Biologists and volunteers collect data on fish population at Strawberry Reservoir

STRAWBERRY RESERVOIR, Utah -- Hundreds of fish were pulled from the Strawberry Reservoir Thursday, so fishery biologists could check on how the population is doing.

Rolling out their nets full of cutthroat and Utah chubs, Strawberry Fishery Biologist Alan Ward said he’s checking to see how many of them get eaten, what sizes of fish large predators are targeting, and how successful stocking the reservoir has been overall.

“We’ve actually seen a little bit better survival in our stock fish this year,” Ward said. “We have a good outlook on the future of what things are going to be up here.”

Ward said 13 to 14 volunteers helped with unloading the nets on Thursday. Once they are unloaded, Ward and his workers measure, weigh and slice open the fish to collect their research data.

“On one of these typical netting events we usually catch 500 to 600 in a day,” Ward said. “The more fish that we catch, the more validity that we have in our data.”

After the research is in, some of the fish are cleaned and donated to the local food bank. The others are buried out by the highway near Strawberry Reservoir.

Though the population seems to be doing better than in previous years, Ward said the free cutthroat trout viewing event planned for Saturday was cancelled due to the low water levels and the cutthroat spawning early.