Anglers have been hearing for quite some time that it is better to catch and release fish. Overall, this helps keep the fish population healthy, while helping to avoid overfishing certain popular waterways. But sometimes, too low of a fish harvest can backfire. This is the case currently in Flaming Gorge Reservoir. This reservoir is located partially in Utah, and partially in Wyoming. It is home to huge lake trout, but also home to rainbow trout and kokanee salmon. It is not unheard of to catch a lake trout out of this water that weighs over 35 pounds, and some even up to 50 pounds.
The problem biologists are encountering now though, is that there are too many trout in the lake, causing the growth rate of fish to go down. Rainbow trout and kokanees are a food source for the big lake trout, and with the trout population growing too quickly, there aren’t enough of the smaller fish for these lakers to eat. But there is an excellent solution to help this problem. Anglers are encouraged to keep the fish they catch.
The daily limit for lake trout is 8, and only one of those can be larger than 28 inches. I think that the smaller fish taste better than the big lakers anyway. And with ice fishing season upon us, this is even better. It seems as if the fish caught in the winter have firmer, more colorful meat, and they taste much better than fish caught in the warm months. I don’t know if there is a scientific basis for this or if it is my imagination, but I have heard this same theory from other anglers so I’m taking it as a fact. And think of how you can cut your food bill by incorporating trout into your meal plans. So get out there this winter, try some ice fishing at Flaming Gorge Reservoir, and then go home and have a big fish fry for your friends. The only downside is that you won’t be able to lie about the size of your catch anymore. Happy fishing all!