Regional Offices > Laramie Region > Laramie Region News > Public invited to learn about Saratoga Lake treatment June 9

Public invited to learn about Saratoga Lake treatment June 9

May 27, 2022
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Laramie - The Wyoming Game and Fish Department will hold an informational meeting about plans to address illegally-stocked yellow perch in Saratoga Lake. The public meeting is planned for 6 p.m. June 9 at the Platte Valley Community Center, 210 W. Elm St. in Saratoga. 

Game and Fish Laramie Region fisheries managers will discuss the history of Saratoga Lake management. Game and Fish will also discuss the plan to kill all of the fish in Saratoga Lake using rotenone in September. The public will also learn about the reasons why a rotenone project is a necessary management action  as well as how it will give fisheries managers an opportunity to rebuild and improve the Saratoga Lake fishery.

The presence of yellow perch in Saratoga Lake also poses a risk to the North Platte River drainage. The fish are likely to disperse downstream to other waters in the watershed – including Seminoe, Pathfinder, Alcova and Gray Reef reservoirs and the Sweetwater and Medicine Bow rivers – where they could damage the sport fisheries and native fish species.

“One of the main reasons we are treating Saratoga Lake is because of the risk of spread throughout one of our major river drainages. We can’t take the risk for the good of the entire State of Wyoming and we need to do all we can to stop the fish from dispersing,” said Alan Osterland, Game and Fish chief of fisheries. 

Rotenone is a natural product derived from the roots of certain members of the bean family from South America. It has been successfully used by fish managers for decades to remove undesirable fish species in many places. Rotenone works by disrupting oxygen uptake within the cells of gill-breathing organisms. This means that rotenone does not affect organisms without gills. While rotenone is lethal to fish, it is not harmful to humans, pets, other wildlife, or livestock.

“This public meeting is your opportunity to learn about the rotenone project and what to expect,” said Bobby Compton, fisheries supervisor in the Laramie Region. “We plan to update the public throughout the project as well and continue conversations about how we can rebuild Saratoga Lake.”

To prepare for the treatment, water levels at Saratoga Lake have been lowered.  There are no plans to drain the lake completely.   

“The lake will continue to lose water through evaporation throughout the summer, which will allow the rotenone to be more effective,” Compton said. “The inflow and outflow of the lake have already been turned off.”

Due to lower lake levels, people should expect different conditions at Saratoga Lake such as boating challenges and muddy shorelines as a result of lower lake levels. Algal blooms could be prolonged and more intense. 

Fisheries biologists first discovered yellow perch in Saratoga Lake during routine sampling in 2021. The lake is managed as a trout fishery. Game and Fish has not stocked yellow perch anywhere in Wyoming for many years. 

“In this part of the country, perch tend to become extremely abundant in small and medium sized standing waters because females mature and produce eggs at sizes as small as 3-to-4 inches, and most fish never reach a size desirable to anglers,” Compton said. 

Anglers can help Game and Fish by harvesting as many yellow perch from Saratoga Lake as they are legally allowed, including fish that are smaller than they might normally choose to keep. All kept fish  should be cleaned, not wasted. The statewide regulation of 50 yellow perch in the creel and possession is currently in place. 

Anglers are reminded it is illegal to move live fish from one body of water into another in Wyoming. Penalties for illegally stocking fish could be up to $10,000.

To learn more about this rotenone treatment, a special webpage has been set up. The website will be updated throughout the project.

The State of Wyoming supports the Americans with Disabilities Act. Anyone needing auxiliary aids should contact the Wyoming Game and Fish Department at 307-777-4501. Every effort will be made for reasonable accommodations.

- WGFD -

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