VERNAL, Utah — Several Utah agencies are putting out the word for anglers fishing at Flaming Gorge Reservoir to keep lake trout under 25 inches—formerly thought to be too small—to "thin the herd" and allow other game fish to flourish.
As an incentive, several fishing tournaments hosted by various organizations will be held this spring and summer in an effort to help reduce the number of small lake trout in the reservoir.
Currently, Flaming Gorge has too many smaller lake trout, which when they grow larger eat kokanee salmon and rainbow trout. If they're not reduced now, the populations of these other game fish will be affected, and there won't be enough food for trophy lake trout.
“In the 1990s, an 8-year-old lake trout was about 30 inches long,” said Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Flaming Gorge Lead Fisheries Biologist Ryan Mosley.
“Today, an 8-year-old fish is about 23 inches long. On top of the decreased length, the number of small lake trout in the reservoir has increased, and we’re concerned the situation is going to get worse."
He say that reducing the number of small lake trout now will mean healthier lake trout in the future, while also increasing the survival of trout and salmon that are highly sought after by anglers.
“Many anglers don’t realize the smaller lake trout are quite tasty,” said Mosley. “They're one of my favorite fish to eat. In Flaming Gorge, only kokanee salmon rival them in taste.”
Among the fishing tournaments to be held this spring and summer are the following:
Flaming Gorge Fish Derby May 14-15
Ducks Unlimited Gorge Fishing Derby June 25-26
Buckboard “Pupulation” Control Contest April 14-June 12
Buckboard Marina Hell on Reels Fishing Derby June 11-12