Lake Trout fishing heats up as water cools in Flaming Gorge Reservoir
GREEN RIVER - Kokanee Salmon season may be closed, but fishing is going to just get better, as water temperatures cool this fall. Fishing for small Lake trout, those less than 25 inches, is heating up. Fisheries biologists with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) recommend anglers take advantage of the glorious fall weather and get out and harvest a limit of Lake trout less than 25 inches.
“Anglers will be doing both the trophy Lake trout fishery and the Kokanee fishery a favor, too,” says John Walrath, WGFD Green River Fisheries Biologist. “There is an abundance of small Lake trout less than 25-inches in Flaming Gorge Reservoir and their numbers need to be thinned. Now through ice-up is a great time to pursue these small Lake trout and, as the water temperatures cool, both shore and boat anglers will be able to catch good numbers using a variety of techniques.”
Walrath offers the following tips to anglers:
“Shore fishing is most productive during the fall when water temperatures are 55 degrees F or colder and small Lake trout can be found near shore. Try fishing shorelines, submerged flats, and submerged ridges that are close to deep water. Cast spoons and soft-bodied jigs, one and a half to three inches in length, as far out as you can, and vary the retrieve (depth and speed) until you figure out what works. If you own a boat your options increase substantially. Similar to shore fishing, you can catch them close to shore in spring and fall, casting white or luminescent tubes and curly tail grubs toward shore in the habitats described previously. “
“You can also use your bathymetric maps and electronics to find fish on top of flats, humps, and ridges in 50-80 feet of water adjacent to deep water, early and late in the day. As the sun gets higher they will move deeper and by mid-day you will likely find small Lake trout on or just off the edge of deep water drop offs.”
“Trolling is productive any time of year using a variety of lures. Many people have luck with spoons like Needlefish, Crocodiles, Rocky Mountain Tackle Vipers and two to four-inch long crankbaits like Rapalas and Flatfish in a variety of colors. Dodgers and squids also work well, like those used for Kokanee or Rainbow trout, especially when trolled slower (1.6-1.8 mph) and tipped with a small piece of sucker meat or Berkley Gulp.”
“Vertical jigging from a boat is both productive and a lot of fun. Jigging spoons and tubes, curly tail grubs and swimbaits on jigs fished just off the bottom can produce a lot of fish, but watch your sonar for suspended fish. Luminescent and white lures always seem to be productive, but earth tones that mimic crayfish will also work. Don’t shy away from brightly colored glow tubes – pink, yellow, orange, purple, etc when fish are being finicky. Jigs and lures weighing 1/4-1/2-ounce work well depending on depth - heavier lures work better in deeper water. Vary your presentation – try active jigging, subtle jigging and dead sticking. Tipping your jig with thumbnail- sized piece of sucker or chub meat is just right.”
“Lake trout fishing on Flaming Gorge Reservoir in the fall is both productive and fun after the crowds of visitors head home for ‘hibernation’. Give it a try and help the fishery at the same time, by harvesting a limit of tasty fillets!”
Anglers can learn more about why biologists are concerned about the abundance of small Lake trout and find tips on how to catch them by viewing the WGFD Flaming Gorge webpage at https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Regional-Offices/Green-River-Region/Flaming-Gorge-Management.