease in the governors family owned fish hatchery.
1996 – DWR asks for anglers opinion on changing regulations to allow two poles and change fish kept from eight to four.
1996 – Permit for spearfishing is repealed. Bag limits at Jordanelle and Strawberry reduced from eight to four trout.
1996 – DWR receives almost 2 million dollars in funds for fish hatchery remodel from legislature. They are also eligible for 6 million in federal dollars.
1996 – Six years after treatment chubs are found again in Strawberry Reservoir gillnet study.
1996 – 1996 Utah fishing proclamation.
1996 – Bob Valentine director of the DWR announces his retirement. John Kimball becomes acting director while a nationwide search for a full time replacement is conducted.
1997 – 1997 Utah fishing proclamation. Anglers can now fish with two poles by purchasing a second pole permit for $10. The two pole permit is only valid on some Utah waters. The limit of trout was reduced from eight to four at some Utah waters. Utah now has a catch and release record. Each catch must be witnessed and photographed.
1997 – John Kimball is named full time director of the DWR. He has a bachelors degree in zoology from the University of Miami and has worked with the DWR for over 30 years.
1997 – Popularity of fishing the Boulder mountains booms after major outdoor magazine has an article on trophy brook trout. Fishing limit changes to only two trout over 13 inches to try and maintain the large fish population.
1997 – Fish infected with whirling disease near fish hatchery in Nephi. Despite several indications the Department of Agriculture took over a year to identify and test the fish.
1998 – The public is fed up with the way the UDA is handling whirling disease. Trout Unlimited of Utah helps a new law HB0407 pass. This law removes control of fish health from the UDA and creates a board of members from several divisions in Utah to control fish health policy.
1998 – 1998 Utah fishing proclamation.
1998 – Whirling disease found in upper Provo River area. Beaver Creek which is just upstream of the Kamas fish hatchery also test positive for the parasite.
1998 – State representative challenges stream access law for right to fish in rivers that pass through private property.
1998 – Brown trout are dying in the Ogden river due to overpopulation. The public is asked to harvest more brown trout.
1999 – 1999 Utah fishing proclamation. Utah Lake tributaries are closed to fishing in the spring time to protect spawning walleye. Anglers and hunters are required to purchase a $6 habitat authorization permit.
1999 – In effort to keep the Coloroado River cutthroat off of the endangered species list, the DWR stocks nearly 80 lakes in the Uintas with the trout.
1999 – New fish hatchery announced in Fountain Green which will replace the current one built in 1940.
2000 – Whirling disease hits Midway hatchery and workers have to kill 1 million fish. Whirling disease is now in the middle Provo River and contaminated the hatchery. Fish stocking in the state is reduced by 20%.
2000 – 2000 Utah fishing proclamation.
2001 – Blue ribbon fisheries program is created.
2001 – The governors family owned hatchery that originally spread the whirling disease in 1991 once again tests positive for the parasite.
2001 – 2001 Utah fishing proclamation.
2001 – Two new urban ponds open, one in Bountiful, and one in Murray. An increase in fishing license fee is asked so that more urban ponds can be built around the state.
2001 – DWR director John Kimball retires after 36 years. Kevin Conway steps in as acting director while a search for Kimball’s replacement is conducted.
2002 – 2002 Utah fishing proclamation. Statewide limit on trout is reduced from eight to four. When fishing in the Uintas you can keep an additional four brook trout.
2002 – After a three month search Kevin Conway is named director of the DWR.
2002 – Walleye numbers grow so fast in Yuba Reservoir that the fish completely wipe out their food supply. The DWR removes over 9,000 walleye from the reservoir with nets. Around 2,000 Christmas trees are dumped in Yuba with the goal of providing a place for Perch populations to grow.
2003 – 2003 Utah fishing proclamation. Strawberry Reservoir slot limit goes into effect. You now must release any cutthroat between 15 and 22 inches.
2003 – Couple arrested for keeping 174 trout in their freezer. This is 166 trout over the legal limit.
2004 – 2004 Utah fishing proclamation. Bait fishing is now allowed on the middle Provo River.
2004 – DWR director Kevin Conway passes away after tough fight with cancer. Miles Moretti is named interim director.
2005 – Only one commercial fish hatchery in Utah tests negative for whirling disease.
2005 – Jim Karpowitz is named as director of the DWR.
2005 – 2005 Utah fishing proclamation.
2005 – whirling disease found in Springville hatchery. Almost 900,000 trout have to be destroyed. 5,000 of the bigger trout are frozen and given to the public for food. Whirling disease does not affect humans when eaten.
2005 – Angler hours at Scofield Reservoir was around 347,000 in 1986. In 2005 the number of angling hours is around 115,000 at Scofield. Anglers caught around 252,000 trout at Scofield in 1986 and that number in 2005 was less than 36,000 trout caught.
