Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Good News for Newcastle Reservoir!

I've got to tell you, if you are a fisherman I think 2012 is going to be a great year for you!  We have already received a great report from Wide Hollow Reservoir ( on the fish sampled in the DWR's recent gill net survey, and this week Mike Hadley of the Utah DWR has a very optimistic report to share with us on Newcastle Reservoir.  As many of you are probably aware, the quality of fishing at Newcastle has slipped in recent years, due to an over abundance of golden shiners.  The exploding golden shiner population has robbed trout of their food supply, and to counteract the shiner population the DWR introduced wipers (cross between stripped bass and white bass) in hopes that their voracious appetites would knock the numbers of the unwanted species back.  Here's Mike's report of the gill net survey performed on Newcastle Reservoir this past week:

Biologists with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources conducted a gill net survey at Newcastle Reservoir west of Cedar City on March 21, 2012, and found healthy rainbow trout and wipers. Rainbows continue to show improved survival and growth since the reduction of the golden shiner population by the wipers. Rainbows observed during the survey ranged from ten to eighteen inches and were in great condition. A number of nice wipers were also collected, with the largest weighing in at almost five pounds. More "catchable"-sized (ie. 10-inch) rainbows have been stocked and Newcastle should provide good spring trout fishing. Fishing for wipers usually starts to pick up with warming water temperatures in April and May.

DWR Habitat Biologist Gary Bezzant shows off a 4.8-lb wiper caught and released during a gill net survey at Newcastle Reservoir on March 21, 2012

With the temperatures we have had, it sounds like we need to head out and give Newcastle a try very soon!  For those of you that may not know where the reservoir is, head west out of Cedar City on highway 56.  Travel on 56 until you reach the town of Newcastle.  If you turn left in the center of town, wander to the southeast corner of the town and you will find brown signs showing the way to the reservoir.  Newcastle is about 30-40 minutes from Cedar City, and the reservoir is a short 5 minute drive southeast from the town of Newcastle.

Wipers are fairly new to southern Utah, although a very popular fish species in a few northern Utah waters.  Checking fish stocking reports from last fall, you will also now find wipers in Otter Creek and Piute Reservoirs, where hope are the species will help keep chub populations in check.  You will also now find tiger trout in those two bodies of water, in addition to healthy rainbow trout and smallmouth bass.  For updated fishing reports please follow this link:

The Utah DWR has gill net surveys planned for many more popular southern Utah waters over the next 2 months.  Check back as Mike Hadley fills us in on these reports.  Mike has also invited me to come out and check out the survey process in the near future, hopefully we can share that here soon as well.

Finally, I feel bad that I have not posted in a few days, and to keep up on some recent shed hunting activities I would like to share another sweet set of muley antlers scooped up again by Bransen Jackson of Kanab, Utah.  I think I know who I am following around next year!  This young man and his group have brought in some sweet sets this year!  Congrats on another great find my friend!

Be sure to check back later this week, as we continue with out "outdoor places" theme as we highlight Escalante Utah, and all it has to offer as warm weather, spring break, and Easter approach!