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Is Utah Lake worth saving?

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Is Utah Lake worth saving?
Earlier in the year state resolution H.C.R. 26 was passed...urging restoration of Utah Lake. (see attached PDF file of actual resolution).

In today's Salt Lake Tribune there was an article questioning whether Utah Lake is worth saving. A group of legislators and other folks launched a flotilla out of Lindon this past week to give everyone a good look at what they would be spending their money on.

Interesting to read the pros and cons in the copy and paste copy of the article.

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Re: [TubeDude] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
Quote:
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislature and the Governor urge solutions to restore a vibrant fishery, including restoring the Bonneville cutthroat trout population and recovering the June sucker, while improving habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife species.

I want some of what they're smokin'.



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Fishrmn

"I tolerate with the utmost latitude the right of others to differ from me in opinion."
— Thomas Jefferson

"The difference between genius and stupidity is; genius has its limits."
— Albert Einstein
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Re: [Fishrmn] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
That's a hoot, fer sure. No doubt a case of an unknowing legislator attempting to say the things that will make him appear more ecological...a fish hugger as it were.

If they manage to restore the cutts maybe we can hope for some chinook salmon and kokanee too.

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Re: [TubeDude] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
TubeDude wrote:
No doubt a case of an unknowing legislator attempting to say the things that will make him appear more ecological

Ecological, or egotistical. But, hey, if they can do it I'm all for it.



<{{{{{°>


Fishrmn

"I tolerate with the utmost latitude the right of others to differ from me in opinion."
— Thomas Jefferson

"The difference between genius and stupidity is; genius has its limits."
— Albert Einstein
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Re: [Fishrmn] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
Yeah, that bit about restoring cutthroat trout to Utah Lake sure made me stop and wonder where that came from. Smile

This whole thing is especially interesting for me, since I got my master's studying phycology/algology and water quality. But it's really not complicated. The algae grow when the water is warm, when the light penetrates especially to the bottom of the lake, and when they get fed lots of nutrients (mainly phosphorus and nitrates). The only thing that we can really control is the amount of nutrients entering the lake from sewage treatment plants, and maybe from runoff from agriculture (fertilizers, manure,etc.) I'm glad it's being looked at, and hopefully Utah Lake can be improved.


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Many a problem will solve itself if you'll forget it and go fishing.



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Re: [Fishrmn] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
Fishrmn wrote:
[
... if they can do it I'm all for it.



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I'd support it.

to be honest, I don't know why anybody wouldn't want to improve that lake.

Get more water to the lake (minimum flows)
Get better / cleaner water to the lake (reduced nutrient loads of phosphorus and nitrates).
Remove undesirable non-natives (carp) (natural vegetation, bottom structure, increased water clarity which reduces water temperatures)
Restore natural Provo River delta (improved habitat for native species: cutthroat + June sucker)

the benefits of cleaning things up would be tremendous to all fishermen. I've never understood why anglers have often been against efforts to improve Utah Lake.

Oh well. Noel can have his algae blooms. he'll probably figure out a way to get the Feds to pay him for not growing enough algae...



I couldn't help it. It just popped in there.
Dr. Raymond Stantz

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Re: [PBH] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
And then he'll want the Feds to give BACK all of the public lands in Utah.



<{{{{{°>


Fishrmn

"I tolerate with the utmost latitude the right of others to differ from me in opinion."
— Thomas Jefferson

"The difference between genius and stupidity is; genius has its limits."
— Albert Einstein
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Re: [Fishrmn] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
The reason Noel is against it is because there is no way Utah lake can be sold off to the highest bidder, like he wants to do with the rest of our public lands.

As for reasons to clean up Utah lake, I can think of a few.

1. It already is one of the best and most diverse fisheries in the state with room and biologic potential to improve even more.

2. It is surrounded by the second most populous county in the state, whose citizens require diverse forms of recreation the lake can provide and who suffer the negative effects when the lake has issues. (Think lake stink)

3. A clean lake generates a lot more revenue for local businesses and our economy here.

4. It maintains local control of programs including the June sucker recovery.

5. It makes good ecological sense.

6. It's the right thing to do.


As for that resolution and the cutthroat trout, remember that the resolutions the legislature make have no effect of law and usually aren't worth the paper they are written on. I'm glad they are interested in UL and I'll cut them some slack for their musings for a cutthroat fishery that seem very unlikely.





