Fishing Derbies Aim to Reduce Small Lake Trout on Flaming Gorge

The new fishing derby was established to help reduce the number of small lake trout in the Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

SWEETWATER COUNTY — Wyoming Game and Fish and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources continue management efforts to reduce numbers of small lake trout or “pups” at Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

High numbers of pups in Flaming Gorge mean increased predation on small trout and salmon, according to a statement from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

While pups feed opportunistically on these smaller fish, the high numbers of lake trout are having an impact on their populations. Particularly concerning is the impact that pups can have on the kokanee salmon, the WGFD said.

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To the dismay of the anglers, populations of small lake trout in other Western fisheries have devastated kokanee fisheries by consuming vast amounts of small, juvenile kokanee. This is exactly what managers are trying to avoid on Flaming Gorge, according to the department.

“There is currently an abundance of small lake trout less than 24 inches in Flaming Gorge and they need to be thinned for the health of the whole fishery.”

Robb Keith, Green River Fisheries Supervisor.

With the impacts of small lake trout in mind, anglers have a new ice fishing derby to participate in this year. Buckboard Marina invites anglers to assist in the targeted removal of small lake trout from Flaming Gorge Reservoir, by hosting the “Pupulation Domination Contest” on Feb 12-13.

This is a total pound contest, where the teams with the heaviest average weight of lake trout win less than 25 inches. Lake trout 25 inches or longer will be disqualified from the contest.

Teams can consist of 2-4 anglers, and the average weight will be determined by dividing the total pounds of lake trout entered by the number of team members. The top 5 teams will be paid out, with first place taking home 40% of the entry fees.

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