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Utah Eases Regulations on Terminal...

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Utah Eases Regulations on Terminal Tackle, Bow-Fishing
SALT LAKE CITY - Starting Jan. 1, you can have up to three hooks on your fishing line. And if you'd like to bow fish for common carp at night, you can.

Those changes are among several fishing changes members of the Utah Wildlife Board approved for 2013.

The recommendations Division of Wildlife Resources biologists presented to the board on Nov. 1 were influenced heavily by ideas biologists received from more than 1,300 anglers who took an online survey at the DWR's website last spring.

All of the changes the board approved will be available in the 2013 Utah Fishing Guidebook. The guidebook should be available at wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks sometime in early December.

More hooks, bow fishing at night

The following are among the fishing changes in Utah that board members approved for 2013:

This year, Joes Valley Reservoir in east-central Utah is closed to fishing from now until 6 a.m. on Dec. 8. However, in 2013, the fall closure will be lifted, and you'll be allowed to fish at the reservoir year-round.

Starting Jan. 1, you can have up to three hooks on your fishing line.

Currently, Lake Powell and Flaming Gorge are the only waters in Utah at which you can use up to three hooks.

Drew Cushing, warm water sport fisheries coordinator for the DWR, thinks walleye, bass and fly anglers are among those who will be excited about the change.

"Some of the more experienced fly anglers are using a rig that consists of a large fly with nymph 'trailers' attached to it," Cushing says. "Allowing them to fish two trailers, instead of one, will give them a better chance to catch fish."

Cushing says bass anglers are starting to use umbrella rigs. An umbrella rig consists of two or more lures that are attached together. As the rig is pulled through the water, it imitates a small school of fish swimming together.

"Just like fly anglers," Cushing says, "allowing bass and walleye anglers to use three hooks will give them a better chance to catch fish."

Umbrella rigs often include more than three lures. Please remember that only three of the lures in your rig can have hooks on them. "Even with hooks on only three of the lures," Cushing says, "your rig will still be very effective."

Umbrella rigs and worm harnesses are currently sold in Utah, but they're not legal to use in the state if they have more than two hooks. "Starting Jan. 1," Cushing says, "it will be legal to use umbrella rigs and worm harnesses that have up to three hooks."

Starting Jan. 1, you can use a bow and arrow to fish for common carp in shallow water at night.

Currently, bow fishing for common carp in Utah is allowed only during the day.

Cushing says anything that can legally be done to remove carp is a good thing. "Carp populations grow quick," he says, "and they'll eat anything, so they compete for food with all of the other fish in the water."

Also, carp grow fast - they don't stay small long enough to provide adequate forage for other fish. "And that isn't all," Cushing says. "Carp stir up the mud on the bottom of the waters they're in. They also feed on and damage aquatic plants. The mud they stir up prevents sunlight from reaching the plants. The damaged plants can't repair themselves, and new plants can't grow."

Cushing says 1,367 anglers responded to a survey that was available on the DWR's website from mid May to mid June.

Because of how the survey was conducted (for example, it was offered online to anyone who wanted to take it), Cushing says the survey isn't statistically valid, and it doesn't represent every angler in Utah. But he's still excited about the number of anglers who responded to the survey and the ideas they shared.

"We're excited to get this kind of response from anglers," he says. "We're happy that they have an effective way to share their ideas with us."