Posted 1-10-19, Wyoming Game & Fish (GREEN RIVER) – Green River Fisheries Biologists John Walrath (right) and Troy Laughlin (left) check fish caught at a previous derby on HWY 530 South.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department Green River Fisheries Biologist John Walrath invites everyone who plans to target burbot and/or lake trout at local reservoirs to attend a one-night, free ice fishing clinic. The clinic is being held on Thursday, January 17, at the Game and Fish office in Green River, 6 PM.

“The clinic will start with a short discussion on burbot and lake trout populations in local reservoirs, followed by sharing a variety of techniques, tips, and gear for targeting burbot and lake trout,” Walrath said. “Biologists will also highlight which habitats (locations) to fish to increase your success. At the end of the presentation, we would like to open it up for more discussion to learn how others are catching burbot and lake trout. So, if you have lake trout or burbot dialed-in and would like to share your technique, please attend this fishing clinic.”

Walrath says there will be examples of gear laid-out and rods set up for viewing. Staff from Sportsman’s Warehouse will be attending the clinic with a variety of gear they have available for purchase at their Rock Springs store.

The goal of the clinic is to help participants in the upcoming derbies on Fontenelle and Flaming Gorge reservoirs to do well.

“During the past three years, the Burbot Bash had over 600 participants, even when ice conditions were marginal,” Walrath said. “When the ice is good, anglers remove nearly 3,500 burbot over the two days, but roughly, 50% of the participants walk away catching fewer than ten, and 30% struggle to catch even one. On the other end of the spectrum, only about 10% of the participants are catching over 50 burbot. With any luck, clinic participants who struggled on previous trips will be able to more-than-double their catch, which would equate to a huge savings in sport fish.”

Lake trout have been a growing concern for the Game and Fish as the population of small lake trout continues to climb. As a result, starting January 1 the limit on lake trout increased to 12 per day and possession increased to 24, but anglers can still only possess one lake trout over 28 inches. “Anglers are the best management tool we have in our toolbox,” said Walrath. “We want to give those who are willing to target lake trout the ability to harvest more of them while small lake trout are over-populated and give those who travel to Flaming Gorge the ability to take up to 24 lake trout home after an extended stay.”

When there are many mouths to feed and a limited amount of resources to go around, growth rates decline and small lake trout become unable to achieve trophy size. Prior research has shown that small lake trout consume more kokanee salmon and rainbow trout than trophy lake trout because they are so much more abundant and have higher metabolisms, similar to teenagers. “We are relying on our anglers to help us ‘thin the herd’ to minimize their impact on the other sport fisheries and to leave those small lake trout who remain, enough resources to achieve faster growth rates to sustain the trophy lake trout fishery,” Walrath said.

“Therefore, if you feel a bit rusty on how to catch burbot or lake trout, this ice-fishing clinic is an opportunity to learn and share some tips and techniques. Various rigs will be set up for viewing and we welcome additional insights from anglers on the techniques they use and feel work best for them through the ice.”

If you are unable to make it to the clinic, you can find additional information on burbot and lake trout, including tips and techniques for catching them, information on management strategies, and recipes, by visiting the following Wyoming Game and Fish Department website: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Regional-Offices/Green-River-Region/Flaming-Gorge-Management.

Anglers are advised to pick up a free copy of the 2019 Wyoming Fishing Regulations at any license vendor or G&F regional office or print them for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department website at wgfd.wyo.gov and click on the Fishing and Boating Tab.