Burbot Classic 2018

Game & Fish employee John Walrath, right, measures a burbot at the 2018 Burbot Bash.

GREEN RIVER — Annual ice fishing derbies are coming up at Flaming Gorge and Fontenelle reservoirs, and anglers who would like some tips to increase their catch can attend a free ice fishing clinic beforehand.

The 2019 Burbot Bash, hosted by the Flaming Gorge Chamber of Commerce, will take place Jan. 25-27 on Flaming Gorge Reservoir. The 2019 Ding the Ling derby is scheduled Feb. 8-10 on Fontenelle Reservoir and is put on by the La Barge activities committee. Both ice fishing events aim to reduce the number of burbot, thereby decreasing the impact that the eel-like fish are having on local fisheries, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

“These derbies also provide a great opportunity to educate the public about the problems burbot are causing, to recruit anglers and to remove thousands of burbot,” Green River Fisheries Biologist John Walrath said.

Anglers wanting some tips on how to catch burbot as well as lake trout can attend a free ice fishing clinic at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Green River Game and Fish office, 351 Astle Ave. Fisheries biologists will share tips and techniques in addition to information regarding management of both species.

Rigs will be setup for viewing at the clinic, and experienced anglers who are attending are asked to provide insights on the techniques they use and feel work best for them through the ice. Sportsman’s Warehouse will also display various types of gear they have available at the Rock Springs store.

The subzero temperatures that southwest Wyoming experienced in December and into January are producing excellent ice fishing opportunities on both Flaming Gorge and Fontenelle reservoirs, according to a press release. The upcoming derbies are a great opportunity for anglers to have a fun weekend ice fishing, possibly win some money and reduce the impact burbot are having on the sport fish in both reservoirs, Game and Fish said.

Since derbies began on the gorge in 2010, nearly 40,000 burbot have been removed, not including those harvested during the rest of the year. Burbot behave like an invasive species. They compete for food and are voracious predators that eats prized sport fish like kokanee salmon, smallmouth bass and trout that would otherwise be available for anglers to catch, according to the Game and Fish.

Additional Burbot Bash information is available at www.burbotbash.com or www.facebook.com/BurbotBash. The webpage for Ding the Ling is www.facebook.com/labargedingtheling. The Game and Fish expressed appreciation to those putting in the time and effort to host the annual ice fishing events.

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