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Brett Prettyman
Brett Prettyman writes about the outdoors, recreation and fishing for The Salt Lake Tribune

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Flaming Gorge Fishing Report - Add rainbows to the "hot" category and look for plenty of ice for the Burbot Bash

Ice happens, well at least some of the time. Ryan Mosley, a UDWR biologist over Flaming Gorge, sent in this report. Looks like there will be plenty of ice options for the Burbot Bash.

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I remember hearing when daytime temperatures fail to get above freezing, lake ice can thicken 1-inch per day. Of course it depends on water quality, snow cover, wind, etc, but I've observed that growth rate this season on the Gorge. The ice is thickening fast uplake and continues to extend down reservoir. The leading ice edge on Sunday (Jan. 6th) was just south of Holmes Crossing and behind it the ice was 4-inches or thicker. It has surely surpassed that by now.

Being I was short an angling partner, I decided to stay close to shore and see if I could tease a few rainbows for a meal. I fished the mouth of a small cove on the eastside of the reservoir below Big Bend. The shoreline had a gentle grade with great habitat, a mixture of rock and submerged trees. I drilled some holes in 15-20 ft of water and within minutes I was icing beautifully colored rainbows up to 20-inches and 3 lbs. All but one of my fish came on a 1-inch Berkley Power Nymph in crayfish color, tipped with a meal worm, resting above the bottom.

Upon cleaning my limit, all had "fire engine red" fillets and were foraging on zooplankton and/or small worms (chironomids). Rainbows will cruise shallow water under the ice, which usually harbors more of these small invertebrates that they rely heavily on during the winter.



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