Flaming Gorge ice fishing: Plan ahead for a safe trip

Midway through ice fishing season at Flaming Gorge Reservoir ice continues to build and the fish are still biting. This is a great time to hit the Gorge as there are sections of the reservoir that have not seen ice in years. “We encourage anglers to take advantage of the new ice and target small lake trout and burbot; please harvest these fish when you catch them. Angler harvest of these two species will help reduce their impacts on the kokanee, trout and smallmouth bass populations.” said Robb Keith, Green River Fisheries Supervisor for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
The Department, in partnership with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, is conducting creel surveys this winter which will continue through the spring and summer. This reservoir wide survey is conducted every ten years. The information collected helps biologists to better understand angler demographics, species targeted, catch rates and harvest rates. The Department will collect this information at creel check stations along the highway. If you have been fishing and encounter an open check station, you must stop. The interview process will only take a few minutes and we will also use the opportunity to look over any caught lake trout for orange external tags. 
In addition to the creel survey, fisheries managers are working on a project which aims to generate an estimate of the lake trout population less than 28 inches in length. This fall fisheries managers began tagging small lake trout to help with this population estimate. In the month of 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 build ice on the reservoir to a greater extent than has been seen over the past few winters. “There should be at least one and a half months of ice fishing opportunity moving forward but only Mother Nature knows for sure.” said Keith. Along with cold temperatures, there has also been a significant amount of snow, which can cause roads to drift closed. Anglers should take all weather into consideration 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 should stay vigilant and prioritize safety throughout the duration of their fishing trip. 




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