2006 – 2006 Utah fishing proclamation. Lake trout limit upped to 8 fish at Flaming Gorge. The following was one of the stupidest entries I’ve seen in a proclamation. The limit on burbot is 25. Anglers must not release burbot, all burbot caught must be killed and count towards your bag limit. So if you catch 25 burbot you pretty much have to stop fishing.
2006 – Fishing license were set to increase in 2007, but the legislature funded the DWR $2.2 million dollars from the general fund instead.
2007 – 2007 Utah fishing proclamation. Anglers with a two pole permit can now fish at any water in the state with two poles. The 2nd pole permit is $15.
2007 – Fisheries experiment station run by the DWR find a rainbow trout mix that is 10 times more resistant to whirling disease.
2007 – DWR asks for the public’s input on changes to fishing tournaments laws.
2007 – Whirling disease is found at the Springville hatchery again. This time 60,000 fish will be killed.
2008 – DWR asks for the public’s input on allowing up to 6 fishing poles while ice fishing on Flaming Gorge.
2008 – Aligator pulled from Stratton pond in southern Utah is euthanized.
2008 – DWR asks for publics opinion on reducing the limit of fish from four to two at community ponds.
2008 – 2008 Utah fishing proclamation.
2009 – 2009 Utah fishing proclamation. Scofield now has a slot limit similiar to Strawberry Reservoir.
2009 – A small population of greenback cutthroat trout is discovered in southern Utah. The fish at one point was thought to be extinct.
2010 – After spending $5 million dollars a year for the last ten years a non hatchery born junesucker is finally found in Utah Lake.
2010 – 2010 Utah fishing proclamation.
2011 – Whirling disease found in the Green River.
2011 – Whirling disease found in Strawberry Reservoir. The Bear River cutthroat and rainbow trout strain being used in Strawberry is not as susceptible to the disease.
2011 – 2011 Utah fishing proclamation.
2012 – Loa fish hatchery put under quarentine after New Zealand mud snails are found.
2012 – Jim Karpowitz retires. Greg Sheehan is announced as the new director of the Division of Wildlife.
2012 – 2012 Utah fishing proclamation.
2012 – Anglers keep 1,500 walleye at Willard Bay compared to the year 2000 when they kept around 16,000.
2013 – The DWR sets fourth a plan to save the rare least chub. The fish will be planted at several ponds and small lakes around the state.
2013 – Management plan for Yuba Reservoir recommends rotenone poisoning.
2013 – 2013 Utah fishing proclamation.
2014 – Utah Division of Wildlife Resources releases an award winning mobile app. Editors note: Seriously this app is really well done, put it on your phone.
2014 – The DWR recommends that the perch limit be eliminated at Fish Lake.
2014 – 2014 Utah fishing proclamation.
2015 – DWR asks anglers to kill any pike they catch out of Utah Lake.
2015 – 2015 Utah fishing proclamation.
2016 – DWR asks for input of public on fish the would like planted at Scofield Reservoir. DWR also recommends a 2 year pilot program on the usage of corn as bait at 8 Utah lakes.
2016 – During construction of the Tibble Fork Dam a bunch of sediment is washed down the American Fork River killing thousands of fish in a 2 mile area.
2016 – 2016 Utah fishing proclamation.
2017 – Mike Fowlks is named the new director of the DWR . Greg Sheehan accepted a position as the deputy director at the US fish and wildlife service.
2017 – Idaho man catches record breaking lake trout at Flaming Gorge. It tuns out his license was expired so his record catch is void.
2017 – After a few years of studies it is deemed to difficult to treat Yuba Reservoir with rotenone. The major issues being that the tributaries leading to the lake are full of Pike and they would be too difficult to treat.
2017 – Record wiper caught at Newcastle Reservoir weighing 14 pounds.
2017 – Three new fish species are introduced into Scofield Reservoir. Wiper, tigers musky, and sterile walleye.
2018 – DWR recommends changing the fishing regulations for the next two years. Allowing corn in all waters where bait is legal. Legal limit of lake trout be increased to 12 with only one being over 28 inches at Flaming Gorge. Reduce the limit of catfish at Cutler Reservoir in hopes of increasing the size of the fish.
2018 – 2018 Utah fishing proclamation.
2019 – Perch structures are added to deep water in Rockport Reservoir. In the past perch structures were built in more shallow water but new research shows the fish can live year around in 60 plus feet of water.
2019 – 2019 Utah fishing proclamation.
2019 – More than 10 million fish stocked in Utah during 2019. Stocking numbers were close to 10 million fish over 100 years ago in Utah. The difference is the average weight of fish stocked is much higher.
2020 – 2020 Utah fishing proclamation. Fishing records for cutthroat trout are now available for each sub species.
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