SWEETWATER COUNTY -- The Wyoming Game and Fish Department reminds anglers it is a good time to start catching burbot at night.
"A large portion of burbot are beginning to stage in Flaming Gorge Reservoir for a spawning migration up tributaries, which includes the Green River," said John Walrath, Green River fisheries biologist.
Typically, anglers catch burbot ranging from 18 to 24 inches, but this time of year they have a higher probability of hooking into 25- to 40-inch fish in the staging areas, he said.
A year ago, 14 burbot near Firehole Canyon received radio transmitters to track their migratory patterns, according to Walrath.
"Most of the fish spent the next two months slowly moving their way to the confluence of the Green River and entered the Green River around the end of December and first week of January," he said. "They spawned in the river and returned to the Gorge four weeks later. Burbot are likely using the Blacks Fork and Henry's Fork rivers in the same manger and time frame."
The department suggests taking safety precautions when fishing at night.
"I have received reports of boats that have run around on Flaming Gorge Reservoir while anglers were out pursuing burbot after dark," said Robb Keith, Green River fisheries supervisor. "Whether through the ice or during open water periods, anglers are most successful catching burbot after dark. However, there are serious safety risks when boat fishing after dark on any water, especially the Gorge."
Todd Graham, Green River Wildlife Supervisor, said all watercraft operating between sunset and sunrise shall carry and display navigation lights.
"The display of navigation lights will alert other boaters or your location and (or) direction of travel and avoid tragic accidents," Graham said.
There are different requirements for the various classes of watercraft. Boaters should refer to Wyoming watercraft regulations, he said.
Keith said he did not suggest anglers fish out of a boat after dark due to hazards and safety concerns, but added if they decide to, there are several tips to follow:
• Never go fishing alone.
• Launch close to the area you intend to fish and slow down.
• Remember hazards and other boaters are hard to see after dark.
• Always tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return home.
• Carry all the safety equipment required for everyone onboard the boat.
• Wear a personal floating device, or life jacket, at all times.
• Carry and use a hand-held spotlight and know how to use a GPS unit.
"Always make sure you know where you are and take it slow," Keith said. "Safety should be first and foremost in every angler's fishing trip."