Annual gill netting survey at Joe's Valley Reservoir
Annual gillnetting occurred at Joes Valley Reservoir on May 16. Five nets were set the night before and checked the following morning. Several Division of Wildlife Resources biologists and technicians were present along with numerous volunteers and Dedicated Hunters from Emery County. Two year classes of tiger muskellunge were present.
Fish stocked in 2009 averaged 30 inches and fish stocked in 2010 averaged 20 inches. Approximately two dozen muskies were sampled with the largest being 34 inches and around 11 pounds. The muskies appear to be surviving well and are experiencing excellent growth. All sampled fish were very fat and healthy. Stomach contents were examined on several fish and Utah chub were present in every stomach. Several muskies had Utah chub up to nine inches in their stomachs.
Splake, tiger trout, and cutthroat trout were also sampled. Two trout around five pounds were caught, one tiger trout and one splake. Overall trout numbers were less than last years catch, but numerous small splake were present in the nets. Utah chub abundance was similar to last year. Aquatic Program Manager, Justin Hart, thinks that it will take a few more years to see an effect on Utah chub numbers. We need to get several year classes of tiger muskies over 30 inches in the reservoir. Once we get a strong population of large fish we'll begin to see Utah chub numbers dwindle. It is unlikely we'll see muskie more than 40 inches this year, but there are numerous fish that should hit the high 30 inch range this fall. Those fish should easily top 10 pounds and provide excellent angling opportunities.