Wednesday June 28, 2023

Cowboy State Daily

Too many toothy predators and recent drawdowns that have lowered Flaming Gorge Reservoir’s surface level are among the causes for the recent decline in the fishery, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department says.

Responding to Cowboy State Daily questions about the health of the fishery, Wyoming Game and Fish biologist John Walrath said in a written reply that a 2022 drawdown of the reservoir to provide water for users lower in the Colorado River drainage limited areas where kokanee salmon can spawn. This concentrated the salmon and made it easier for lake trout that eat kokanee to hunt them down.

Kokanee are a landlocked sockeye salmon prized for their rich, red flesh. Flaming Gorge has long been one of the top reservoirs in the intermountain region for anglers who pursue them.

However, kokanee also are the main menu item for another prized catch at Flaming Gorge — lake trout. And in recent years, the number of juvenile lake trout, called pups, has blown up. Pups are lake trout under 28 inches long and are believed to be the main predators of kokanee.

Read more >

Link copied successfully