Anglers in Wyoming encouraged to catch lake trout that are threatening kokanee at Flaming Gorge
CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Game and Fish Department said on September 30 that it is encouraging anglers to harvest some of the high numbers of small lake trout at Flaming Gorge Reservoir this fall.
The high numbers of the small adult lake trout at Flaming Gorge are a concern for fisheries managers, with the predators threatening the number of young kokanee.
“Whether you are a kokanee angler or a trophy lake trout angler, the future of your fishery depends on continued harvest of these small predators,” Game and Fish said. “Flaming Gorge offers the opportunity to fill the freezer with smaller lake trout (those under 28 inches) and with liberal limits of 12 per day and 24 in possession, there is potential for taking home a lot of tasty trout.”
The department said that October is a good time for anglers to target small lake trout, also known as “pups.”
“In early October, the pups begin to stage in large groups in the deep (50 feet–80 feet) water adjacent to their preferred spawning locations,” Game and Fish Green River Region Fisheries Supervisor Robb Keith said. “Small adult lake trout spawn over large gravels/cobble on shallow underwater humps, ridges and rock slides.”
“Rock slides are typically associated with large and small cliffs and steep hillsides. Between October 10 and October 25, they can be found at depths of 1-25 feet, in and adjacent to their preferred spawning substrate.”
The department offered the following tips to help anglers catch small lake trout at Flaming Gorge:
- Spawning activity in Flaming Gorge is typically observed south of Big Bend.
- In early October, while the lake trout are still deep:
- Vertical jigging grubs, tubes, and spoons — use light-colored lures that glow or earth-toned lures
- Trolling lures through these habitats is also very effective in early October; you’ll want to keep the lures close to the bottom, where the lake trout are staging
- Tip hooks with a small piece of sucker meat, about the size of a dime
- Mid to late October: Fish shallow water habitats (1-25 feet deep) from either a boat or from shore. During the spawn, lake trout can be found at the water’s edge in 1-2 feet of water
- Cast 1/8 to 3/8 ounce jigs to shore — white grub and tube jigs are really productive
- Retrieve the jig erratically at slow to medium speeds close to the bottom
- If you prefer trolling, use longline spinners, spoons and crank baits behind your boat and parallel to shore in 15-20 feet of water. You can safely get your lures shallower by dragging them behind side planners
- A small piece of sucker meat on the hook can help
- Snags are common if you are fishing the right habitats
Game and Fish said that small adult lake trout can be prepared in a number of ways, including smoking, grilling, frying and canning.
“If you try canning them, throw a few slices of jalapeños in the jar with the fish before canning,” Game and Fish suggested.
“For more information including catching, cooking and management of small adult lake trout, look at previous issues of the Green River Regional Angler Newsletter or visit the Flaming Gorge Management page of the department website,” the department said.