The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources stocked 20 species of fish in Utah’s waterways. The 2019 count came to more than 10 million.
Stocking fish in Utah has been a practice done throughout the state for more than 100 years. DWR Public Information Officer, Faith Heaton Jolley says it’s partly to make it more fun to fish by having healthy populations. It’s also a conservation management tool for native species.
“We want to make sure anglers have that opportunity to catch fish when they’re going out. But it’s definitely part of the sport aspect also for something [to] kind of balance out some of the fisheries’ environments and ecosystems. And then like I mentioned we stock a lot of these native fish. W e've really tried to bolster the June sucker population since they've been in danger. We put a special interest in making sure that we raised those in our hatcheries, and we restock those to help bolster the population and help them recover.”
Spring and Fall are the stocking seasons and most of the fish are raised in Utah with a few exceptions. Native cutthroat and rainbow trout species were some of the 20 species of stocked fish this year in Utah waters. Heaton-Jolley says the conservation work is paying off with one of Utah’s endangered fish species.
“We’ve also stocked quite a few other native species. Bony tailed chub, we also stocked more than 30,000 June suckers. That's been in the news a lot recently because they've been an endangered species for a long time. They’re only found in Utah Lake and this last year they were actually proposed to be down listed from endangered to threatened.”
They stock out-of-state warm water sport fish like catfish and large-mouth bass. Blue gill is trucked in from Arkansas. They get artic grayling eggs from Wyoming to raise in Utah’s hatcheries.
“You’re looking for maybe a new species to try and target, or just want to try a different water body. We post whenever we stock, we post those stocking reports on our website as well. But people can check that and kind of see where it's been recently stocked, so to give them kind of that extra boost when they go fishing.
In 2019, they stocked 2 million fish in over 600 local water bodies along the Wasatch Back. Heaton-Jolley says by keeping populations strong, it gives anglers a chance to try fishing for new species in a large variety of places.