Wednesday September 28, 2022


According to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, 319 wild animals have been killed illegally in Utah since Aug. 1. Over the same time period last year, that number was 92.

That surge in poaching has a simple explanation.

“People are catching, you know, sometimes up to five, six, seven, maybe even 10 times over the limit [of fish],” said DWR Operations Captain Chad Bettridge. “The bulk of these numbers are illegal fish. In fact, almost 80% of them.”

Bettridge said the uptick in overfishing has been especially common in community ponds that are regularly stocked with fish. According to 2022 fishing regulations, a two-fish limit is in place at all 52 community fishing areas in Utah.

Utah has seen record hunting and fishing license sales since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and community ponds are designed to get more people outdoors. According to the DWR, most Utahns live within a 30-minute drive of one.

“Most of these ponds are located in parks, so there is good access with parking areas and trails,” said DWR Sportfish Coordinator Randy Oplinger. “Many also have fishing piers and benches, making it an easy place to go fishing with kids.”

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