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Letter to the Editor: Fishing at Joe's Valley

Castle Dale

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has announced that Joe's Valley Reservoir in Emery County will be closed to fishing from November 1 through December 14, explaining that this is necessary to prevent the "excessive harvest of large spawning fish."

Now, it must be understood that the fish in question are Splake, which are hybrids of lake trout and brook trout. They are sterile, like mules, and although they go through the motions of spawning, they don't actually produce baby fish.

The DWR started planting these fish in selected lakes 10-15 years ago, including at Joe's Valley. Joe's Valley is not a good fishing lake. It has steep sides and poor soil which produces too little food for the fish. When you catch a fish there, it is usually skinny. In the past few years, some of my friends figured out where the bigger Splake come close to shore to "spawn" and began catching them, throwing most of them back. The word got out and last year many people went to that spot and many caught these trophy fish. That drove the DWR nuts. They don't really have any numbers, but they concluded that "the number of spawning season anglers has increased, which has dramatically increased the harvest of the biggest and most valuable segment of the splake population." Valuable for what? The Division says that they need these big fish to eat the chubs which otherwise interfere with trout fishing. So, we can't fish for trout now, because they eat the chubs. Why do we want to get rid of the chubs? Because they interfere with trout fishing. But we can't fish for trout, because they keep the chubs down.

How about just quit planting the Splake and let us catch all the chubs we want?

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