GREEN RIVER — Halfway through the ice fishing season on Flaming Gorge Reservoir, the ice continues to grow and the fish are still biting.
It’s a good time to get to the Gorge, as there are sections of the reservoir that haven’t seen ice in years.
“We encourage anglers to take advantage of the new ice and target small lake trout and loach; please harvest these fish when you catch them,” said Robb Keith, Green River fisheries supervisor for the Wyoming Department of Game and Fish. “Fishermen’s harvest of these two species will help reduce their impacts on populations of kokanee, trout and smallmouth bass.”
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The WGFD, in partnership with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, is conducting creel surveys this winter that will continue through the spring and summer. This reservoir-wide survey is carried out every ten years.
The information collected helps biologists better understand angler demographics, target species, catch rates, and bycatch rates. The department will collect this information at creel checkpoints along the road.
Anglers who have been fishing in the Gorge should stop at open checkpoints when they encounter them. The interview process will only take a few minutes and we will also take the opportunity to check any lake trout caught for orange external tags.
Fishery managers are also working on a project to generate a population estimate of lake trout under 28 inches in length. This fall fisheries managers began tagging small lake trout to help with this population estimate.
In January, anglers returned 12 lake trout tags, including 3 tags that resulted in a $50 reward for the anglers who turned them in.
The reservoir has had fishable ice since early December and conditions continue to accumulate ice on the reservoir to a greater extent than has been seen in recent winters.
“There should be at least a month and a half of ice fishing opportunities going forward, but only Mother Nature knows for sure.” Keith said.
Along with the cold temperatures, there has also been a significant amount of snow, which can cause drifting road closures. Anglers should always consider weather as a routine part of planning their fishing trips.
Access roads to Flaming Gorge are not maintained during the winter. It is important to be prepared for adverse road conditions even when the weather is clear and sunny.
Similar to the roads, ice conditions are constantly changing, anglers must remain vigilant and prioritize safety for the duration of their fishing trip.