Annual Fishing Closures to Commence for Flaming Gorge Reservoir and Green River Region

Annual Fishing Closures to Commence for Flaming Gorge Reservoir and Green River Region

Wyoming Game and Fish photo

GREEN RIVER — The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has implemented annual fishing closures in Flaming Gorge Reservoir and the Green River below Fontenelle Dam to protect fish habits.

To ensure the sustainability of the diverse aquatic ecosystems, the annual fishing closures have gone into effect to protect spawning kokanee salmon and other species. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department reminds all anglers to respect these closures and regulations to ensure the long-term health of the fisheries in the Green River Region.

Shoreline spawning kokanee are crucial for maintaining and recovering the kokanee population in Flaming Gorge Reservoir. Research indicates that they constitute a significant portion of the kokanee population, ranging from 50-80 percent depending on the year. A combination of good natural recruitment, maintaining stocking rates, and reducing predation is essential for improving the kokanee fishery.

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“While it’s not illegal to fish for kokanee during the fall, anglers are required to release them immediately. Kokanee put all their energy into spawning and die soon after, so they should not have to endure additional stress if it can be avoided,” John Walrath, Green River Fisheries Biologist, said.

Anglers are encouraged to target other species this fall, such as lake trout, allowing kokanee to spawn without added stressors. Small lake trout (<23 inches) will start staging for spawn in September, positioning themselves within 40-70 feet of water near spawning areas. In October, they will move to shorelines within 5-35 feet of water. These small lake trout typically range from 16-23 inches in size and can be anywhere from 7 to 20 years old. Recent research has shown that they make up a significant portion of the lake trout fishery and may consume 15-33 percent of their annual diet in kokanee, which can impact kokanee recruitment to the fishery.

Flaming Gorge Reservoir Fishing Closures:

September 10 – November 30: All kokanee shall be released to the water immediately. This closure aims to protect shoreline kokanee spawning, which is a vital component of the kokanee population in FGR, constituting 50-80 percent of the population.

October 15 – Second Saturday in December: Linwood Bay is closed to nighttime angling. This regulation, mandated by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, is in place to protect spawning trophy lake trout and encourage boater safety.

Fishing Closure on the Green River:

October 1 – December 31: The Green River from Fontenelle Dam downstream approximately one mile to the U.S. Geological gauge station (cable crossing) at the Weeping Rocks campground is closed to fishing.

For more information about these fishing closures and regulations, please visit the Flaming Gorge Management page or contact the Green River regional office at 307-875-3223.