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DWR: Drought could impact fishing this summer

DWR: Drought could impact fishing this summer. (Martha Landis)

SALT LAKE CITY– Fishing may be impacted by the statewide drought affecting water levels in Utah’s streams and reservoirs, but the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is suggesting ways to protect the fish that anglers catch and release. Sportfishing Coordinator Randy Oplinger says warmer, stagnant water stresses trout, and it will be important to minimize handling them.

“Handle it as quickly as possible, so not bring it out and take a bunch of pictures. Just try to be gentle because that helps keep the fish alive,” Oplinger told KSL Newsradio. 

He says releasing the fish also needs some special care.

“If you release a fish back into warm conditions, it’s really hard for them. There can be limited oxygen; it can be too hot for them. So we recommend that you kinda look around a little bit and try to get them out in a little bit deeper water,” he said

Because of the warm and shallow conditions in some waterbodies, Oplinger said stocking may be reduced in a few of them.

Although trout are the most vulnerable to warm and stagnant conditions in streams where they normally thrive, Oplinger says some other species such as catfish, bluegill and bass can be affected as well.