|Large splake are being caught at Joe's Valley.|
Derris Jones, Division of Wildlife Resources regional director, gave an update at commission meeting on March 7. He said fishing for splake at Joe's Valley has been very good, although few anglers have been out using Joe's Valley. Recently the fishery personnel took the underwater camera out and shot some good footage of the large splake approaching the bait and other amazing footage. Jones said they are sending this footage to the Salt Lake news stations in hopes of getting some interest in the fishery and bringing people down from the Wasatch Front. He said it is getting late in the ice fishing season, but they'd like to generate interest for next year as well.
The March RAC meeting will be held on March 15 at the John Wesley Powell Museum in Green River. The permit number recommendations will be made at this time. Then the recommendations are sent on to the wildlife board for final approval. The elk age objectives are not being met at this time. On the Manti the age objective is 4-5 years and last year the average age was 6.8 and this year it was 7.2. "We are moving away from objective. There are a surplus of bulls out there and we propose to increase the permit numbers on the Manti. This has the sportsmen concerned, there could be hot times at the RAC meeting. But, we need to manage to plan and all disagreements will have to go to the wildlife board," said Jones.
"On the Range Creek unit, the objective is 1,000 head and we recently counted 1,800 head. We want to increase the objective to 1,500. Since we are well over objective, in April when the anterless number recommendations are made there will be a lot of cow tags. There are a lot of difficulties with the Range Creek unit, some private landowners want the elk on their land and some do not. "It's a difficult situation," said Jones. He reported on a statewide bison meeting which was held in Green River. The Ute tribe has 500 head of buffalo on the Book Cliffs and they are wandering. The livestock owners and the landowners on the BookCliffs are getting involved and they think a 400 head objective for bison would be OK. There is a concern if bison show up on the private land and a plan is being developed for what to do with them if they appear on private land. A committee has been formed and Jones envisions them meeting for a year before any recommendations are made.
Jones reported a CIB loan for $3.2 million has been approved to Carbon County for the construction of a building to house the state agency offices including the DWR. It will be a rent to own situation and constructed on the Carbonville Road where the old road shed was next to the Husky station.
During the legislature the upland game age restriction was lifted and no age requirement will be required, just a hunters safety completion card. Youth hunters must be accompanied by an adult. The bill to lower the age of big game hunters to 12 didn't pass. The minimum age for hunters is still 14. The opposition to the bill was hunters who didn't want more competition for permits.
The legislature made a $2.2 million appropriation to the Division to take care of payroll packages and benefits made in the 2005 legislative session. Because of this appropriation the Division will not increase any license fees this year. They are looking at marketing a license increase for 2008.
Watershed projects received $2.5 million with the $500,000 being ongoing money. This money will come from a water tax.
The Midway fish hatchery will receive $5 million for rebuilding. Jones said they had one of the best years ever at the legislature and he feels in part it's due to building relationships with local governments and gaining support at the local level which carries upward to other avenues.
Jones said they have been meeting on the Range Creek management plan and a draft should come out in a couple of weeks. It will be sent out for review.
The DWR is also accepting packets for proposals on any activities for commercial use of Range Creek. The applications are available on the Utah State purchasing site.
A field school is also being planned for high school students for Range Creek for June 19-23. Duncan Metcalfe of the University of Utah will host the event.