I caught you a delicious bass.
(This post was edited by doggonefishin on Sep 14, 2017, 1:28 PM)
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Re: [doggonefishin] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
doggonefishin wrote:
... I'll cut them some slack for their musings for a cutthroat fishery that seem very unlikely.

It's only unlikely because nobody wants to give it a try.
For some reason, even though we all know he's a damned fool, people continue to listen to (and vote for!) that imbecile Noel.

Talk about insanity....



I couldn't help it. It just popped in there.
Dr. Raymond Stantz

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Re: [PBH] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
PBH wrote:

Oh well. Noel can have his algae blooms.


Maybe Utah county can ship some UL algae down to Kanab for Noel to use in his quasi public bass ponds that he didn't want the DWR to manage.





I caught you a delicious bass.
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Re: [Fishrmn] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
I think it is a good Idea to show the people who make the decisions the potential of a improved Utah Lake. Utah Lake is a great fishery with many environmental problems. However, these problems can be fixed with the support of the right people.

As for Noel, I am sure that after this field trip he will find a way to blame the lake's problems on "Rock Lickers". Jeez, what a creep! Noel is not a friend of Utah Lake, Utah public lands or Utah's hunters and fishermen!
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Re: [UThunter] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
TubeDude provided the attached article recently, it is a MUST READ!



Now,at the risk of getting myself in trouble, oh well............


Got a story for you. In Northern Idaho there is an HISTORICAL MONUMENT that talks about the first white explorer to see the area, and how he observed the local Indians that were catching "Carp" and preserving them for the winter.


Now, which is it, are “Carp” native to the US or were they introduced in 1831 as a foodfish by the United States Fish Commission? History apparently tells us both. I am sure the historical monument is wrong. But, it is written and a great deal of people in the future will believe it. I suspect that the European explorer, not familiar with native species and more familiar with his own species, called it a Carp. It was likely what we now call Northern Pikeminnow, previously called “Squawfish”.


So, what does this mean to us”? Early reports of Trout, especially Cutthroat Trout, may have been in error, just as the explorer was. Just writing what you think you see does make it so. But, think about how the future will look at us. After all, reading the National Enquirer, an “Historical artifact” to the future, will tell of Alien abduction, Alien encounters, ……… never mind, but I think, I hope, I have made the point that history is pretty vague.


Still, let’s assume that there were Cutthroat Trout in Utah Lake. The assumption is that they were Bonneville Cutthroat. I contend that what we call Bonneville Cutthroat Trout would never have been able to handle the water temperatures that would have existed. TubDude posted a great article recently, by a reputable scientist, that explains that Utah Lake has not been deep in 1000’s of years and it has not been “clear” either. The same article tells us that the Nitrogen and Phosphorus is quickly neutralized by the natural chemistry of the lake.


It is possible that a specific strain of the Bonneville CT did exist, just as a specific strain of Cutthroat developed in Nevada’s Lahonton or Pyramid Lake Cutthroat Trout. The Lahonton has developed a tolerance for alkaline waters that few fish have. It is adapted to large prey and large bodies of water, but it has a close genetic relative that lives upstream and eats bugs and small fish, the Humboldt Cutthroat. The Humboldt cannot handle the alkaline waters, does not grow to a large size, has a shorter life span, and in no way is confused with the Lahonton, but it is a relative, probably just a strain that stayed in the upstream colder waters instead of migrating downstream once hatched.


The Humboldt is to the Lahonton as the current Bonneville CT is to the “Extinct” Trout of Utah Lake. It is highly unlikely that today’s Bonneville CT could ever adapt to the NATURAL temperatures of UL.


Now I am all in favor of improving Utah Lake, and I support all reasonable and pragmatic efforts to “save” it, but let’s look at this through the prism of reality, not the rosy glasses of wishful thinking. Unless you find a time machine, and can get the original Trout from UL to plant back, we will never be able to restore it to the original state.


Ironically the Lahonton could be a substitute that would work in Utah Lake. I lived in Washington State and fished Lake Lenore, a transplant success of note. That lake gets as warm UL, as well as Sprague Lake, another place where Washington State has transplanted Lahonton CT from Lenore. (Sprague Lake is in a desert environment, a depth of only 17', it has an Algae bloom every year and no one even thinks about it)


I want the carp out of UL, but it will never completely happen. I want native vegetation back into UL, but in reality, with the carp, I would be happy with Milfoil. (DON’T take me seriously on this one, I don’t think I would like the view from behind bars!). I want more water in UL, but as the article pointed out, even if every drop of water went into it, UL still suffers from low water periods.


