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

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(Scott Sommerdorf | The Salt Lake Tribune) Ice fisherman Clark Sabey fishes at Flaming Gorge Dam near Manila on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013. Many ice fisherman were catching the dreaded burbot and turning them into the DNR at the Manila check station.
Burbot Bash anglers haul in more than 4,000 fish in two days

The Burbot Bash 2013 results are in and they are impressive. Check out the story posted today on the Salt Lake Tribune's home page to see why having this many fish removed is important.

Here's a recap of the Bash from DWR Flaming Gorge Project Leader Ryan Mosley.

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This year's Burbot Bash was a huge success. It attracted almost 1,200 participants composing 563 teams. That's over double what we saw the first year when there were 485 participants. These anglers caught 4,287 burbot in just two-nights! Compare that to the first year, when anglers caught just over 4,000 burbot in 8-nights.

Our tag recapture rate also went up. We had nine PIT tag returns (internal tags) dating back to November 2010. We'll be able to get more movement and growth data based on the data collected from these tags. As you know we also tagged 25 burbot with red anchor tags for the grand prize categories and two of these fish were actually caught. Unfortunately, neither of these tags was a big cash prize, and the one tag number was only 1-digit off from being a $2500 winner. Finally the last tag was one of the USU research tags, which was harvested unintentionally near Firehole.

Being participation was up, the Flaming Gorge Chamber of Commerce also increased the prize categories. They paid out 5-places instead of three for each prize category and also increased the total cash pay-outs. As an example, the biggest fish and most fish category went from $1500 to $5000! They also increased the reward for tags from $100 to $300. As you would guess, participants were really happy with the adjustment and many went home with some padded wallets. The most fish category was won with a two-night total of 211 burbot, and big fish was won with a 35-inch, 7-lb burbot. The youth biggest burbot was 32-inches. The heaviest burbot caught was about 34 inches long and weighed just over 9 pounds.

Most importantly, everyone was safe and stayed on top of the ice where they belong.

I think this is a great event for all those involved. It increases exploitation of burbot in the Gorge while generating some biological data to further understand the population in the reservoir (diet and creel data was also collected). It's also a great opportunity to interact with a lot of anglers so they further understand the implications of illegally introduced species like burbot. I don't have the stats to support it, but based on the calls, texts, and emails I received from anglers prior to the event, many of these anglers had never fished for burbot before. Many of those had never even been to the Gorge. Finally, I think it's also a great opportunity to foster relationships with the public and other agencies who were involved with the event.

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