Warm Up Your Smoker for Abundant Flaming Gorge Lake Trout

Warm Up Your Smoker for Abundant Flaming Gorge Lake Trout

A nice limit of lake trout flanked by a rainbow trout and a burbot.

GREEN RIVER — It has been cold in southwest Wyoming and ice on Flaming Gorge Reservoir has reached areas where small lake trout are abundant.

Fisheries managers with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department encourage anglers to target the abundant lake trout less than 28 inches and take advantage of liberal limits.

“Beginning January 1, 2019, the creel limit on lake trout in Flaming Gorge Reservoir will increase to 12 fish per day, 24 in possession, only one Lake Trout in possession over 28 inches,” said Robert Keith, Game and Fish Green River Fisheries Supervisor.

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“Fisheries managers have increased the daily limit and are allowing a two-day possession because of the over abundance of small lake trout (especially on the Wyoming side of the Gorge) and concerns not only with competition between lake trout, but also concerns with predation on other sport fish such as kokanee salmon and trout,” Keith added.

Management of Flaming Gorge Reservoir has focused mainly on kokanee salmon, rainbow trout and trophy lake trout.  “The abundance of lake trout less than 28 inches continues to increase,” said John Walrath, Game and Fish Green River Fisheries Biologist.  “Growth rates for Lake Trout less than 28 inches are slowing as they compete with each other for limited food resources.”

The proposed regulation is intended to highlight the abundance of small lake trout and encourage harvest of these fish by anglers.  Fisheries managers are also concerned with the number of juvenile kokanee salmon and rainbow trout that lake trout less than 28 inches eat.

“Anglers are the most important tool we have for controlling the numbers of small lake trout,” said Walrath. “By thinning the small lake trout, anglers are helping to ensure healthy populations of kokanee and trophy lake trout well into the future.”

Mmmm…Lake Trout!

Small lake trout are delicious and provide substantial fillets when you consider the liberal limit on fish <28-inches.  They are good baked, broiled, grilled, smoked and canned.

Lake trout can be located in 45 to 75 foot of water on slopes, humps, ridges and flats adjacent to deep water.

Jigs and spoons ranging from 2 to 4 inches attached to low stretch lines like braid and fluorocarbon (8-10 lb) in combination with a medium action rod works wells. Lures that glow work the best.

The lures, tipped with a small piece of sucker meat, should be jigged just off the bottom.

Reciprocal Fishing Stamps

Also new in 2019 for a reciprocal fishing stamp: Flaming Gorge Reservoir is an interstate water with a Reciprocal Agreement between Wyoming Game and Fish and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources to benefit resident anglers from those states.

If you have a resident fishing license from either Utah or Wyoming, you may purchase a reciprocal stamp from the partnering state at a regional office, licensing agent, or even online.

Anglers coming from outside of Utah or Wyoming may not purchase a reciprocal stamp, and therefore must purchase a license for the state(s) they are going to fish. Starting January 1, 2019 the Wyoming reciprocity stamp will cost $30 and the Utah reciprocity stamp will cost $10.

Fishing Tips

Anglers can learn more about why biologists are concerned about the abundance of small lake trout and find tips on how to catch them by viewing the WGFD Flaming Gorge webpage at https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Regional- Offices/Green-River-Region/ Flaming-Gorge-Management.

Anglers can acquire a copy of the Wyoming Fishing Regulations at any Game and Fish regional office, most license selling vendors, or at wgfd.wyo.gov.

For questions and or more information call the Game and Fish Green River Regional Office at 307-875-3223.