Monday, March 26, 2012

Southern Utah, "Around the Horn"

Wow, my ears are burning this week!  There's a lot of outdoor news that has found it's way to my phone, email, and on the web lately that I need to share with you.  I'm sure I'll miss something, but I will try my best to highlight the important notes that have come around to me.

First of all, Mike Hadley of the Utah DWR has another optimistic report from a gill net survey he conducted last week on Minersville Reservoir:

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources conducted a gill net survey at Minersville Reservoir near Beaver on March 23, 2012, and found lots of fat, healthy rainbow trout. These fish ranged in size from twelve to twenty inches and from one to three pounds. The reservoir is completely full, meaning that rainbows will have plenty of food this year and should continue to see impressive growth. 2012 will be a great year to visit Minersville and catch some high-quality trout. Special fishing regulations are in place at this reservoir, so consult the Utah Fishing Guidebook before you go. 
 
We also caught one seven-inch wiper that was stocked in 2011 at just two inches. Wipers are aggressive open-water predators and are being stocked in order to reduce the reservoir's abundant population of Utah chubs. Young wipers are often difficult to catch in gill nets, so seeing even one is a good sign that these hybrid fish first introduced to the reservoir last year are surviving and growing well. Anglers can expect to see wipers grow to "catchable" size in 2013. 
 
Minersville Reservoir is a great place to fish if you are an avid fly fisherman, as regulations are set in place for catching fish on flies or lures only.  I have heard a couple of really good reports from the lake already this spring.  Just be careful on the float tube in the spring.  Winds can come up fairly suddenly through the valley, creating very dangerous conditions out on the water.  Expect fairly windy conditions off and on for the next couple of months.  Minersville Reservoir is about a 20 minute drive from Beaver, Utah, just off of I-15.  
The Utah DWR has posted it's proposals on hunting permit numbers for the 2012 season on it's website.  These proposals will be presented to the wildlife board in May, at which time the board can make changes or outright accept the proposals.  For an overview of the DWR proposals follow this link: http://wildlife.utah.gov/dwr/news/42-utah-wildlife-news/765-how-many-permits-will-be-available-this-fall.html

One important proposal that I am seeing concerning Utah deer permit numbers is that the DWR is proposing that 14 of the 30 deer units be managed for a ratio of 15-17 bucks per 100 does, and that the remaining 16 units will be managed for a goal of 18-20 bucks per 100 does.  This seems to contradict a decision made 2 years ago that ALL of Utah's deer units (then regions) be managed for a goal of 18 bucks per 100 does.  You should know that most of Southern Utah's units are being managed at the lesser ratio of 15-17 per 100.  Why the change?  Is it to provide hunting opportunities, or was it to compensate lost revenue as we have switched to smaller units?  I think many hunters were glad to see permit numbers reduced on units that were struggling until numbers could rise to meet the 18 buck objective.  Wasn't that one of the big reasons for going to units vs. regions?  Colorado has units that have as much as 30 bucks per 100 does!  Just sayin'...

Do you have concerns about the recommendations?  Each region will be hosting a RAC meeting during April which allows the public an opportunity to comment on the recommendations, and to become more educated on the proposals.  The southern Region RAC will be held in Beaver, Utah on April 10th, 5 PM at Beaver High School.  Follow the link above for locations and dates of RAC meetings in Utah's other regions.

So, now are you curious as to how many permits are being proposed for the unit that YOU applied for this year?  Follow this link, and then click on the species that you are interested in: http://wildlife.utah.gov/dwr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&catid=118:big-game&id=761:share-your-input-on-2012-big-game-permit-numbers

Don't temporarily freak out like I did when you scroll down to your unit of choice!  As I looked at the deer numbers I was shocked to see that only 200ish were available on my favorite unit.  After fuming for a bit I realized that the number I was looking at was only for archery tags!  Units will be divided by weapon type.  You will also be able to find the buck/bull to doe/cow goal ratios for your unit.

Finally, I just wanted to post a couple of pictures from my outings this week.  We finally got the boat out on Wide Hollow Reservoir.  After an hour or so of slow fishing, we finally located a good spot and I was able to tie into this great fish!  The success was short lived, as we had motor problems and had to paddle back to shore (sort of...it's a long story for another time).  Additional fish were stocked last week.. Give these little guys a couple of weeks to acclimate, and I bet we start to see some faster fishing!  Water temperature is already in the low 60's!

Shane Woolsey and I also got out to look for elk sheds this week.  No browns found this time, and in fact we couldn't even find the bulls in this area, but Shane was able to find some nice whites.  I was able to score a brown 2 point buck.  Say what you will, obviously mine took more skill to find!  Maybe next weekend will be better!  I'm seeing some great photos on Facebook of shed gathering.  Keep the pictures rolling in, hopefully we can compile a bunch to post towards the end of the week!  Spring is so great, get out and enjoy the outdoors before the busy summer sets in!