Newcastle Reservoir Utah Hybrids
Fishing: Bass hybrid could wipe out illegal golden shiners
Brett Prettyman Salt Lake tribune
It didn't take long for anglers in northern Utah to get addicted to the thrill of hooking into a wiper. Now state fisheries biologists want anglers in the south to feel the reel scream of the white bass/striped bass hybrid.
Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) officials have been seeking a way to control the illegal introduction of golden shiners in Newcastle Reservoir for a long time.
Newcastle, located about 25 miles west of Cedar City, has long been a rainbow trout fishery, but the shiners have been outcompeting Utah's favorite sport fish. Biologists tried smallmouth bass, but the smallies rarely cross paths with the shiners, which tend to stay in open water.
The trail to a solution eventually ended at Willard Bay.
Dale Hepworth, aquatics chief for the DWR's southern region, contacted biologists in the northern region with questions about wipers and reviewed literature on the hybrid fish.
"We discovered that Newcastle might be even better habitat for wipers than Willard," said aquatic biologist Chuck Chamberlain. "Willard is just a hair too warm because it is so shallow."
Because they prowl open water looking for a feast, wipers may be the solution to put a dent in the golden shiner population.
"You can stand above the reservoir and see the shiners holding in the middle of the lake," Chamberlain said. "We studied tiger musky and walleye as possible candidates, but wipers are better at matching the habitat and forage fish."
The southern region will present its plea for wipers to the Wildlife Board today and it seems likely that wipers will soon be swimming in Newcastle. The fish will be coming from the Wahweap Hatchery, Utah's only warmwater hatchery.
"We asked them to hold the fish until June when they are 1 1/2 inches long. We could get as many as 10,000," Chamberlain said.
Anglers won't see any wipers at Newcastle this year and not many in 2006, but they could be pushing 2 to 3 pounds by 2007. Biologists believe the sterile fish will grow to four pounds in three years, but could make it to seven pounds