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Fishing In Utah Increases During Pandemic

a hand holding a grey and green speckled Utah trout.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, people have been looking for socially distanced activities, which often means getting outdoors and one popular activity has been fishing. 

“Anglers don't like to be around each other when they're out fishing. People just realize that, you know, if I can't go to work, I can't go to school, I can go out and be in the outdoors, what's more safe place and that to avoid contracting Corona?” said Brett Prettyman, one of the organizers for the Utah Cutthroat Slam. 


The Cutthroat Slam is a challenge where anglers try to catch each of the four cutthroat trout subspecies found in Utah.


There’s been an uptick in the number of Cutthroat Slam registrations this year and Prettyman said it’s likely because of the coronavirus.


“So far this year, we have 638 Cutthroat Slam registrations,” he said. “The high point was the first year that we launched it in 2016. That was 672 registration. I feel fairly confident that we're going to pass that this year, which is really, really exciting.”


This sudden interest in fishing isn’t limited to the Cutthroat Slam.


“We've seen interest in fly fishing and fishing in general,” Prettyman said. “The short-term fishing licenses increased 20,000 from 2019. The season fishing license went from 175,000 to 241,000.”


Prettyman said with more people out fishing there is more damage that can be done to the environment. However, when anglers act responsibly, the increase in slam registrations can have longterm benefits.


“To participate in the Utah Cutthroat Slam, you need to register first and pay $20. $19 of that $20 goes right into cutthroat conservation projects in Utah,” Prettyman said. “It doesn't seem like a lot of money, but it's been a really big boon to our conservation efforts.”