SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Wildlife Board approved several changes to Utah’s fishing regulations, along with other rule amendments during a virtual public meeting on Thursday. 

During the meeting, the board clarified kokanee salmon are included in the statewide four trout limit that includes salmon, grayling and hybrids (a combined total). Many anglers were confused by the regulation and thought the limit meant four trout and four kokanee salmon, when in fact it means four total fish. This change will also clarify that anglers may not possess kokanee salmon at any body of water statewide from Sept. 10 through Nov. 30.

The board also decreased the statewide wiper daily limit from six fish to three fish at all bodies of water. Wipers are a sterile fish and can’t reproduce, so their populations are solely dependent on stocking. 

In addition, the statewide daily limit for northern pike was increased from six fish to 20 fish, with one over 36 inches. Because northern pike are voracious predators, the change aims to help protect native fish species and sport fish. 

Another rule change will allow angers to bait without a hook to fish for crayfish where bait is prohibited. The change was proposed due to the difficulty of catching crayfish without bait. 

At Flaming Gorge, the board decreased the daily limit of bass from 10 fish to three fish (smallmouth and largemouth bass combined) in collaboration with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. If approved by both states, this regulation would go into effect in the Utah portion of Flaming Gorge on Jan. 1, 2021, and the Wyoming portion on Jan. 1, 2022. The board approved sending a letter to the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission to request a fee-reciprocity agreement between Utah and Wyoming for fishing at the gorge. It also increased the maximum number of kokanee salmon allowed in the daily trout limit at Flaming Gorge from three to four. 

At Pelican Lake, the daily limit for bluegill was changed from zero to 15 fish, allowing five fish to be over 7 inches. 

The board also created a seasonal closure for spearfishing at Red Fleet Reservoir and decreased the daily limit at the reservoir from 50 each for panfish species (bluegill, green sunfish, black crappie and yellow perch) to a combined total of 50 panfish, with no more than 20 black crappie in that total.

It also decreased the daily limit at Starvation Reservoir from 50 for each panfish species (bluegill, green sunfish, black crappie and yellow perch) to a combined total of 20 panfish. 

In addition to the changes in fishing limits and regulations, the board also approved a few changes to the current fishing contest rule. These changes were proposed by DWR biologists in an effort to streamline contest options and to remove the discrepancies between fishing for warm-water and cold-water species. 

The board also approved a proposal to waive the combination and hunting license fees for active military members who missed the opportunity to acquire a bonus or preference point while deployed. The rule change will also allow Utah military members to purchase a preference or bonus point if they missed the application period while deployed. 

The livestream of Thursday’s Utah Wildlife Board meeting is available on the DNR YouTube channel.