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Stansbury residents want to make lake private

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Tired of trespassers, poachers and litterbugs, residents living around Stansbury Park want the state to designate a shallow lake there as a private pond.

The 105-acre, human-made lake, where dozens of residents sailboard and canoe in their back yards, is home to bass, catfish and bluegill, not to mention a variety of migratory birds.It also draws nonresident fishers intrigued by the lake's reputation for good-size catches. Most of them respect the land and nearby residents, resident Albert Ogden said.

But lately, a few have tramped across back yards, blared loud music, taken too many fish and left behind cans, bottles and wrappers.

"Sometimes you go out there and it's toilet-paper city," Ogden said.

Designating the lake, just north of Tooele, as a private pond would exempt it from Utah's open-fishing regulations - meaning that only homeowners and their guests could fish there. All others could be cited for trespassing.

"It sounds snooty, like people who are better off want to reap all the rewards," park resident Troy Faircloth said. "We don't want to hurt people who are respectful, but what do you do?"

Stansbury Park residents pay taxes to a recreation service agency and therefore jointly own the lake.

The agency will post "No Trespassing" signs around the water and is considering some sort of badge system to identify residents and their guests, said district manager Darek Sagers.

He also is seeking volunteers from the homeowners' association to patrol the shoreline, 90 percent of which is owned privately.

"What upsets a lot of people is strangers walking into their yards and fishing off their docks, leaving beer cans and broken bottles and sandwich wrappers," said Brent Rose, head of the recreation service board.

Residents also have noticed a decline in the number of ducks and fish at the lake. Faircloth has found a half-dozen ducks strangled by discarded fishing line during the past two summers.

He also said that at one time there were some fairly large bass in the pond. Nobody is sure how they got there because the lake never was stocked legally, but catch-and-release fishers say their numbers are down.

"You used to be able to go to the dock, throw a croppie jig and you would catch one (with) every single cast," Faircloth said. "It probably hasn't been like that in a year. There are fewer and fewer because of the constant pressure of fishing. . . . Some people take many, many, many fish."