Ryan Mosley, Flaming Gorge Project Leader for the UDWR, spend shis off time fishing the gorge. He sent in this report Monday.
Spring fishing for rainbow trout on the Gorge is getting better as the mercury rises. After a week with daytime highs in the 60s, surface temps have now risen into the low to mid-40s.
Most of the rainbow trout in the Gorge will go through their spawning motions in the spring. Some stocked strains of rainbows will spawn in the fall and mid-winter, but they don't get the notoriety that the spring fish do. I suspect spring rainbows are more popular because the weather is favorable and after being locked up with "cabin fever" all winter, anglers are eager to hit the water.
Rainbows tend to stack-up and spawn in three key areas around the reservoir: near tributaries, near launch ramps where they were stocked, and on shallow, rocky points throughout the length of the reservoir. The tributaries and launch ramp areas get the most pressure, so anglers with boats that want to avoid crowds can move around and find their own quarry. The Gorge is stocked with a hefty quota of rainbows and there's lots of rocky points, so there's plenty of options. Anglers trying to locate rainbows should watch their sonar, watch for rises, and use polarized glasses to spot shallow, active fish.
I made it out with some friends on Friday morning, and even though we had to fight some wind, the fishing was spectacular. We started looking near tributaries, but most of those locations were already being fished. We still caught some entertaining fish in the 12-14 inch range. Looking for a change of scenery, bigger fish, and less competition, we picked up and moved towards the main channel and started fishing shallow, rocky points. At times we would cover lots of shoreline without a hit, and then several would come in a row. Most of the fish we hooked and landed were in the 2-3 lb range and a blast on light tackle.
Each of us used a different jig which can be advantageous when fishing three anglers in a boat. Jigs were in 1/4-3/8 oz weights and included small 4-inch worms, 3-inch curly tailed grubs, and marabous. The color spectrum included earth tones, black, and my favorite, pink (just for catching fish). Try tipping the jig with Gulp, Powerbait, or even a live worm for further enticement.
Rainbow fishing will continue to be hot on the Gorge so there's still time. Move around to find fish, change-up lures if you're not getting strikes, and have a blast catching these striking fish.
Good luck, Ryan
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