Utah’s water bodies showcased exceptional fishing conditions in 2023, and the state’s anglers made waves by etching their names into the century-old fishing record book. The year witnessed the establishment of two new catch-and-release records and three spearfishing records, elevating the fishing scene in the region.
- Clint Thurgood’s Bonneville Cutthroat Trout: On June 21, Clint Thurgood triumphantly caught and released a 25 ⅝-inch Bonneville cutthroat trout at the outlet below Lost Creek Reservoir. This feat surpassed the previous record of 25¼ inches set on April 18, 2022, at Lost Creek Reservoir.
- Trevor Houston’s Black Bullhead: Trevor Houston secured a catch-and-release record with a 16 ½-inch black bullhead at Gunlock Reservoir on June 30, outdoing the prior record of 16 inches set at Quail Creek Reservoir on July 19, 2022.
- Shelby Peterson’s Striped Bass: Setting a new benchmark, Shelby Peterson speared a 24-pound, 6-ounce striped bass at Lake Powell on May 19. This achievement shattered the previous record of 6 pounds and 3 ounces, caught at Lake Powell in 2022.
- Max Mader’s Arctic Grayling: Max Mader claimed a spearfishing record with a 2-ounce arctic grayling at Sand Lake, with the exact date unspecified. This achievement marked a new record for this species.
- Steven Gottfredson’s Yellow Perch: Steven Gottfredson secured a spearfishing record with a 15-ounce yellow perch at Deer Creek Reservoir on Nov. 1, surpassing the previous record of a 13-ounce fish caught at Starvation Reservoir in 2011.
Utah, with a rich history of tracking fishing records since the early 20th century, now boasts 34 catch-and-keep, 38 catch-and-release, 22 spearfishing records, as well as six setline and three archery records.
Trina Hedrick, the sport fish coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, emphasized that these records not only celebrate accomplishments but also serve as inspiration for more fishing endeavors. She encouraged anglers to explore Utah’s scenic outdoors, highlighting the thrill of setting a record.
Anglers aspiring to enter the record books are reminded to carry essential equipment, including a camera or phone for photographing the fish, along with tools for accurate measurement. The submission process for catch-and-release and catch-and-keep records involves specific application forms, photographic evidence, and witnessing protocols outlined by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.