GREEN RIVER — Fisheries managers from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department continue to be concerned about the number of lake trout pups in Flaming Gorge Reservoir.
Despite increased creel limits on lake trout under 28 inches, there continues to be an abundance of these small fish in the reservoir.
Fisheries managers from Game and Fish and Utah Department of Wildlife Resources began efforts to tag 1,000 lake trout this fall In order to get a more accurate population estimate. 200 of these tags are eligible for a monetary award of $50. Anglers that catch a tagged fish should call the number on the tag to verify whether or not it is a prize winning tag, all anglers who report a tagged fish will receive a letter explaining when and where the fish was caught and tagged, and if the tag was a prize tag. If eligible, the angler will also receive a check for $50 shortly after receiving their letter.
While the population estimate is underway, the Game and Fish will also be conducting a creel survey from January through August of 2023. Anglers can expect to see WGFD check stations along the highway in the winter and at boat ramps during the summer months. As with other Game and Fish check stations, all anglers are legally required to stop.
“Creels are our best way to interact with the public to get a pulse on what they like and how they are using the resources while recreating.” said John Walrath, Green River fisheries biologist. “We collect information about what fish anglers are catching, how long anglers fish, levels of satisfaction and how often they are recreating at the Gorge.”
Anglers can help fisheries managers by targeting small lake trout in their fishing activities. There is another money making opportunity to be had at the third annual Mac Attack Fishing Derby, sponsored by Buckboard Marina.
The Mac Attack Derby will be held Jan. 14-15, 2023. Anglers can register online through midnight January 12 or by 5 p.m. or on January 13 in person at Buckboard Marina.
Early season cold weather has ice conditions on Flaming Gorge shaping up to be the best they have been for several years.
“Small lake trout are very active under the ice, especially new ice. This could be an exceptional year to target and harvest small lake trout.” said Robb Keith, Green River fisheries supervisor. “We recommend anglers take advantage of this angling opportunity and harvest as many small lake trout as they can within their legal limit and possession. Every lake trout less than 25 inches that is harvested will help the kokanee population. The juvenile kokanee population will have improved chances of survival and an increased growth rate.”
Tips on catching and cooking small lake trout can be found here.