Flaming Gorge Reservoir
- Rating: Good
- Conditions: Fishing has been fair to hot depending on locations and species. Here's a look at each species.
Kokanee: Kokanee fishing has recently slowed because of the rapidly increasing reservoir surface elevation. Flaming Gorge is currently at 6,032 feet and has been rising almost three inches a day. The surface temperature has also climbed to 66¬–72°F. As a result, kokanee are being caught deeper in the water column, around 40 feet. The depth and location can change quickly, so watch the fish finder and put your lure where the fish are. Many of the kokanee biting are in the 2.5 to 3-pound range. Remember, mortality rates on released fish increase as water temperatures rise, so we encourage you to keep your limits of small kokanee. A variety of lures will work, including #2 Needlefish, Rocky Mountain Tackle (RMT) Viper spoons and a variety of dodger/squid combos. Pink and orange colors are working best. Troll at around 1.6 and 2.2 miles per hour.
Rainbow trout: Fishing is red hot, and so is the quality of the fish biting. Because of abundant cicadas in the lower reservoir, the top water action has been exceptional. Fly anglers should tie on a cicada pattern, and spin anglers can try small top waters like the Storm Hopper Popper. Top water fishing is a riot and very productive when fish become accustomed to looking up for food. Anglers often catch rainbows while trolling for kokanee, casting jigs (marabous, curly tails, tubes) near shore or soaking a nightcrawler or PowerBait along the bottom. Anglers report good to excellent results. Spoons, jigs and crankbaits along with common trout baits (such as worms) and fly fishing (cicada hatch) are working from the shore and from boats. Small schools are cruising the shoreline, and anglers have found good fishing off rocky points, inlets and in the backs of some of the bays. Rainbows are also being caught in deep water, where anglers are targeting lake trout.
Lake trout: Fishing has been slow, but it's picking up in the Canyon region of the reservoir. Fishing for smaller lake trout has been red hot just south of Buckboard, WY. The most effective way to catch lake trout is to find concentrations along main channel points and breaks, and vertically jig with jigging spoons, tube jigs or Gulp minnows. Jiggers should try white, three-inch tube jigs tipped with a small chunk of sucker meat. Anglers can also troll with spoons, flatfish or similar crankbaits in chartreuse, white or rainbow trout colors. Most lake trout are 50–100 feet deep, but can also be caught in shallower waters earlier or later in the day. Successful trolling speeds are around 1.6–1.8 miles per hour. Keep your limit of small, tasty lake trout to reduce competition and help both the lake trout and kokanee fisheries.
Smallmouth bass: Fishing is great! Once again, cicadas are abundant in the lower portion of the reservoir, so the top water action has been great. Smallmouth bass are coming off the spawn, so you can expect bass to be eagerly searching for food to build up their reserves after all that hard work. Smallmouth bass are a great because of their aggressive and opportunistic nature. Bounce 1/4-inch jigs in earth tone colors along the bottom, pop a top water across the surface near shore or drop shot a four-inch worm in the shallows. Regardless of the method, you're likely going to catch a lot of bass, along with a few bonus rainbow trout.
Burbot: Though there haven't been many reports, some anglers say the burbot fishing is good. Burbot are most abundant in the uppermost reaches of the reservoir in Wyoming, so anglers should start their search there. They are predominantly a nighttime fishery and prefer cooler water and rocky main channel structure. Start fishing at dusk and target depths greater than 30 feet. Use 3/8- 1/2-ounce glow lures, like Yamamoto grubs in luminous white or Northland Buckshot spoons in glow, tipped with sucker or chub meat. Burbot are not nearly as active or aggressive during the summer months, so jig lures slowly and close to the bottom, and move if you're not catching fish. You'll help the Flaming Gorge fishery by harvesting as many burbot as possible. There is no limit on burbot.
- Location: Daggett County
- Directions: Drive 45 miles north of Vernal on US-191
- Type: Blue Ribbon
- Size: 42,000 acres
- Elevation: 6,024 feet
- Hours: No restrictions
- Likely catch: Kokanee Salmon, Lake Trout, Rainbow Trout, Smallmouth Bass
- Possible catch: Brown Trout, Common Carp, Channel Catfish, Cutthroat Trout
- Regulations: To see what statewide or special regulations apply to this waterbody, please read the current Fishing Guidebook.
- Site amenities: A Forest Service campground in the National Recreation Area around the reservioir, and numerous boat ramps
- Handicap access: Access at the Forest Service campground and boat launching facilities
- Site description: The Wyoming end of the reservoir is quite open and can be extremely rough if the wind blows hard. The Utah portion of the reservoir is mostly in a canyon, so it is more protected from the wind.