Thursday, April 19, 2012

Piute Reservoir Gill Net, and of Course a Few More Sheds

Piute Reservoir Rainbow Trout
Hey everyone!  I'm sorry if you have been checking our site for the past few days and have been disappointed as you have not found any new content posted to it in about a week.  I went in to have my gallbladder removed on Friday, and really thought I would bounce back a bit faster than I have.  I have made a couple of attempts to post, then as I look back at a sentence to proofread it I realize the pain killers were still doing their job!  Things are a lot better today, and I still have hopes of hitting the hills this weekend.

A lot has been going on with the great weather the past couple of weeks, and I'll try to highlight the best of that news here today.  OK, maybe this first report isn't the best news, but important none the less.  Mike Hadley, of the Utah DWR sends us a fairly discouraging report on the gill net surveys from Piute Reservoir conducted a couple of weeks ago:

Piute Res. Smallmouth Bass
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources conducted a gill net survey at Piute Reservoir on April 11, 2012, in order to monitor the current state of the fishery. While we found rainbow trout ranging from ten to nineteen inches, they were not as abundant as we had hoped. Utah chubs, however, were very abundant, providing a clue as to why the rainbows are struggling. The previously strong population of rainbow trout was hit hard when the reservoir was nearly drained in the fall of 2009. Since that time, Utah chubs have rapidly increased in abundance, increasing the competition pressure on stocked trout. This appears to be why trout are struggling, despite the stocking of thousands of extra fish to take advantage of good water levels over the last year. It is hoped that the current effort to introduce wipers in Piute Reservoir will help to reduce the density of Utah chubs and improve conditions for trout. One three-pound smallmouth bass was also observed during the survey.

Piute has struggled for quite a few years, but showed great signs of coming back around 2007.  This is a big setback, but hopefully the introduction of predator fish will help this lake out.

The early (draw tag) turkey hunt is in full swing!  Opening weekend was a tough one for hunters, as they were met Saturday morning with blizzard-like conditions for a few hours, followed by a couple of days of cold temperatures and fog.  Hopefully we start to hear some success stories this week!  Remember, if you would like to get in on the general season turkey hunt, those tags are available over-the-counter now.  That hunt starts the at the end of April, 30th and ends May 31st.  Check out this article on the Utah DWR website for more details:
I have heard a few individuals getting pretty excited for the big game drawing results, thinking they come out in April again this year.  A follow-up check of the big game guidebook confirmed what I thought, the results will not be posted until May 31st this year.  Sorry guys!

To end with today, I have some more great viewer submitted shed photos!  It seems like either the shed hunting is slowing down, or people are getting busy/burnt out!  I'm not seeing nearly as many photos in the past weeks, however on the disappointing side I have not seen nearly as many elk sheds this year.  Keep those photos coming if you do happen to make it out!

About 2 weeks ago I was able to hit the field with Spenser Owens of Panguitch.  We had a fairly good day in a spot we haven't spent much time in yet this year.  Finding the elk this year has been a battle, and we feel pretty good that our next trip to this area in a couple of weeks could be a lot better.  Check out this sweet deer Spenser picked up right alongside the trail!

We only found 1 elk shed on the day, and a few smaller buck antlers, but it was a great day covering some amazing (and very rough) country in southern Utah.  Thanks Spenser!

First find of the day
Heading home

Spenser is having some great luck this year!  Check out a few more of his finds!  Here's also one of Mike Marshall of Panguitch, on a trip with Spenser.

Mike Marshall

Spenser is having a good year for sure!