Walleye found in Strawberry Reservoir, DWR says
Jan 4, 2024, 11:11 AM | Updated: 11:12 am
(Ray Grass/Deseret News)
HEBER, Utah — Following the discovery of a walleye in Strawberry Reservoir, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has reminded the public not to “ditch a fish.”
According to the DWR, an angler reported the discovery on Dec. 21, 2023. Walleye could outcompete or prey upon the fish that call the reservoir home, according to DWR Fisheries Biologist Alan Ward.
Following verification of the report, the DWR believes the fish was introduced illegally.
The walleye caught in December is the only one reported so far. Trina Hedrick, the DWR’s sportfish coordinator said the DWR is planning extensive monitoring of Strawberry Reservoir in the spring.
“[We will be] looking for walleye in potential spawning locations when they would likely be congregating,” said Hedrick.
“Don’t ditch [or transport] a fish”
The DWR said that in Utah, it is illegal to transport live fish from one body of water to another. It is also illegal to take live fish home or release pet fish into bodies of water. Any of these actions can result in a Class A misdemeanor.
“Please help our native fish species and maintain quality fishing in Utah by never dumping a fish or being a ‘bucket biologist,'” said Hedrick.
Illegal introduction of fish can present negative consequences to the species living in the water.
Illegally introduced species could prey on species already in a body of water. They can also potentially bring disease into the habitat, according to the DWR.
The DWR said that it stocks cutthroat trout, rainbow trout and kokanee salmon in Strawberry Reservoir each year.
Finally, the DWR said that illegally introduced species can negatively impact the water’s quality.
“It is very expensive and takes a very long time — often requiring rotenone treatments that kill all the fish — to restore a waterbody after fish have been illegally introduced,” Hedrick said.
If you find walleye in Strawberry Reservoir
“We are worried that the actions of one selfish angler could damage the years it took to build this fishery into something that the majority of the public want,” said Ward.
Any angler who catches a walleye at Strawberry Reservoir has been instructed to kill it and report it to the DWR at 800-662-3337. The DWR is requesting that any report include GPS coordinates of where the fish was caught and a photo of it.
Additionally, Utahns are encouraged to report any illegal fish introductions or invasive species they see to the DWR. Should they have unwanted fish, they can contact their local DWR office to learn what to do with them.