What I really want is an IQ test requirement for politicians! If that was a legal requirement, then perhaps our country would survive the future.


OK, I have had my say, now let the fiery darts start. I deserve it. LOL

Fishin'



My bucket list has a hole in the bottom of the bucket.
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Re: [Anglinarcher] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
We have to realize that every politician's favorite radio station is WIFM...What's Innit Fer Me? If they can't figure out a way to profit by a decision or a lobbying effort they don't generate much enthusiasm for a project.

About the Utah Lake cutts. I too doubt they were the same strain as modern day Bonneville cutts. I also agree that the Lahontans would probably make a good candidate for any attempts to restore trout to Utah Lake. They survive in some pretty scungy ponds in northern Nevada and southern Oregon.

There is no question as to whether or not trout existed when the pioneers got here. Lots of old pics in the archives...including one in the attached intro chapter of my Utah Lake rewrite...coming soon.

I have a history with "golden pond" (Utah Lake) going back to the early 1960s. I have seen a lot of changes...both good and bad. I am encouraged by the increased attention to Utah Lake and the apparent desire by influential folks to try to recover what is recoverable. Sadly, I fear that we will have to accept that some changes are not likely to be possible. The genie is out of the bottle on a lot of issues. But I remain an infernal optimist.


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Re: [Anglinarcher] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
Honestly if we're going to sink some money and effort into UL (which IMO is a good use of tax dollars), then I can think of a lot of things I'd like to happen before we try to make yet another trout fishery. Utah has plenty of places to catch slime rockets. Let's get serious panfish populations established if possible, like perch and bluegills. Just my $0.02.
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Re: [BHuij] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
I think if you added largemouth to your list I would agree 100%
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Re: [T-DOG91] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
First, if I had not seen the trout photos, I would not have believed it. Great article TubDude, well done again.

As for the panfish, as long as we do not have vegetation, we will not have panfish. We will not have vegetation until the carp are removed or reduced to a very small percentage of the biomass. Do we have the will and the means to accomplish that?

And someday, maybe, some Alien Cutthroats might be nice again. After all, the Lahontons did get up to and apparently over 41 pounds.
My bucket list has a hole in the bottom of the bucket.
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Re: [Anglinarcher] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
A few comments directed at various points FWIW.


1. In conversations a couple years ago with a friend (DWR biologist) that was working on the June sucker project, she noted that they already have caught a few Bonneville cutts from the carp nets. I have seen one caught by angler and saw pictures of another. Yes, they probably came from Diamond Fork or another tributary, but they were healthy.

2. Biologists that have studied the Bonneville cutt note that many of the current populations were the descendants of the fish that lived in lake Bonneville. Lake Bonneville drained fairly recently in biologic terms. There is opinion that these fish will do much better than may typically be expected in a suitable lake environment. That could possibly include Utah Lake.

3. When talking to one of the original biologists working on the June sucker project, he stated that one of the possibilities of saving the suckers would be to make a partial impoundment of UL, eliminate other species, and stock with June suckers as a refuge for them. He then surprised me in saying they would then strongly consider putting in the cutts in such an arrangement.

The point is that , while a long ways off, a viable cutt fishery may not be as far fetched as it would seem. I agree that there are several things I would like to see them accomplish first before reintroducing trout in a big way.

4. RE " Let's get serious panfish populations established if possible, like perch and bluegills."

Are you kidding me? Nobody seems to notice or care, but Utah lake is already one of the best bluegill fisheries in the entire state. Since Pelican lake has hit on hard times, I think it is the best lake to catch jumbo gills. Every year, I look forward to the "spring fling" where I can take my kids and catch nice bluegills and crappies to our hearts content. They also can provide fast action through the ice. Perch are in there too, but are involved in a complex food web with crappies, bullhead cats, and walleyes. They will always be there, but probably won't be a dominant species over the white bass, crappies, and bluegills.

The bluegills and crappie thrived in the higher water and the phragmites. The phrag eradication may have some impact on the gills, but they had a great spawn in the flooded weeds this year and do Ok in bulrushes and other waterside vegetation. Improved aquatic grasses earned from carp reduction will only help things.

5. RE"I think if you added largemouth to your list I would agree 100% "

I do assume it is known by the writer that they are already present in fishable numbers. Some of my personal bests have come from there. IMO, the low water hurt them more than most other species there but they should rebound now.

