Wildlife news releases - Sept. 8

Monday, September 11, 2017 - 11:00am
Utah Wildlife News

Free Waterfowl Hunting Clinic Offers Coaching for Youth and Adults

Clinic happens Sept. 23

Price – You can sharpen your waterfowl hunting skills at a free clinic on Sept. 23.

The Division of Wildlife Resources will host the clinic from 8 a.m. to noon at the Desert Lake Waterfowl Management Area east of Elmo.

The clinic, which is open to both youth and adults, will occur one week before the youth waterfowl hunt in Utah’s southern waterfowl hunting zone opens. Holding the clinic on Sept. 23 will allow young hunters to brush up on skills they need before heading into the field for the youth hunt a week later.

“There will be plenty of fun and practical opportunities for both new and experienced hunters,” says Walt Maldonado, DWR wildlife recreation specialist in southeastern Utah. “There’s something here for everybody.”

The clinic will feature several stations that will help hunters practice various hunting skills. The skills include duck identification, shooting, duck calling, training dogs and decoy arrangement. Youth participants can also shoot clay pigeons from a duck blind. The targets will be thrown at various angles to simulate the different types of shots waterfowl hunters encounter in the field.

A variety of shotguns will be available for adults and youth to use. Participants will learn which firearms and ammunition are best for hunting ducks and geese, proper shooting technique, and other skills necessary for a safe and successful hunt.

The clinic will culminate in a duck calling contest, and prizes will be awarded. Inexperienced duck callers will get a crash course and time to practice before the contest.

To register online for the free clinic, visit https://goo.gl/VwrPsm. For more information, call the DWR’s Southeastern Region office at 435-613-3707.


One of the Best Times to Fish

Autumn leaves, cool weather, great fishing

There are many reasons why fall is a prime time to fish in Utah. Fewer anglers—and fewer recreational boaters—top the list.

“If you want to enjoy great fishing,” says Randy Oplinger, sport fisheries coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, “in less-crowded conditions, fall is the time to do it. Recreational boating and fishing pressure drop off dramatically in the fall.”

In addition to having more space to fish, you can also enjoy some of the best scenery, weather and fishing of the year. Oplinger gives seven reasons to consider fishing in Utah this fall. He also lists the top waters to fish.

Reason 1 – Less crowded conditions

Looking for peace and quiet? Head to your favorite fishing water. They’re much less crowded in the fall.

Reason 2 – Beautiful fall scenery

The blazing oranges, reds and other shades of fall provide a backdrop that makes fishing in the fall both rejuvenating and exhilarating.

Reason 3 – Cooler temperatures

Fishing during the heat of summer can be tough. The cooler temperatures fall brings also bring pleasant outdoor conditions that are often perfect to fish in.

Reason 4 – Active, hungry fish

In the fall, water temperatures cool to a point that’s perfect for many fish. These ideal temperatures make fish more active. And, because they’re more active, they’re hungrier and more willing to take your lure or bait.

Reason 5 – Preparing for winter

As the water cools and daylight wanes, fish sense that winter—and the limited food supply found in the winter—is on its way. The fish start feeding aggressively to try to pack weight on before their food supply dwindles.

Reason 6 – Fall spawning

Brown trout and brook trout are among the fish that spawn in the fall.

During the spawn, browns and brookies lose some of their wariness. They become more aggressive and willing to bite your bait or lure. That makes fall a great time to fish for these species.

Reason 7 – Baits, lures and flies work

Because fish are hungry and active, there’s a good chance your favorite fishing technique will work.  Pull a nightcrawler along the bottom of the water you’re fishing, dangle a worm a few feet under a bobber or cast and retrieve a lure or fly, every fishing technique has a great chance of working in the fall.

Best waters to fish

Oplinger says fishing opportunities will be great this fall for families and anglers who enjoy beating the crowds while fishing in a scenic place. This fall, the following waters should provide some of the best scenery and the best fishing in the state. He also lists the best species to target in each water.

Also, if you’re going to hunt big game this fall, Oplinger encourages you to take a fishing rod and reel with you. “Big game hunting is typically best early in the morning and later in the day,” he says. “During mid-day, there’s often lots of down time. That’s a great time to grab your fishing rod and reel and take advantage of the many rivers, streams and lakes in Utah.”

Great family fishing

·         Weber River (Northern Utah)

Brown trout

·         Provo River (North-central Utah)

Brown trout (lower and middle sections of the river)

·         Starvation Reservoir (North-central Utah)


Note: Walleye fishing is best from a boat.

·         Lakes, streams and rivers in the Uinta Mountains (North-central and northeastern Utah)

Trout and grayling

·         Green River below Flaming Gorge Reservoir (Northeastern Utah)


·         Lake Powell (Southern Utah)

Striped bass and walleye

Note: A boat is required to fish Lake Powell effectively.


