Anglers who visit the Wasatch Mountain State Park community pond usually can bring home just two fish at the end of the day. Thanks to a recent change, there’s now no limit to the fish you can bag from the pond from now until the end of the year.
Earlier this week the Division of Wildlife Resources announced they are lifting the daily bag limits for fish at the Wasatch Mountain State Park community pond. DWR regional aquatics manager Chris Crockett says they are making the move in preparations for improvements to the pond.
“Typically, it’s a two fish limit,” Crockett explained. “Right now, there's wiper and a couple different species of trout in there but the State Park is going to be doing some maintenance work and improvements starting in about three weeks. So, they're going to be gradually draining that pond. So, we have removed the limit basically so anglers and the public can go in and take advantage of that resource. With the hopes that they'll catch out the majority of those fish, take them home, and then that way they won't go to waste. We really don't have a good option for say catching those fish alive and moving them somewhere due to some disease concerns. So, we're pulling the limit so people can go in to take advantage of that resource, so it doesn't go to waste.”
The division will be partially draining the water in order to dredge or clean out the bottom of the pond. As the draining goes on the fish will become more visible.
“Quite frankly we don't know how many are in there right now,” Crockett continued. “I mean there are several hundred at least and so I mean I’d just encourage people that if you're interested in that to get out there as soon as they can. Take advantage of that, because they could get fished out pretty fast. That wouldn't be a bad problem to have on our end because like I said we're trying to get people to utilize that resource, so they don't die when they start dredging that pond or when it gets too cold this winter.”
Crockett says the winter project will bring improvements to the pond.
“They’re dredging it out several feet of sediment, so it'll be deeper,” Crockett said. “So, it will remain cooler during the summer and also a little bit more of a buffer during the winter. They're also going to be putting in an ADA accessible fishing pier and it gives us the opportunity to remove goldfish that were illegally introduced. So, it'll be much improved on when it opens back up in the spring of 2020.”
Crockett anticipates they’ll begin dredging in earnest once the pond freezes. He says it’s easier to do with the ground frozen rather than muddy. The division believe the goldfish were illegally introduced this spring.
“They can grow very fast and essentially take over an aquatic system much like carp can,” Crockett explained. “Which is one reason why we want to get rid of them. They can outcompete the other species for food, they reproduce very quickly. I don't know what the largest goldfish is in there right now, but I'd say there's at least some 6-8 inchers. So, somebody could definitely catch one of those, we just make sure remind them if they do catch them that they can't remove that live fish and move it somewhere else. But there's rainbow trout in there, there's a few tiger trout and we also play some wipers in there earlier in the year actually to help control the goldfish. So, there should be some good opportunities for sportfishing there for people to catch and take home.”
As for the removal on bag limits Crocket encourages interested anglers to head out to the pond soon.
“We ask everyone to utilize that resource wisely,” Crocket continued. “If you're going to take them home, then make sure it's something that you can eat or share with a couple of your friends and that those aren't just going to waste in your freezer either.”
The change for the bag limit will be in effect until December 31st, 2019.