$450k to be allocated toward improving some of Utah’s Blue Ribbon Fisheries

UTAH — Blue Ribbon Fisheries are the cream of the crop of places to fish in Utah. Their notoriety for producing high-quality fishing experiences, in addition to exceptional habitats, is what makes the designation prestigious. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources announced that 17 projects aimed at enhancing these bodies of water would receive $450 thousand in funding to maintain their status as Blue Ribbon Fisheries. The work will be done through the 2023-24 fiscal year.

Utah currently has 43 waterbodies listed as Blue Ribbon Fisheries. In addition to those, the Uinta and Boulder mountains’ streams, rivers, and lakes also carry the designation. The Blue Ribbon Fisheries program dates back to 2001, when it was first created before being formally established in 2005.

“The program was created because Utah’s leaders recognized that fishing is one of the state’s most popular and economically valuable recreational activities,” said Randy Oplinger, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources sportfish coordinator. “There was a need to improve fisheries in Utah and to recognize the best angling opportunities in the state. This program helps fulfill both of those needs.”

To meet the criteria to become a Blue Ribbon Fishery, a body of water must only fulfill several requirements relating to fishing quality and recreation opportunities but also be selected and reviewed by the Blue Ribbon Fisheries Advisory Council, made up of 13 anglers appointed by the governor.

“These waters are among the best fishing spots in Utah. They have been proven to provide not only great fishing but also ideal habitat for the fish, economic benefits to the local communities, and an overall high-quality experience in the outdoors,” Oplinger said. “They offer high fishing success rates and usually have great amenities like boat ramps and fishing piers.”

The $450 thousand will be paired with funding from other partners, reaching a total of $1.3 million. Some of the major projects will be installing artificial fish habitat structures at Pineview Reservoir, stabilizing and decreasing erosion on the back of the Duchesne River near Hanna, and installing a new bathroom at Strawberry Reservoir.

Since 2012, $26.3 million has been toward Blue Ribbon Fisheries projects, funding 173 projects over the last decade.

An angler holding up a tiger muskie at caught at Pineview Reservoir. Courtesy of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
An angler holding up a tiger muskie caught at Pineview Reservoir. Courtesy of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.


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