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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 - Prowling for shallow lake trout

Sounds like lake trout are patrolling the shallows looking to fill up after spawning. Trolling for lakers can be a ton of fun.

Good news for the Wyoming side of the reservoir as fisheries officials in that state reclassified burbot as a nongame fish west of the Continental Divide and, beginning Jan. 1, the illegally introduced fish will be on a "must kill" regulation across the reservoir. It's a shame because burbot is tasty, but fish on the Wyoming side of the Gorge have shown high levels of mercury. Fish on the Utah side have not turned up high numbers yet. This allows anglers to kill burbot without it being illegal to no eat them. The fish must be disposed of properly or anglers can be cited for littering.

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Here's the Flaming Gorge fishing report from Ryan Mosley, Project Leader on the reservoir for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

The surface temps of the lake have now cooled into the mid-40s. What's that mean? Coldwater fish, specifically lake trout, can be found shallow as often as they are deep. We took advantage of that with our own "Black Friday" special last weekend.

Rainbow trout are still in the same pattern as they were a couple of weeks ago. Some are concentrated on main lake points, others in the backs of canyons (especially where inflow is present). We did really well casting jigs of different flavors- types and colors. My best was a 4-inch Berkley Power Minnow on a 3/8 oz jig head. We also caught fish on pink Outlaw tube jigs, marabous in crayfish or pink colors, and Yamamoto grubs in root beer.

The real fun began when we started trolling. Now that the lake trout spawn is coming to an end, they become more interested in prowling shallow waters in search of forage. Trolling is great way to cover some water with your own "prowling" search pattern. We hooked on some mid-diving crankbaits (10-15 ft diving depth) and ran them about 150 ft behind a planer boards tracking about 100 ft out to the side of the boat. We immediately started catching fish, especially on the planer board closest to shore. We hooked up on some nicer fish over 10-15 lbs, but the biggest that made it in the boat was just over 9 lbs. Most of the fish were 3-4 lbs, which were still rod benders and the size class that's most tasty on the grill. See the pic of my uncle, Sam Kotlewski of Layton, UT, holding a couple of nice lakers that we doubled up on.

With this cold front barking at the door, the north end of the Gorge will now start freezing and ice anglers will have their turn. For the next several weeks, good fishing opportunities should include both ice or open water, for rainbows, lake trout, and burbot.

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