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Flaming Gorge Update

Blog by: Dale Daugherty 1/19/2018

Flaming Gorge Reservoir: The reservoir's elevation is 6,029 feet and descending and the temperature is 42 degrees F. As of Jan. 18, anglers reported 12 inches of ice near Firehole, with seven inches of cloudy ice near Sage Creek. Anglers report about four inches of thin ice near the Confluence, so continue to use extreme caution. Buckboard had reports of the ramp being frozen in, but any wind may open it back up.

Kokanee Salmon: Fishing for kokanee reopened Dec. 1.

Rainbow Trout: Fishing is good. Now that water temperatures have cooled, trout are active along the shoreline. Casting jigs and spoons and retrieving with the occasional jig and pause is most effective. Watch your line during the pause, as many of the hits will come as the lure drops through the water column. Good lures are 1/4 ounce marabou jigs in earth tones and spoons in silver, copper and chartreuse. If fishing from shore, cast the lure in a 45-degree angle from shore, and let the lure drop 10 to 15 feet before retrieving. Trolling 10 to 20 feet deep and 1.5-2 mph with pop gear, spinners and small spoons has also been effective. Let the lure out 100 to 150 feet before attaching the line to the downrigger or inline weight. The longer set back will help decrease spooking of shallow fish. Lake trout may also be caught using these same tactics.

Lake Trout: Fishing is good. The lake trout are active and hungry. Anglers are consistently catching smaller lake trout while trolling or jigging in 50 to 80 feet of water near main channel points and ridges. Fish may be located suspended above the bottom using a fish finder. Troll spoons like Williams Wablers, Northland Forage Minnows, and #3 Needlefish to target aggressive pups. Vertically jig a white or glow-n-the-dark tube jig or jigging spoon (Northland Buckshot) on a 3/8-ounce head tipped with sucker/chub meat. Gulp minnows and blade baits (Sebile Vibrato) can also work really well. Some lake trout are being caught while casting jigs and spoons along the shoreline (see rainbow trout), and longline trolling shallow running crankbaits like Rapala Shad Raps and Xraps.

Smallmouth Bass: Fishing is slow. Now that water temperatures have dropped into the 40s, bass fishing has slowed down, and it will be considerably difficult to catch them during the winter months. Try using jigs mimicking crayfish (earth tone colors), their primary forage.

Burbot: Fishing is fair. Some recent reports indicate fishing success but it's been rather slow this year. The best activity has been at night. Boaters can target burbot on rocky points and shorelines in 20 to 40 feet of water at night using glow-in-the-dark lures like Yamamoto grubs, Radical Glow tubes, Maniac Cutterbugs, and Northland Buckshot spoons. Tip the lure with sucker/chub meat, recharge glow frequently, and jig the presentation a couple inches from the bottom. Hot spots are uplake of Buckboard near the Confluence/Lost Dog and Firehole boat launch. (01-18-18)

Green River below Flaming Gorge dam: Flows are currently 2,850 cfs and water temperature is 42 degrees F. Flows can change daily, so check for current releases from Flaming Gorge Dam before you visit. Fly anglers are having success closer to the shoreline using small zebra midges in sizes 16-22, and blue winged olive nymphs in sizes 20-24. 

Blog content © Dale Daugherty