Northern pike proving to be a pesky problem at Yuba Reservoir in central Utah

(Mike Slater, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources) Fertile northern pike are among the reasons fishing for walleye and yellow perch has declined drastically at Yuba Reservoir.

There is good and bad news for anglers who enjoy fishing Yuba Reservoir.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has called off plans to treat the big central Utah reservoir with rotenone to eliminate northern pike, which have migrated into Yuba from upstream sources. Low water levels have also prevented perch and walleye from successfully spawning. Those that survive are being eaten by the pike.

A $500,000 treatment was considered, but the 28-person Yuba Reservoir Working Group that put together a draft management plan in 2013 is looking at other options.

The problem?

Biologists aren’t sure they can ever keep pike from coming into the reservoir.

“We can’t invest that kind of money and effort without considering all of the challenges the reservoir faces,” said Chris Crockett, the DWR’s regional aquatic manager for central Utah. “We need to make sure we explore all of our options. Whatever we do needs to work.”

The original plan was to remove all the fish in the reservoir and then restock it to bring the fishery back. But there are just too many variables.

“During surveys,” said Crockett, “we discovered that northern pike are more widespread in the Sevier River system, which flows into Yuba, than was previously known. They’re established throughout the Sevier River system and are commonly caught at DMAD Reservoir near Delta.”

(Mike Slater, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources) This photo shows Yuba when it's filled with water in early spring. Unfortunately, the water level at the popular reservoir drops rapidly in the spring and summer.