Life is hard when you have to play a child's game to decide which fish to pursue. Such is the case at Flaming Gorge these days.
Flaming Gorge Project Leader Ryan Mosley shares this report in an effort to help anglers make the choice.
It never fails, fishing for all species on Flaming Gorge ramps up in June when the water gets in the 60s. Currently surface temps are 62F, so it's prime time. I'll admit, it can be tough to decide what species to target, and sometimes I have to play a little "rock, paper, scissors"!
Here's some fishing suggestions by species, based on recent trips on the water:
Smallmouth Bass- Right now there's two great opportunities both of which are exciting if you're a bass angler or just want to catch a lot of fish. First, bass are heavy into the spawn making for prime sight fishing opportunities. Upon spotting a bass, flip a crayfish colored jig, Senko, or drop-shot worm near the bed and wait for the strike. The second option even more fun. With all the cicadas this season, bass are looking up and top water fishing is really good in the mornings and evenings. Use small poppers, like PopRs or even Zara Puppies. Give the top water some jerks and twitches and then pause. Be ready to set-the-hook on the pause! It's always fun watching bass respond to your presentation, and it's really exciting for kids.
Kokanee Salmon- Trolling has been really good in the canyon portion of the reservoir for fish between 2-3 lbs. Try silver dodgers like Rocky Mountain Tackle's (RMT) Fusion or Hyperplaid, followed by a squid in hyperglow pink or orange. Shorten your leader on the squid to about 12-inches, which puts more whip in the squid. Last weekend, most of the kokanee were suspended 40-70 ft but watch your sonar and put the lure where the fish are. Trolling speed can vary between 1.6-2.2 mph.
Lake trout- Also getting more active. Look for schools of "pups" (smaller lake trout) suspended off main channel points in 50-100 ft of water. Upon locating a school, troll small spoons or drop jigs tipped with sucker meat. Good trolling options are RMT Viper spoons in Caribbean Sunset, Luhr Jensen Needlefish, and Northland Forage minnows in rainbow trout colors. Good jig options are 3-inch tube jigs in white or watermelon or jigging spoons like Northland Buckshots in 3/8 oz weights and tipped with a small chunk of sucker or chub meat.
Lake trout fishing has been "red hot" up near Buckboard. WGFD recently netted a record number of pup lake trout in this region of the reservoir too. Remember, it's important to maintain good predator/prey balance with lake trout and kokanee, so harvesting a limit of small lake trout helps maintain a robust kokanee population and promote trophy quality in lake trout. The small lakers are a great meal too, whether cooked on the grill, fried, and even smoked!
Rainbow trout- They're going to be caught while targeting all the above. If you're looking specifically for rainbows, troll pop gear and worm closer to the surface, cast a worm/marshmallow from shore, or even better, bring your fly rod and tie on a cicada!
Hope these options help and have a good trip on the water! Ryan
The pic is of Kevin Clegg from Dutch John, UT, holding a big laker he caught this spring.