Private fish pond permits
A guide to regulations and management for Utah landowners
A private fish pond includes any pond, reservoir or other body of water or a fish culture system that is on private land and is used to hold or rear fish for a private, noncommercial purpose.
Why are private fish ponds regulated?
Private fish ponds have been popular for decades. They provide fishing fun for kids and allow pond owners to create and manage their own personal fisheries.
Without regulation, however, these ponds could seriously harm wild fish populations in nearby rivers, streams and lakes. Private ponds can easily introduce nonnative species and devastating diseases to drainages. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources works with landowners to ensure that private pond stocking does not harm public fisheries.
You may also read the DWR's administrative rule governing private fish ponds in Utah.
What are the requirements?
A landowner can have a private fish pond if he or she meets the following basic requirements:
- Ensures the aquaculture product is delivered to the pond by a licensed aquaculture facility.
- Accepts only the exact species (including strain and reproductive ability) authorized for stocking in the pond.
- All private pond owners possessing a current Certificate of Registration (COR) within the guidelines of the previous private pond rule may operate within the stipulations of that COR until it naturally expires.
Private fish pond application
Where can I get fish for my pond?
You can purchase fish at one of several commercial fish hatcheries located in Utah and adjacent states. The hatcheries must be approved, disease-free facilities and must be licensed by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF). For more information on commercial fish growers that meet these criteria, contact the UDAF at 801-538-7029 or download the list of approved Utah fish growers, out-of-state growers and Utah brokers. (PDF)
Is there a list of approved Utah fish growers, out-of-state growers and Utah brokers?
Yes, you can download the list of approved Utah fish growers, out-of-state growers and Utah brokers. You must use the approved fish growers from the list to receive live aquaculture products in Utah. The approved fish grower will deliver directly to the site of the private pond. Note: If you need to use a broker or another delivery option, then you may need an import permit certificate of registration for private pond owners. For more information, call the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources at 801-538-4701. If you have any questions, contact the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food at 801-538-7046.
For more information, contact the nearest DWR regional office and ask for the regional aquatics manager.
Common pond management questions
The species of fish you should stock depends on your pond's size, depth and inflow. Trout rarely reproduce without flowing water, and they may not survive a hot summer if the pond is too shallow (less than 8 to 10 feet deep) or has no spring flow. Warmwater fish, such as bass and bluegill, will usually establish reproducing populations. A species that doesn't reproduce naturally might require periodic stocking but is generally easier to manage. By using sterile fish, you can protect native species and minimize the chance of introducing nonnative or hybrid populations to public waters.
Sterile fish (often sold as triploid fish) are fish that cannot reproduce. These fish are widely used by the DWR to prevent crossbreeding with native trout populations. Extensive research has proven that these fish grow as fast, fight as hard and live as long as fertile trout. Sterile fish are a valuable tool for managing fisheries in drainages with fragile populations of native fish. Many commercial growers now have sterile trout available for private fish ponds.
For general information on pond construction and management, visit this link from another state. Note: regulations in others states may vary from those in Utah.•Arkansas Farm Pond Management for Recreational Fishing
Certificates of Registration
If you plan to stock fish, you likely need a COR. The only exception is if you plan to purchase a sterile trout species and stock them into a properly screened pond that is not on a natural stream channel. See a map of the COR requirements for private ponds in Utah.
|A COR is required if||No COR is required if|
|You are purchasing a non-trout||You are purchasing a sterile trout for stocking into a screened pond that is not on a natural stream channel|
|Your pond is not screened||You are purchasing a fertile trout that will be stocked into areas identified on the map as allowing fertile trout if your pond is screened and not on a natural stream channel|
|Your pond is on a natural stream channel|
|You are purchasing a fertile trout that is being stocked within a sterile trout zone|