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ANGLERS ASKED OPINION ON USE OF 2 FISHING RODS, KEEPING 4 FISH

SHARE ANGLERS ASKED OPINION ON USE OF 2 FISHING RODS, KEEPING 4 FISH

While you are waiting for the trout to take your wax worm under the ice, pull out the 1996 fishing proclamation and look at two questionnaires about possible changes in the way we fish.

In response to angler suggestions, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is taking input on how you feel about allowing a second fishing pole to fish for warm water species."The daily bag and possession limit would be the same as it is now," says Tom Pettengill, sport fish coordinator. "The proposal is only for warm water species because of the concern for over harvest on our trout species."

If the proposal is adopted anglers would pay a fee of $10. That fee is taken from the set line fee now imposed. Using a second pole on warm water fish makes sense.

Surrounding states allow it. Most warm water fish like catfish, crappie, blue gill, walleye, and striped bass reproduce in abundance. And it is because they are so prolific that a second pole would only work on warm water game fish. Trout could not compete with the added pressure.

"If we went this way," Pettengill explained, "we wouldn't allow a second pole on waters where we manage for two story fisheries holding both trout and warm water species."

Waters such as Hyrum Reservoir, Deer Creek Reservoir would not be allowed. Both contain bass, but they also have trout. Only Utah Lake, Willard Bay, Lake Powell and other strictly warm water fisheries would be eligible.

Surveys will be collected through June. All responses will be compiled for a final recommendation. The DWR will make its recommendation to the regional wildlife advisory councils and the Wildlife Board in September.

ALSO - Many anglers are asking that the statewide trout limit be changed from eight fish to four. the questionnaire asks people whether they would be in favor of a reduction in the number of trout taken home each day.

"The major intent is to spread angler success over the year," says Don Archer, special projects coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. "This seems better than a short season with a liberal limit of eight fish."

The number of anglers fishing each year is growing. And anglers are spending more time fishing. Both elements add up to more fishing pressure. The Division continues offering more opportunities to fish as well.

But, by reducing the number of trout taken each visit, there will likely be fish to catch all year long.

"It seems like it's preferable to provide more opportunities but restrict the take," Archer says. "That seems to be sustained with our conversations with anglers and the general public to have more opportunity, but not take as many fish home at one time."

The Division will be collecting survey results through June. A formal proposal will go to the regional wildlife advisory councils and the wildlife Board later this fall.

DEER PLAN - In January, the Regional Wildlife Advisory Council voted to accept the seven draft Deer Management Plans for the Uintah Basin area with the modifications the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources presented at the meeting.

Steve Cranney, UDWR Regional Wildlife Manager, proposed changing the target herd size and target buck harvest objectives on the Currant Creek and Book Cliffs units.

Dave Olsen, UDWR wildlife biologist, asked the Council to strike the draft hunt strategies from the Book Cliffs Unit plan.

"We reviewed the data and plugged in some new information which changed the herd size estimates on the computer models," Cranney said. "For Currant Creek, we recommended an increase in the target herd size from 10,000 to 12,000 and a target buck harvest increase from 1,200 to 1,450. In the Book Cliffs, we adjusted the numbers down from a target herd size of 15,000 to 10,000 and an estimated buck harvest from 1,500 to 1,000.

"I asked the council to remove the strategies portion of the draft management plan because the strategies were not a necessary part of the plan," Olsen said. "The strategies were included in the draft because there were some issues that needed public discussion. I wanted to initiate discussion about what sportsmen want for this unit.

"This includes not only herd size and target buck harvest numbers but also hunting strategies; should it be a general season like we have now or should it go to limited entry, general season with antler restrictions, eliminate different firearm types or even close the unit for a number of years.

"The proposed strategies did what they were supposed to do, they definitely stirred public interest and have everyone talking. Now, the best scenario for the division would be for the sportsmen to get together and present a unified view of what they would like for the Book Cliffs Unit."

Removing the hunt strategies from the Book Cliffs Unit made the RWAC discussions considerably easier.

"The Division's modifications made our vote considerably easier for this meeting," said Brad Weber, RWAC Chairman. "It was good to have only one set of items to deal with and we now have the first part done. Having the strategies included did give us the opportunity to put them on the board so everyone could see what was being proposed.

"Now we, as a council, would like to see the sportsmen get together and come up with some viable solutions on the type of hunts being proposed. It's up to the public. It is time to quit bickering and work together for the deer herds."