ST. GEORGE — Don’t put fish in bodies of water that don’t belong there.
That’s the message state wildlife biologists are trying to push out after Utah chub were found in Panguitch Lake in Garfield County and goldfish were found in Jackson Flat Reservoir in Kane County during annual spring surveys.
They’re reminding Utahns that introducing fish to bodies of water that don’t belong there isn’t just illegal, it can also harm the ecosystems in which they are released. For example, Utah chubs compete with trout and can ruin a fishery, said Richard Hepworth, southern region aquatics manager for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. Goldfish, on the other hand, can create problems because they spawn quickly and can then compete with other species for food.
In a written statement, Hepworth said it’s believed that the chub was introduced by an angler using it as bait, which is illegal in the state. It’s not the first time Panguitch Lake has experienced a problem with Utah chubs. In 2005, officials conducted treatments to rid the lake of the species.
"Right now, we are hopeful that we have the right predator fish in place to keep the chubs from increasing to the point where they take over and we are required to treat the lake again," he said.
The goldfish were likely introduced by someone dumping their pet. Biologists say they hope the largemouth bass in Jackson Flat Reservoir will help keep goldfish numbers low before it becomes a problem; the agency plans to stock additional bass later this year in that effort.
Anyone who spots an invasive fish species or sees someone introduce fish into a body of water is encouraged to report it at 1-800-662-3337.