The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources may win a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The Strawberry Reservoir treatment project (in 1990) is likely the largest fish-killing project ever done. DWR officials held a press conference recently to announce that the treatment is officially on and contracts have been signed that should guarantee enough rotenone necessary to accomplish the gigantic task.

An army of some 240 people will work on the $3 million project this coming August for about a week, distributing nearly a million pounds of rotenone across the big reservoir. Rotenone will be mixed in large cement trucks and then slurried into 10 barges provided by the states of Utah and Wyoming and the Utah National Guard.

DWR officials expressed excitement at the prospect of finally getting Strawberry treated. The project has been discussed for four years. The unavailability of rotenone has been the problem in the past. The project will take about half of the world's annual supply of rotenone, most of which comes from Peru.

It was feared that Strawberry would grow so large in the last couple of years that it would be too big to treat. But the drought intervened and because of low water supplies the reservoir has remained within a treatable size.

The first shipment of rotenone is scheduled to arrive in Salt Lake City about the middle of March, said Charles Thompson, Central Region fisheries manager for the DWR. Treatment will take place in August, with tributary streams treated about Aug. 6. The reservoir will be restocked two months later, as soon as the rotenone is no longer toxic. Strawberry will reopen to fishing on Jan. 1, 1991, and fishing is expected to be excellent by the summer of 1992.

Fish stocked will include kokanee salmon, Bear Lake cutthroat and sterile rainbow. Until treatment, the trout limit on Strawberry has been doubled to 16 per day.

In the past Strawberry reservoir has attracted more trout anglers than any other Utah water. In addition, this reservoir has been the favorite fishing water among all Utah anglers.

Once the reservoir bounces back it will quickly regain its status as Utah's number one trout fishery.

Fishing should be absolutely incredible within just a year or two. In four or five years, trophy size cutthroat will once again be swimming in Strawberry Reservoir.

Jan. 1 — Complete digitization of the lake.

Jan. 9, 12, 16 and Feb. 6 — Train crews for mixing chemicals, lake application, stream application and safety.

March, 15 — Finalize treatment plans. Receive first shipment of rotenone.

April, 15 — All equipment received.

May 1-30 — Use Indian Creek and Strawberry River fish traps to collect and move spawning fish.

June 4 — Begin testing chemical distribution equipment.

July 1 — Test all boats.

July 15 — Chemical application crews begin training at reservoir and streams.

August 1 — All chemicals at mixing sites.

August 3 — National Guard moves equipment to reservoir. Strawberry tributaries close to fishing.

August 4 — Start stream treatment.

August 6 — Begin setting up mixing sites.

August 18-19 — Test run all equipment at all stations.

August 19 — Strawberry Reservoir closes to fishing (possibly a few days earlier).

August 20 — Start reservoir treatment.

August 27 — Final cleanup.

October 1 — Second stream treatment (18 days).

October 20 — Restock fish in Strawberry Reservoir.

Copyright Dave Webb, 2005