Green River—Ice anglers have been patiently waiting for hard, clear ice to catch burbot on local reservoirs and it looks like, finally, the ice is forming for anglers in many locations. With two ice fishing derbies just around the corner-Burbot Bash and the Buckboard Classic-anglers are keeping their fingers crossed that the temperatures remain cold and the wind stays away.
“The best opportunity to catch burbot is during winter,” said Green River Fisheries Biologist Joe Skorupski. “Ice anglers are very important in our efforts to reduce the burbot populations in reservoirs like Flaming Gorge and Fontenelle. We did want to give anglers a heads-up that our netting results suggest that burbot numbers are trending downward, which is a good thing, however, anglers might find it harder to catch burbot. Don’t get discouraged and keep trying to catch burbot.
Although the numbers are lower, we still need anglers’ help to control burbot populations.”
In Flaming Gorge, netting trends indicate that burbot populations have decreased by 53% in the inflow area and 35% reservoir wide. That being said, the highest densities of burbot are still found north of Buckboard.
Skorupski said, with the two fishing derbies coming up, there will be opportunities to catch burbot and win unique prizes and cash at each derby. Skorupski also reminds anglers to have fun but keep that their eyes out for unsafe ice conditions at all times.
“Ice fishing is a great winter activity for the whole family and we want anglers to keep safety on their minds while they are fishing for the big one,” Skorupski said. “A Few recommendations should be kept in mind while pursuing fish through ice. (1) Try to fish in groups; the buddy system is critical when ice fishing and always tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return. (2) Always check the ice condition with an auger or bar every time you travel out and every several time especially if you are crossing a large distance of ice. (3) Find fishing location and areas your group knows are safe to fish in the daylight and stay there. Don’t explore new areas after dark as ice conditions a short distance away could be completely different than the ice you walked in on. (4) Do not drive any vehicle on the ice and carry a pair of ice picks attached with a rope can be a handy rescue tool should someone fall through the ice. If a vehicle is used, wear a life jacket. (5) If using a shelter have the proper ventilation for CO 2 when a stove/heater is used inside.”
There are two burbot fishing derbies planned for 2015. The Burbot Bash will be January 23-25, 2015 and the management of the Burbot Bash is back with Flaming Gorge Chamber of Commerce. The Flaming Gorge Chamber of Commerce has done a great job with the bash in the past. Up to date information about the Burbot Bash is available at Burbotbash.com. The Burbot Classic will be February 6-8, 2015 and Buck Board Marina is managing the Classic. Last year the $10,000 tagged fish was caught and the money was awarded. Up to date information about the Burbot Classic can be found at Buckboardmarina.com.