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DUTCH JOHN, Daggett County — For the second consecutive year, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources officials are asking anglers to keep the fish they catch at Flaming Gorge Reservoir.
The popular reservoir in northeastern Utah is known for producing some of the largest lake trout in the country, DWR officials said in a news release. However, it currently has too many small lake trout which are competing with kokanee salmon and rainbow trout for food. Because of the food shortage, the lake trout growth rate is declining (because the trophy lake trout feed on kokanee salmon and rainbow trout) and the number of kokanee salmon and rainbow trout in the reservoir is also declining.
As a result, fishery biologists are asking for anglers to keep any lake trout that are less than 28 inches long. The daily limit is eight lake trout, but only one of the fish can be longer than 28 inches, DWR said.
"In the 1990s, an 8-year-old lake trout was about 30 inches long,” DWR Flaming Gorge lead fisheries biologist Ryan Mosley said in the news release. “Today, an 8-year-old fish is about 23 inches long. On top of the decreased length, the number of lake trout in the reservoir has increased 89 percent in just the last couple of years. And we're concerned the situation is going to get worse.
"Anglers are crucial to controlling the number of lake trout in the reservoir.”
Mosley said recent fishing reports have said that the lake trout are currently biting well and fishing from a boat and from the shore has been good. The lake hasn’t iced over completely yet, but ice has started forming on the Wyoming side of the reservoir, according to DWR regional conservation outreach manager Tonya Kieffer.
"Many anglers don't fish the Gorge's open water this time of year, so there's very little fishing pressure,” Mosley said. “It's a great time to get out and target these smaller fish."
Editor's note: The content from this article was taken from a press release sent out by Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. This is not information gathered by KSL.com reporters.