The Utah Fishing Guidebook is available at sporting goods stores and at www.wildlife.utah.gov, and can be an invaluable asset as you contemplate and plan your angling adventures in 2021. Some of our most memorable Utah angling experiences (as a family) started by reading the guidebook.
Let’s take a look at what to expect in 2021 and learn how to use the guidebook to make 2021 the best angling year ever.
The first thing we do when the new year arrives is look just inside the guidebook at the section titled “How To Use This Guidebook.” Then, underneath the heading, we locate the part that reads, “What’s New.”
Diving right in, we take a quick look at the new rules and regulations that most affect our family’s personal angling habits, and then see if other changes might provide opportunities to expand our angling experiences in 2021.
For example, we noticed that the kokanee salmon limit statewide is now four fish per day and kokanees are included in the general statewide trout limit. This means that if we were to choose to catch only kokanee salmon, we could keep one extra fish each day but could no longer separate the kokanee limit from other trout species.
This is important for those who fish kokanee salmon waters, including but not limited to Strawberry, Jordanelle, Flaming Gorge and others, because in past years anglers have been confused when catching rainbows along with kokanees.
Could we catch three kokanees and then take another four rainbows?
Now the rule is clear. Kokanee salmon must be part of y general trout limit.
The next item we noticed was the following: “Increases to license and permit fees for anglers who are not Utah residents went into effect on July 1, 2020. Some of those increased fees are listed in the tables on page 6. To see all of Utah’s license and permit fees, visit wildlife. utah.gov/licenses/fees.html.”
Since part of our family come in from out of state, it was important to note that yearly license fees for adult nonresidents have increased to $85 and youth ages 12 to 13 pay $6. Youth between the ages of 14 to 17 now pay $29. Other rules and fees apply to nonresidents who bring their boats to Utah (listed in the guidebook).
We tow and use our boat in several states each year and can attest to the importance of knowing each state’s boating and trailering laws BEFORE leaving on an out-of-state adventure so you don’t start your vacation paying a stiff fine for not knowing the law.
Other changes in the regulations for 2021 very well might expand our angling horizons. Pelican Lake is now back as a blue gill fishery and anglers can take keep 15 blue gills per day but only five of those fish can be longer than seven inches.
Pelican Lake has been one of my favorite blue gill fisheries for 40-plus years, but (if you look in the guidebook) Red Fleet, Starvation, and many other impoundments offer several additional varieties of “panfish” available to anglers in 2021.
There are changes to wiper and northern pike limits as well: “Starting in 2021, the statewide wiper limit will be three fish, and the statewide northern pike limit will be 20 fish, with only one over 36 inches. See the complete table of statewide fishing limits on page 7.”
After reading the 2013 guidebook, Don Jr., and Chris (two of our three sons), joined me for a trip to Yuba Reservoir to target northern pike. We still talk about the incredible fish we caught (one of the pike is included in the photo accompanying this column).
As a family, we use the annual guidebook to better our chances for successful angling adventures and to be sure that when we spend the time, effort, and money to get to a destination, we know the rules, understand the opportunities and can truly take advantage of Utah’s incredible angling opportunities. Good Reading!