Flaming macks bite through mid-December

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    The blustery breezes are stirring up some mighty fine fishing on the Wyoming/ Utah border. Flaming Gorge Reservoir lake trout are winding down their spawning activities and looking for food.

    Roger Schneidervin, Flaming Gorge Project biologist for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources in Dutch John (435-885-3164), suggests getting on the water now to experience some of the best fishing of the year.

    "Around Thanksgiving time through the first part of December, the larger lake trout move off the spawning areas and into the shallower water that has turned cold and they go on a feeding binge," he said.

    "I've seen from our creel surveys over the years that this time of year produces some of the best fishing for lake trout that will go above 25 pounds."

    Population explosion

    Schneidervin said in recent netting surveys, they've found an overabundance of smaller 18 to 24-inch lake trout. This has fishery managers concerned because when these fish grow up they could potentially destroy the fishery by eating all the prey.

    Wyoming and Utah officials are urging anglers to keep a limit of these smaller fish.

    The limit this year is six trout with only one allowed over 28 inches. As of Jan. 1, 2006, the limit will be raised to eight lakers while the limit for other trout and kokanee will be reduced to just four.

    Where to go

    Big lakers can be caught in 20 to 40 feet of water during this time of year only.

    The back of Linwood Bay, Stateline Bay and the Antelope Flat side just off the Antelope ramp are some real good areas to target, according to Schneidervin.

    The Wyoming side of the reservoir is where you'll find more of the smaller Macks. Not that there won't be plenty hanging around the big boys, but for some unknown reason, the Marsh Creek area north to the Big Bend and Buckboard areas are loaded with smaller 19 to 24-inchers that have established a spawning areas on the gravel points.

    "During the day the fish move off to 30 to 50 feet of water and usually suspending there, but are still readily catchable. And these sizes of fish are some of the best table fare," said Schneidervin.


    Schneidervin said that a unique method is successful only around this time of the season.

    "Long-lining large crankbaits, like Rapalas or FlatFish, in bright colors using monofilament line is very effective in early December," said Schneidervin.

    "Troll the plugs about 10 to 15 feet down and at least a good couple hundred feet or more behind the boat to keep from spooking the fish. Large tube jigs in white or any bright color work well too, especially on the smaller lakers. You can tip the jigs with minnows or sucker meat to add some extra scent. The key is to get the lure as far away from the boat as possible. Speed is also very critical; most guys are trolling 1.5 to 2 miles per hour with the best success."

    Winter fishing

    Be prepared for freezing temperatures and severe windchill ‹ this extreme fishing will take more than a cup of hot cocoa to warm you up.


    Linwood Bay is off-limits to fishing between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. Oct. 15­Dec. 15 to protect spawning Mackinaw. Boat launches are available off Highway 530 on the west side and 191 on the east.

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