Travis Hobbs owns a Bear Lake cutthroat trout which he caught at Bear Lake on January 17th. The fish broke the previous record of 3.5 inches in length. (Utah Wildlife Division)
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SALT LAKE CITY – Drought throughout the state of Utah has impacted fishing over the past year, leading state wildlife officials to increase some fishing limits this year .
The reason for this decision in some of the state’s water bodies was that the low levels result in hotter water and warmer water contains less oxygen. Lower oxygen levels made it difficult for the affected fish species to survive and thrive.
Despite all of this, there were plenty of fishing opportunities in Utah in 2021. The Utah Division of Wildlife said it had stocked just over 9.6 million fish in more than 600 shots. state water throughout 2021 with the aim of improving fishing opportunities. and increase native fish populations.
And four people were able to rewrite the state’s record books during the year. Their catches now have a place in a book that dates back to the early 1900s.
According to the Utah Division of Wildlife, three of the records fell under the Utah catch and release category. It all started on January 17th when Travis Hobbs caught a 31 inch cutthroat trout from Bear Lake, a special native of Bear Lake and its tributaries. He broke a 27½ inch record set on Memorial Day 2020.
Then on March 12, Colby Woodruff caught a 32 inch walleye at Bear River, breaking the previous record of 31½ inches that Enich Mockli had caught at Starvation Reservoir in 2002.
Brett Bardsley caught the largest Colorado River cutthroat trout in state history on May 15. The 19-inch trout he caught at Pine Creek Reservoir knocked over a 15½-inch Colorado River cutthroat trout that Ace Teller caught at Canyon Lake in November 2020.
The final record was in the state’s capture and conservation category, and it was actually broken twice in 2021. Tavin Quigley caught a 15-pound, 4-ounce wiper at the Newcastle tank on April 8 ; however, the record lasted less than two months.
The new record is a 29 inch long wiper with a 23 inch circumference. The fish, captured by Trevor Cooper at the Newcastle Reservoir on May 23, weighed 15 pounds and 5 ounces.
There were 11 records set in 2020 – nine that remain in place until 2022.
All fishing records can be reported to DWR through its website. All fish caught and released must include a photo with a fish next to a measuring device with a witness confirming the capture in writing. Catch and retention records should include length, girth and weight, measured by a certified trade balance – with two independent witnesses outside the fisherman’s family or fishing parties.