Flaming Gorge fishing report from Ryan Mosley, Flaming Gorge Project Leader for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
The Gorge is on "fire" right now, but being it's wildfire season that can be taken a different way. As a result of lightning, a wildfire actually broke-out on a ridge between Mustang and Jarvies this past weekend. Fire crews quickly responded and limited the burned area to about 275 acres. They spent 3-days putting out the fire using ground and air crews. Check-out the pictures of a dump chopper filling its tanks from the reservoir.....you don't see that everyday while you're out fishing!
Kokanee are still being caught reservoir-wide. Downlake, most of the kokanee are between about 40-60 ft, but uplake they are a little shallower, 30-50 ft. Lots of tackle is working, but pink is the go-to color. While fishing in Hideout this past weekend, we did really well using Rocky Mountain Tackle dodgers in Fusion and Hyperplaid, followed by pink RMT Assassins and Demons and Shasta Kokanuts. We also caught fish on spoons, including RMT Serpents in Carribean Sunset. Boat speed was 1.8-2.0 mph.
Rainbow trout and smallmouth bass are also being caught consistently, while fishing shoreline habitat. The bass spawn is in full swing, so watch for cleaned depressions (nests) along the shore in about 2-4 ft of water. Bass prefer to build nests in small rock along shallow protected points off from the main channel. When you spot a nest with a bass, keep your distance and toss/flip jigs on or near the nest. Male bass will guard the nest, and try to remove the jig being it's a potential predator of their eggs or fry. It's a lot of fun watching their aggressive behavior and even more fun when you catch them. Curly tailed grubs, Hula grubs, and tube jigs in crayfish colors, rigged on 3/8 oz jigheads work well. Remember the bass limit on the Utah portion of Flaming Gorge is 10-fish and anglers can help the fishery by releasing the bigger ones and harvesting a limit of smaller bass (8-10 inches). Ten fish of that size can make one fine meal too!
Cicadas are also heard clicking or buzzing in the trees throughout the lower canyon. Both bass and rainbows can be found hitting these tasty morsels on the surface near shore. This is when fly fisherman can really have some fun using terrestrial patterns. Mid-morning has been prime-time.
Lake trout fishing has been spotty, where a good day is followed by a slow day, or aggressive fish are found at one location but not the other. Anglers can target lake trout by trolling near main channel points and cliffs using spoons and crankbaits, or by vertically jigging when they find schools. White and rainbow trout colors work really well. Look for lake trout utilizing depths of 60-100 ft. Many of the fish are found close to the bottom, but larger schools of pups will be suspended. Suspended fish are usually more active and easier to catch. Once again, harvesting a limit of lake trout (8 fish with one over 28-inches) can only help the fishery, and pup lake trout are great on the BQ grill.
Hope it helps and good luck on the water. Ryan