Game and Fish Casper fisheries supervisor retires after 39 years

Casper Region Fisheries Supervisor, Al Conder, is retiring after 39 years with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

12/5/2016 1:12:56 PM

Casper - Casper Region Fisheries Supervisor, Al Conder, is retiring after 39 years with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Lauded by colleagues and partners for his collaborative nature and passion, his leadership in the Casper region will be missed.  

In 1977, Conder began his career as a fish culturist at the Speas Rearing Station near Casper. After two short years, he was promoted to a special projects fish biologist and relocated to Cheyenne, specializing in the development of instream flow methodologies.
It wasn’t long before Conder returned to Casper as fisheries biologist for the Casper fisheries crew in 1986. In this capacity, Conder helped lead the coded-wire tag investigations for sport fisheries from Seminoe Reservoir to the North Platte River below Casper, one of the largest applied research projects in Game and Fish history. The results of that project continue to inform stocking decisions in the upper North Platte system.
One of the most notable achievements of his career, along with former Casper supervisor, Bill Wichers, and the Bureau of Reclamation, was perfecting channel maintenance flows below Gray Reef Dam--known as flushing flows to clear sediment.
“Al’s work on determining the flows allowed for insects, improved spawning habitat and young fish to grow, ultimately resulting in a world-class trophy trout fishery,” said Mark Fowden, Game and Fish chief of the fish division. “It was defining work benefiting anglers and the Casper economy.”
Beginning in June of 1996, Conder began serving as Casper fisheries supervisor. He became known for artfully managing the balancing act of providing both trout and walleye angling in the upper North Platte reservoirs. To that end he skillfully adjusted trout stocking size and numbers to continue to provide quality trout fishing in reservoirs with growing populations of hungry walleye.
Conder also spearheaded the state’s first major effort to eradicate an aquatic invasive species. Beginning in 2006, he led an eight year battle to remove an illegally introduced population of rusty crayfish in Wagonhound Creek, staving the spread of this species throughout the lower Platte River watershed.  
As an active collaborator, he’s been a leader on a ten-year, 20-million dollar North Platte River Restoration Project. Jolene Martinez with the City of Casper said, “Al has been one of the pillars of this project. He knows how to get things done and works well with incredibly diverse groups of people. He has an admirable intellect and expansive knowledge of the fishery.”
At Game and Fish, ability to mentor young biologists will be remembered well. He has also been involved in ensuring success of the Outdoor Hunting and Fishing Heritage Expo for 15 years.  
Conder, when asked about his time at Game and Fish said, “I work with a bunch of folks who are extremely dedicated, and that makes my work very fulfilling. We are recognized for what we do in terms of providing fisheries. But one of the best parts of the job is going to kid’s fishing day, seeing a kid catch a fish and turning to you with a smile. You are a part of making that happen, and it’s pretty amazing.”

(Wyoming Game and Fish (307) 777-4600)

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