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UTAH LAKE:  Native Fish Community
         
 
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Native Fish Communtiy
 
Nonnative Fish Community
 
Water Management
 
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Other Threatened Utah Lake Basin Species
 
Shallow Lake Ecology




 
>   These drawings illustrate the thirteen native fish species that originally inhabited Utah Lake. Only the June sucker and the Utah sucker are still present.

Courtesy of Joe Tomelleri.

[Click to enlarge image]

When the state of Utah was still in its infancy there were millions of fish in Utah Lake. In fact, eating fish was the only way many people survived. Settlers and Ute Indians fished every available body of water, including the Provo, American Fork, Jordan and Spanish Fork rivers and Utah Lake. But the locals weren't the only ones to cast their nets and lines. Word spread about the lake's generous offering of fish, and fishermen from neighboring valleys descended upon the area. There are stories of being able to pluck tasty trout or sucker out of the water with bare hands, or catch all they wanted by simply dragging unbaited hooks through the water.

There were thirteen native fish species that originally inhabited Utah Lake. Only the June sucker and the Utah sucker are still present. One species, the Utah Lake sculpin is considered extinct with the last specimen collected in 1928. The Bonneville cutthroat trout are primarily restricted to headwater streams. The least chub, native only to Utah and once abundant along the Wasatch Front, persists only in a small population in north Juab Valley and a few areas of the West Desert. The Bonneville redside shiner, mottled sculpin, leatherside chub, Utah chub, speckled dace, longnose dace, mountain whitefish and mountain sucker are no longer in the lake, but still exist in tributaries. All other species of fish present in Utah Lake were introduced intentionally as a food source or for recreational angling and compete with or prey upon the native fish.