It was the opinion of some of the June sucker biologists that LMB would benefit more than most species with increased aquatic grasses.





I caught you a delicious bass.
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Re: [Anglinarcher] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
I got to thinking about your mention of early explorers seeing native Americans catching and processing "carp". You surmised that they were probably mistaken in their species ID and that the fish were likely "pikeminnows". I suspect they were more likely suckers or redhorse. Many native Americans harvested suckers as they made their annual spawning runs upstream from lakes...as they used to do in Utah Lake. And their puckery lips could have easily been mistaken for carp mouths. But just my guess.

By the way, have you ever watched the video Utah Lake Legacy...produced by the June Sucker Recovery Program? If not, here is A LINK. It has some great historical info and pictures, as well as detailing the plans for reducing the carp population and otherwise restoring Utah Lake.

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Re: [BHuij] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
BHuij wrote:
Honestly if we're going to sink some money and effort into UL, then I can think of a lot of things I'd like to happen before we try to make yet another trout fishery.


I think the thought process here is incorrect. I don't think fisheries biologists / managers think this way. You don't say "Let's make a trout fishery". I think you say "let's improve habitat" and then adjust fish management according to what best fits.

In the case of Utah Lake -- we know that it historically held cutthroat. This is undisputable, regardless of what some anglers opinions are today. It is entirely possible that those cutthroat stayed close to tributaries, but those fish were in Utah Lake -- and pictures show that those fish grew to large sizes.

Can we get things back? I doubt it.

But, again, you don't "put the horse before the cart".

go back and read that resolution again. It doesn't say "make Utah Lake a trout fishery" anywhere in it. It specifically says to "improve water quality" and "remove non-native carp".

Again, I don't understand why anglers (of all people!) get upset when our State starts talking about improving Utah Lake. Removing non-native plant species, removing non-native carp, and improving water quality would be a benefit to ALL sportfish found in Utah Lake! As a group of anglers, we should be supporting this resolution and asking our state representatives to support this! Only good could come from it!



I couldn't help it. It just popped in there.
Dr. Raymond Stantz

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Re: [doggonefishin] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
Yes I am aware largemouth are in UL now, I have caught them before. My thought was rather than another trout fishery let's manage the pond to be a trophy largemouth pond. So I could have more of an awesome opportunity to catch nice largemouth closer to home. But, being that I mainly target trout, making it a bass or trout fishery wouldn't hurt my feelings.
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Re: [PBH] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
For what it's worth, lines 48-50 do say be it resolved to restore cutts to Utah lake. Along with Junies
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Re: [T-DOG91] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
T-DOG91 wrote:
For what it's worth, lines 48-50 do say be it resolved to restore cutts to Utah lake. Along with Junies

Yep. Native fish. Shouldn't it be that way? Improve and restore habitat to encourage native species and plants to re-establish. Like i said: fix the habitat and then manage for the appropriate species.



I couldn't help it. It just popped in there.
Dr. Raymond Stantz

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Re: [PBH] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
Not trying to ruffle to many feathers, but is specifies bonneville cutthroat. So your first post would be incorrect based on that. It specifically calls to restore to a trout fishery in lines 48-50. You are correct about the native part.
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Re: [TubeDude] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
TubeDude wrote:
I got to thinking about your mention of early explorers seeing native Americans catching and processing "carp". You surmised that they were probably mistaken in their species ID and that the fish were likely "pikeminnows". I suspect they were more likely suckers or redhorse. Many native Americans harvested suckers as they made their annual spawning runs upstream from lakes...as they used to do in Utah Lake. And their puckery lips could have easily been mistaken for carp mouths. But just my guess.


I was recently reading an account of the Hole in the Rock pioneer expedition. In it, there is an account of members of the advance party catching 7-10 lb fish they called "white salmon". Obviously, salmon weren't in the Colorado river in 1879 and these fish were in reality pikeminnows or suckers. Modern readers probably shouldn't expect a high level of accuracy in fish ID from explorers and pioneers of that era. It does make for interesting reading however.

Nevertheless, large trout in UL during pioneer times is a verified fact as discussed by others and they even persisted into the 1930's.





I caught you a delicious bass.
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Re: [doggonefishin] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
Yeah, verily. Sometimes we have to avoid taking fish identification by early explorers too seriously. A good example is the attached dissertation on the "lake trout" of Utah Lake...written in the late 1800s by a surveyor working in the area.

"Mormon macks"?

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