Ice fishing for burbot on the Gorge helps fisheries managers


Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Bookmark and Share


  bbt Photo: Lucy Wold, WGFD Game and Fish fisheries biologists Joe Skorupski (left) and John Walrath (right) weigh a burbot caught during the 2015 Burbot Classic. Derby organizers are hopeful that the cold weather and thick ice will be plentiful this year.

Contact: Lucy Diggins-Wold, John Walrath                         January 8, 2016


Ice fishing for burbot on the Gorge helps fisheries managers

GREEN RIVER-The subzero temperatures Sweetwater County experienced in December will likely produce some of the best ice fishing season Flaming Gorge Reservoir anglers have experience for several years. With two burbot ice fishing derbies coming up at the end of the month now is a great time to get out those fishing poles and catch some burbot.

“Flaming Gorge Reservoir is the most popular ice fishing destination in Sweetwater County,” says John Walrath, Green River Fisheries Biologist with Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “Most anglers on the Gorge are targeting lake trout, rainbow trout, and burbot. Angler success should be high this year with an abundance of burbot and small lake trout. Anglers will also enjoy liberal limits on both species in Flaming Gorge Reservoir. As always, check your fishing regulation for species specific regulations.”

Burbot in Flaming Gorge Reservoir and the Green River drainage are an invasive species. Area fisheries biologists are most concerned with burbot in the Gorge, as they compete with anglers for prized sport fish like kokanee salmon, smallmouth bass, and rainbow trout. Burbot in Flaming Gorge Reservoir are a voracious predator that eats sport fish that would otherwise be available for anglers to catch. Fisheries crews from Wyoming and Utah have worked hard, since burbot were first discovered, to figure out ways to reduce the impact of this species has on other sport fish populations.

“Currently, the best option for controlling burbot numbers is angler harvest,” Walrath said. “For nearly a decade the Game and Fish has been adapting and adjusting fishing regulations to give anglers more opportunities to harvest burbot from Flaming Gorge Reservoir. We encourage anglers to safely take advantage of ice fishing opportunities and remove as many burbot as possible from local waters. Every burbot removed from local waters is a saving in sport fish like kokanee salmon, rainbow trout and smallmouth bass. In a couple weeks there will be two great opportunities to have a fun weekend on Flaming Gorge, possibly win some money and reduce the impact burbot are having on the sport fish in Flaming Gorge Reservoir.”

The 2016 Burbot Bash Derby and the 2016 Burbot Classic Derby will be held later this month with the goal of reducing the numbers and impacts of burbot on fisheries in Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

“The derbies also provide a great opportunity to educate the public about the problems burbot are causing, to recruit anglers, and to remove thousands of invasive burbot,” Walrath said. “Since burbot derbies began on the Gorge in 2010 nearly 30,000 burbot have been removed during derbies! The Game and Fish appreciates the time and effort the Flaming Gorge Chamber of Commerce (Burbot Bash) and Buckboard Marina (Burbot Classic) put into hosting these fun and productive derbies. The events require an enormous amount of planning and time to ensure the derbies run safely and smoothly, and that everyone has a great time.”
The 2016 Burbot Bash is being held on January 22nd-24th.

For more information please check out their website at or their Facebook page at The 2016 Burbot Classic is being held the weekend following the Bash on January 29th-31st. For more information about the Classic, check out their website at or call Buckboard Marina.

For the first time this year, anglers who participate in both the Burbot Bash and the Burbot Classic will be entered into a drawing worth $1,000. This drawing will be awarded at the Burbot Classic closing ceremonies on January 31.