Regional Offices > Sheridan Region > Sheridan Region News > LAK Reservoir closing to watercraft Aug. 1, 2022

LAK Reservoir closing to watercraft Aug. 1, 2022

July 27, 2022
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Sheridan -

Due to the recent discovery of invasive zebra mussels in Pactola Reservoir in South Dakota’s Black Hills, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, in consultation with True Ranches, is closing LAK Reservoir east of Newcastle, Wyo. to all motorized and nonmotorized watercraft for the remainder of 2022. The closure takes effect at 8 a.m. Aug. 1.

At this time, the reservoir will remain open to anglers for shore and ice fishing.

Public access to the privately-owned LAK Reservoir for fishing and boating is provided through an access agreement between True Ranches and Game and Fish. The reservoir is approximately 122 surface acres fed by Stockade Beaver Creek. LAK is a popular fishery offering anglers the opportunity to catch walleye, smallmouth bass, tiger musky and other warm water species. The reservoir also serves as the irrigation reservoir for True Ranches properties. 

“South Dakota’s recent discovery of zebra mussels in Pactola significantly increased the threat of aquatic invasive species to Wyoming’s waters,” said Sheridan Region Fisheries Supervisor Paul Mavrakis. “True Ranches has generously allowed anglers and boaters access to their privately-owned reservoir for many years. However, this new development requires us to respond quickly to protect the reservoir and Wyoming from a possible zebra mussel introduction.”

It is just a 62-mile road trip between the two reservoirs and mussels can spread easily from just a little water left standing inside a watercraft, even in their microscopic state. Adult mussels spread easily as they can attach to hard surfaces and live up to 30 days out of the water. 

“If zebra mussels were to get introduced and become established, they will likely reproduce exponentially, negatively affecting the fishery and could damage the water infrastructure the ranch relies on to irrigate,” said Sheridan Region AIS Specialist Reed Moore. “In the coming months, we will work with True Ranches to evaluate options for 2023 to mitigate the AIS threat to the reservoir and other waters in northeast Wyoming.”

LAK Reservoir is not the only Wyoming water now facing the threat of accidental AIS introduction, but it is in an area that does not have an AIS check station in the vicinity to inspect or decontaminate watercraft. It is important that all boaters and anglers take steps to prevent accidentally moving zebra mussels or other invasive species. Cleaning, draining and drying watercraft and equipment between waters is the most effective way to prevent moving AIS to new locations.


- WGFD -

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