GREEN RIVER — Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Green River fisheries biologists recently completed annual spring netting at Flaming Gorge Reservoir and are still concerned about the numbers of small lake trout in the reservoir.
For that reason, they are encouraging anglers to sign up for the Hell on Reels fishing derby sponsored by Buckboard Marina Jun. 11-12. The contest is a multi-species contest with several categories for lake trout less than twenty-five inches that will be fun and challenging for contestants to win.
“The overall catch rates of lake trout increased this spring by 25% compared to 2021, this is in part due to an increase in the number of lake trout over twenty-eight inches sampled this year,” according to fisheries biologist John Walrath. “The majority of small lake trout caught came from the northern end of the reservoir – north of Brinegar’s up to the confluence. The average size of lake trout caught increased by roughly four inches and overall the body conditions of trout caught had improved since 2021 as well.”
“Many of the lake trout sampled along the shoreline were predating heavily on newly stocked rainbow trout. Lake Trout accounted for 50% of all fish sampled in shoreline sets. In previous years lake trout accounted for a lower percentage because we caught more rainbow trout and Bear River cutthroat trout.” Walrath said.
Fisheries managers have been encouraging the harvest of small lake trout or pups for several years due to concerns about the abundance of small lake trout and the impacts the large number of small predators are having on wild and stocked salmon and stocked trout.
Fisheries Supervisor Robb Keith said “It’s well documented in fisheries across the west that lake trout smaller than 25 inches can consume a lot of juvenile trout and salmon, especially when their numbers get really high.” The abundance of small lake trout is the reason fisheries managers increased the bag limit and possession limits of small lake trout and continue to encourage participation in fishing derbies which encourage the targeting of small lake trout.