Ice fishers using two poles still need a special two-pole permit this winter, despite a proposed rule change by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
The Utah Wildlife board approved a license change in November that eliminated the need for the two-pole permit. Many ice fishers thought the rule change would take effect on Jan. 1, with the start of the new year.
But there is one more step: any change in license fees must also be approved by the Utah State Legislature.
“It has caused confusion because people heard of the changes before the legislature could vote on it,” said Mark Hadley, DWR public relations official.
The Utah Legislature begins its session on Jan. 27. If it approves the changes, they will likely take effect on July 1.
“It is up in the air if the changes will pass. We feel really good about the changes that we have suggested,” said Hadley.
If fishers decide to go out with two poles and not get the permit, there are consequences. Hadley said there is a fine involved, where officers would cite the individual with a misdemeanor and a judge would then determine the penalty.
BYU is close to many ice fishing areas. It is a unique pastime among students.
“It’s a one-of-a-kind date idea and a good bro activity,” said Logan Lewis, a junior from Detroit who is majoring in accounting. “I love how freakishly cold it can be out on the lake and how one-with-nature you are.”
Gatlan Huntington, ice-fisher and Provo resident, said there is an advantage to taking two poles while ice fishing.
“You can play around with the rods, putting one clear at the bottom and maybe having the other half-way up to see where the fish are swimming,” he said.
If students are looking for places to go, they will not have to look far.
“Utah lake has ice fishing, and Provo Canyon has great places to go,” Hadley said. “Strawberry Reservoir is one of the best trout fisheries in the nation. Remember that if you want to use two poles, to buy the two-pole permit.”
Any questions can be answered at the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office, at the DWR Salt Lake office at 801-538-4700, or at www.wildlife.utah.gov.