Find a list of your saved stories here

Roundtail chub, once close to threatened, soon to be a Utah sportfish

The Utah Wildlife Board on Thursday approved a plan to amend the 2023-24 fishing recommendations to include roundtail chub as a sportfish.

The Utah Wildlife Board on Thursday approved a plan to amend the 2023-24 fishing recommendations to include roundtail chub as a sportfish. (Melanie Fischer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)


Save Story

Save stories to read later


Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

FARMINGTON — Roundtail chub, an endemic species to the Colorado River Basin, was once nearing protection from the Endangered Species Act when Utah wildlife biologists began efforts to protect the species in 2006.

Now, nearly two decades later, the species is about to be a sportfish in the state.

The Utah Wildlife Board on Thursday approved a plan to include roundtail chub as a sportfish that can be caught in a little more than a half-dozen locations within the state beginning at the start of 2023.

  • Colorado River: Roundtail chub can be caught from the Colorado state line, to the confluence of the Dirty Devil River. The daily fish limit is set at two roundtail chub.
  • Delores River: Roundtail chub can be caught from the Colorado state line downriver to the confluence of the Colorado River. The daily fish limit is set at two roundtail chub.
  • Escalante River: Roundtail chub can be caught from the confluence of Pine Creek downriver to the confluence of Lake Powell. All roundtail chub must be immediately released after being caught, and only artificial flies and lures can be used.
  • Green River: Roundtail chub can be caught from the Colorado state line downriver to Sand Wash boat launch. All roundtail chub must be immediately released in this section. Roundtail chub can also be caught from the Sand Wash boat launch downriver to the confluence of the Colorado River. The daily fish limit is set at two roundtail chub in this section.
  • McElmo Creek: Roundtail chub can be caught from the Colorado state line downriver to the confluence of the San Juan River. All roundtail chub must be immediately released after being caught, and only artificial flies and lures can be used.
  • San Rafael River: Roundtail chub can be caught anywhere in the river. The daily fish limit is set at two roundtail chub.
  • White River: Roundtail chub can be caught from the Colorado state line downriver to the tribal land boundary. The daily fish limit is set at two roundtail chub.

The process began last year and received "a lot of support," Randy Oplinger, the sportfish coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said in a statement Friday. The agency formally proposed the change in August, stating that it mirrors what other states have done and offer Utah angler a "unique opportunity" for a new fish species to catch.

"These are a fun species to fish for because they take a wide variety of flies, lures and baits," Oplinger said, noting that since the fish species are found in the Colorado and Green rivers and the rivers' tributaries, there likely won't be a ton of "fishing pressure" on the species.

"Those rivers don't receive a lot of fishing pressure, so classifying roundtail chub as a sportfish species provides some new fishing opportunities on some waters that are not heavily visited," he added. "While roundtail chub are considered a species of greatest conservation need, they are a conservation success story and their populations in Utah are doing well enough now to withstand some fishing pressure."

The measure was approved with little debate during the Utah Wildlife Board's meeting Thursday, as were other measures proposed in August. The Green River Golf Course Pond was removed from the community fishing pond list because of the low survival rates of the stocked fish in the pond, while the six-month seasonal closure every January to early July at Brown Duck Basin in the Uinta Mountains was removed to "provide additional angler opportunities," according to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

The board also approved a measure to remove the seasonal closure for some of the Strawberry Reservoir tributaries, eliminating a previous ban from Sept. 1 to early October for all tributaries but Trout Creek. In addition, it adjusted the daily fishing limit at many other locations in the state.

All of those changes will also begin at the start of next year and will be included in the next Utah Fishing Guidebook.

Related stories

Most recent Outdoors stories

Related topics

UtahOutdoors
Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com. He previously worked for the Deseret News. He is a Utah transplant by the way of Rochester, New York.

SIGN UP FOR THE KSL.COM NEWSLETTER

Catch up on the top news and features from KSL.com, sent weekly.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast