RANDLETT, Uintah County — Pelican Lake will be closed to the public from Oct. 10 through Oct. 31 as crews with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources rid the lake of carp.
The lake, which is about 25 miles southeast of Roosevelt, will be treated with the piscicide rotenone on Oct. 10 and 11 in an effort to improve water clarity and start the process of restoring the fishery.
According to biologists with the division, the lake once hosted a healthy population of bluegills and largemouth bass. But after an influx of common carp in 2008 and 2009, the quality of the bluegill fishery declined rapidly.
Trina Hedrick, regional aquatics manager for the division, said in a statement the treatment has been anticipated for years, but officials have been waiting for low water levels to ensure no carp escaped.
"This year's drought dropped the lake to the target water levels," Hedrick said. "It's time to treat it."
Hedrick said within a few hours of the treatment, the fish will be dead and cleanup will begin. Depending on the temperature and wind direction, homeowners around the lake may notice the smell of decaying fish after the treatment is over.
"Only about 30 percent of the fish will float to the top of the water with the rest sinking to the bottom," Hedrick said. "That will reduce the smell, but it will be present for awhile."
By the end of October, the rotenone will have completely dissipated and the lake will be restocked with largemouth bass and bluegills that have been caught and kept at Steinaker Reservoir.
At first, biologists will stock mostly bluegill. "Largemouth prey on bluegill," Hedrick said, "so we need to keep largemouth bass numbers low to give the bluegill population time to establish itself."
Hedrick asks anglers to be patient.
"After the treatment this fall it will take a few years for fish in the lake to grow to a catchable size," she said. "The wait will be worth it in the end, though."