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Win cash, prizes at the Burbot Bash

Anglers can cash in on prizes while removing a threat to Flaming Gorge

MANILA — The last weekend of the Burbot Bash is almost here. The annual event is the perfect way to have fun and catch fish while helping manage the great fishery at Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

Winter is a great time to fish for burbot at Flaming Gorge.

Winter is a great time to fish for burbot at Flaming Gorge.

Photo by Matt McKell

The bash, which started in November, ends with a bang during the weekend of Jan. 24, 25 and 26. During the weekend, cash prizes of up to $2,500 will be awarded to the five teams with the most fish, five teams with the biggest fish and five teams with the smallest fish.

This year, a lease for a new truck will also be given away.

Anglers who catch tagged fish at any time during the bash will also win prizes. One of the tagged fish is worth $25,000, two are worth $10,000 each and one is worth $5,000. At a minimum, tagged fish are worth $200 in cash or an award of equal value.

Anglers must have their fish scanned at a check station to learn whether they caught a burbot with an internal tag.

"Tagged fish contests are great, because they level the playing field," says Ryan Mosley, Flaming Gorge project leader for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. "One angler can catch a single burbot and potentially take home more money than those who check in hundreds."

You can register for the Burbot Bash, or learn more about it, at www.burbotbash.com.

Growing in popularity

So far this year, anglers have checked in more than 1,125 burbot. Six anglers have collected money after catching burbot with tags in them.

Last year, excellent ice conditions and prizes drew 1,170 participants to the bash. They caught and removed more than 4,000 burbot in two days of fishing. This year, the prize pool is even larger. If all of the prizes are claimed, more than $100,000 in prizes will have been won.

"The success of last year's bash was a pleasant surprise," says Brian Raymond, one of this year's event organizers. "We've geared up for this year."

Help Flaming Gorge

In addition to providing anglers a fun way to earn cash and prizes, the Burbot Bash helps the fishery in Flaming Gorge. It also helps the local communities:

  • Burbot are an invasive species that was illegally introduced into the Green River and Flaming Gorge. Their voracious appetites are a serious concern to managers trying to maintain the high quality fishing opportunities that have made Flaming Gorge famous.

    Taking burbot during the event helps remove these unwanted fish.
  • Fish that are tagged for the contest provide biologists with valuable information about the way burbot grow and move. From the tagged fish, biologists know the average yearly growth for burbot, their reproduction rates and how they move throughout the reservoir.
  • Anglers also support local businesses during the bash. Many restaurants, lodging establishments and supply stores, which are typically closed in the winter, stay open for the Burbot Bash and the revenue it brings in.

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