·         Blacksmith Fork River (Northern Utah)

Brown trout

·         Diamond Fork River (North-central Utah)

Brown trout

·         Thistle Creek (North-central Utah)

Brown trout



See Kokanee Salmon at Strawberry Reservoir

Sept. 16 is Kokanee Salmon Viewing Day

Heber City – You can see hundreds of bright red salmon—and possibly other wildlife, too—at the annual Kokanee Salmon Viewing Day.

The event will be held Sept. 16 at the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) visitor center at Strawberry Reservoir  The visitor center is along U.S. Highway 40, about 20 miles southeast of Heber City.

The event is free. It runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Division of Wildlife Resources, the USFS and Friends of Strawberry Valley host the viewing event every September amid the valley’s beauty and its changing fall colors.

Seeing the salmon

When you attend the event on Sept. 16, you’ll see some salmon in the Strawberry River next to the visitor center. But, if you walk to the fish trap and egg-taking facility behind the visitor center, you’ll see hundreds of the bright red fish.

DWR biologists will be available at the facility to show you the salmon and talk with you about the peculiar life cycle of the fish.

“Kokanee are easily visible in the river at the visitor center,” says Scott Root, regional conservation outreach manager for the DWR. “Once you arrive at the fish trap, you can ask questions about the salmon. If you want, you can even touch one.”

Root says the fall colors should make your drive to the reservoir really enjoyable. “In addition to the salmon,” he says, “there’s a good chance you’ll see other wildlife too. Kokanee Salmon Viewing Day is a great family event.”

If you can’t attend the Sept. 16 event, Root says salmon should be visible in the Strawberry River, and other tributaries to Strawberry, from now until the first part of October.

For more information about the event, call the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest at 435-654-0470 or Root at 801-491-5656.



See Bright Red Kokanee Salmon at Sheep Creek

Kokanee Salmon Day happens Sept. 16

Manila -- Whether you’re a visitor to the area, or a local who has attended for years, if you visit Sheep Creek to see kokanee salmon on Sept. 16, pack a lunch so you can spend the day enjoying everything the area has to offer.

The Division of Wildlife Resource’s annual Kokanee Salmon Day will be held at Sheep Creek on Sept. 16, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Last year, more than 400 people attended,” says Tonya Kieffer, regional conservation outreach manager for the DWR. “We’re hoping even more people will attend this year to watch nature paint Sheep Creek red.”

The event is free, and the viewing site is easy to get to. Sheep Creek is about six miles south of Manila. Kieffer is still determining the specific viewing site, but it will either be at the Scenic Byway turnout where Sheep Creek crosses under state Route 44, or near the campgrounds located along Sheep Creek. “Just watch for signs that we’ll post along SR 44,” she says. “You’ll be able to see the signs, no matter which direction on SR 44 you’re traveling.

“We’re hoping to see really good numbers of kokanee in their bright red spawning colors,” she says. “Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, wild turkeys, sandhill cranes, red-tailed hawks, song birds, squirrels and a variety of other wildlife have greeted those who have attended the event in the past. If you have a pair of binoculars or a spotting scope, make sure to bring it with you.”

Kieffer looks forward to the kokanee salmon spawning run every year. “The run is a great symbol of the changing seasons and an indication that autumn is here,” she says.

Kieffer says the colorful, landlocked salmon spawn in several Utah streams in September and October after spending about four years maturing in reservoirs downstream from where they spawn. “One of the most scenic kokanee runs takes place in Sheep Creek,” she says, “which is a tributary to Flaming Gorge Reservoir.”

DWR outreach staff and biologists will be at the site between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Display materials will be on hand that will help you see the kokanee and interpret their behavior. The biologists will also have a spotting scope available in case bighorn sheep visit the area, which they usually do during Kokanee Salmon Day.

“This is also a great time to take a scenic drive along the Sheep Creek Geological Loop,” Kieffer says, “in search of changing fall colors and other wildlife.”

Salmon in Utah

Utah's salmon populations are a completely freshwater species known as kokanee salmon. They follow a lifecycle that’s similar to other salmon with one exception: instead of migrating from the Pacific Ocean to freshwater streams, kokanee reach freshwater streams by migrating to the streams from freshwater lakes and reservoirs.

While kokanee spawning runs are an excellent opportunity to discover Utah’s wildlife, please watch the salmon from the bank of Sheep Creek. As you approach the bank, move quietly to avoid disturbing the fish. Studies have documented that the kokanee are sensitive to disturbances on the bank.

Also, don’t wade in the stream. Wading in the stream can disrupt the spawning run, destroy the redds (egg nests) and cover the eggs with silt.

To further protect kokanee during their spawning season, anglers are reminded that they may not possess kokanee salmon in Utah from Sept. 10 through Nov. 30.

For more information, call the DWR’s Northeastern Region office at 435-781-9453.



Fishing reports  -  available at http://wildlife.utah.gov/hotspots .