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Good Ice Fishing on Flaming Gorge

GREEN RIVER--Late season ice angling on Flaming Gorge Reservoir, that nationally renown fishery, remains good to excellent, especially for lake trout in the 18- to 24-inch-size class.

And Game and Fish Department Fisheries Biologist Bill Wengert says ice conditions remain excellent.

“Ice thickness varies from 18 to 20 inches in the Anvil Draw to Buckboard areas,” says Wengert. “Ice in the confluence area and north to Firehole in the Green River arm and Half-way Hollow in the Blacks Fork arm are in excess of 20 inches. There are some open holes in the ice in the Half-way Hollow area of the Blacks Fork Arm which are kept open by methane gas bubbling form rock formations in the bottom of the reservoir that ice anglers should be aware of.”

As the weather warms, ice along the shorelines of the reservoir will be the first to weaken, especially the south and west facing shorelines where the wind blows from the shoreline onto the ice.

“Angling, especially for small lake trout has been good to excellent, depending on the day in the area from the confluence south to Big Bend,” Wengert said. “Limits of small lake trout, 18 to 22 inches, have been coming out of this area. The best fishing is from daylight to about 11:30 a.m. After that he fishing slows, as the fish become less aggressive and even the numbers of fish seen on fish locators decreases.”

Wengert says fishing “structure”, areas where there are sharp drop-offs or some breaks in the bottom topography, has always been a key to finding and catching lake trout.

He said with the lower reservoir elevations in the Buckboard area, fishing structure for the smaller lake trout does not seem to be as much of a key to catching them as it has in the past. In fact, anglers seem to be doing better finding water depths ranging from 50 to 60 feet on relatively flat bottoms than worrying about finding structure.

He suggests using ¼ or 3/8 ounce marabou or tube jigs tipped with cut bait or dead minnows.

There is now a six fish limit for lake trout, but only one of the lake trout may be 28 inches or larger. Because of the minimum size regulation on lake trout, lake trout cannot be filleted and transported home. The head and tail must remain in tact on the fish while in transit from the reservoir to your home. Also, the possession of a gaff is not legal for landing fish on Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

“The numbers of small lake trout in the Buckboard area seems to be nearly at an all-time high,” he said. “Anglers can harvest these fish, knowing they are helping with the management of both lake trout and kokanee on the reservoir. It has been years since we have seen ice conditions on Flaming Gorge as seen this winter. Take advantage of the good ice angling this winter and help the fishery by catching and harvesting these small lake trout.”

-WGFD-

 

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