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Lake: Buffalo Bill Reservoir

Ice fishing the Bighorn Basin: Buffalo Bill Reservoir

Post By: culinarypunk      Posted: 1/29/2017 7:19:10 AM     Points: 84481    

According to Cody Region AIS Specialist and ice fishing fanatic Greg Mayton, Buffalo Bill Reservoir offers some of the most fantastic ice fishing the Bighorn Basin has to offer.


According to Cody Region AIS Specialist and ice fishing fanatic Greg Mayton, Buffalo Bill Reservoir offers some of the most fantastic ice fishing the Bighorn Basin has to offer. Located just six miles west of Cody, this reservoir is easily accessed from town and offers anglers an opportunity to catch several species of trout.

Mayton said that while safety should always be a priority, anglers should exercise special caution while ice fishing Buffalo Bill Reservoir because ice conditions can change both quickly and drastically.

“Anglers should be aware that due to strong winds and geothermal spots in the reservoir, ice conditions can be very unpredictable and can pose challenging safety conditions for ice fisherman,” Mayton said. “The wind that persists at the confluence of the North and South Forks of the Shoshone River can cause unstable ice conditions no matter how cold the winter has been. You also have to keep an eye out for geothermal warm spots that can occur across the reservoir. There has been winters with good, safe ice on parts of the reservoir, and in just a day or two, those same spots are open water.”

Anglers wanting to ice fish the reservoir also need to consider the weather conditions. “When out on this reservoir, anglers should be prepared for brutal west winds that can crop up out of nowhere,” Mayton said.

To check out the weather before heading out, Mayton advises anglers to visit Buffalo Bill State Park’s website. “If therewas one tip that I could give to help avoid a wasted trip, it would be to check out Buffalo Bill State Park’s webcam and weather page to get an idea of what’s happening before heading out. The webcam can be found at: [log in for link]

Mayton continues, “On the brighter side, if the weather cooperates and ice conditions are safe, Buffalo Bill anglers can have the thrill of catching some of the best eating and fighting trout the Basin has to offer.”

Buffalo Bill’s under water topography is diverse and ranges from shallow mud flats to steep rocky drop offs. While most ice fishermen are pursuing trout, the reservoir contains both warm and cold water fish species including cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, cutthroat rainbow hybrids, brown trout, lake trout, walleye and perch. Some of the most popular places to ice fish are Bartlett Lane off the South Fork Hwy, off the steep shores of Stage Coach Trail and the more easily accessible North Fork Hwy.


 Reply by: culinarypunk      Posted: 1/29/2017 7:19:28 AM     Points: 84481    
] regulations on Buffalo Bill Reservoir are different than most other lakes in the Cody Region. Two rods are permitted since it is not a special ice fishing regulation body of water and the use of live minnows is prohibited. The creel limit on trout (excluding lake trout) is three per day or in possession. No more than two shall be cutthroat trout and no more than one trout (excluding lake trout) shall exceed 18 inches. Lake trout creel is six, with no more than one over 24 inches. Walleye are designated as nongame fish and shall be killed immediately with no creel limit or possession limit.

“When fishing Buffalo Bill, I like to have a lineup of different baits, rods and lures to key in on the species that I would like to chase that day. First and foremost is making sure you have bait available. For a trip out on Buffalo Bill, I never leave my truck without meal worms, sucker meat and shrimp. With these in your sled, you can just about catch any fish the lake offers,” Mayton said.

“For chasing lake trout, I mostly use sucker meat attached to a jig or some sort of lure. Most of the time, I use a quarter-ounce or larger jig or lure that glows in the dark to help the fish see what I am presenting. While lake trout can be found throughout the entire water column when they are actively feeding, they are often close to the bottom, so this is always where I start when positioning bait,” he said.

Mayton continues, “When going after rainbows, cutthroats and brown trout, I suggest using meal worms and shrimp for bait and using jigs and lures that are smaller than a quarter-ounce. Most of the time, these trout are cruising 20 feet below the ice but I have caught them within a few inches of the ice. Using a fish finder provides valuable information about the varying depths the different species of fishi are hanging out in. When fishing Buffalo Bill, you will never see me out on the ice without my trusty flasher sonar unit.”

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This is a story from the Cody Regional Newsletter. To read the full newsletter and to subscribe visit: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Regional-Offices/Cody-Region/Cody-Regional-Newsletters.
(Tara Hodges, Information and Education Specialist-307-527-7322 Ext. *817)

- WGFD -
 Reply by: fishjefe      Posted: 2/2/2017 2:53:50 PM     Points: 2078    
good little write up from WGFD