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As ice fishing season arrives, anglers encouraged to keep small lake trout at Wyoming’s Boulder Lake

Small lake trout. (Wyoming Game and Fish)

CASPER, Wyo. — With ice fishing season arriving, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is encouraging anglers to keep lake trout they catch at Boulder Lake southeast of Pinedale.

Spring sampling suggested there is an overabundance of lake trout under 24 inches that may be limiting the fishery at Boulder Lake, Game and Fish said on Tuesday.

“Angler harvest of these small, tasty fish is one of the best ways to remedy the situation,” Game and Fish said on Tuesday. “By keeping limits of lake trout, anglers can free up resources for remaining fish, leading to bigger lake trout and better rainbow trout and kokanee fishing.”

When lake trout reach about 15–18 inches, their diet shifts from aquatic invertebrates to other fish. Once that happens, fish managers tend to see “an overabundance of small, skinny lake trout competing for food, with few fish making it to larger-size classes preferred by anglers (>30 inches),” Game and Fish said.

“Winter is a great time to target lake trout through the ice and smaller fish (<24 inches) make great table fare,” the release added.

Anglers can keep up to six lake trout per day caught in Boulder Lake. Only one fish per day can exceed 24 inches.

“Boulder Lake is part of Wyoming’s special winter ice fishing provision, meaning that anglers may use up to six lines at a time when fishing through the ice (See Wyoming fishing regulations for details),” Game and Fish added.

The release also provided some advice for ice fishing Boulder Lake:

Fishing underwater ridges, flats, bars and humps next to deep water is often productive during morning and evening hours. At that time, fish are located on these structures, close to the bottom. Vertical jigging grub jigs, tube jigs and rattle spoons tipped with sucker meat, frozen bullheads (sculpin) or grubs/worms works well. One-quarter to half-ounce glow jig-heads are commonly used. Dead-sticking, or leaving a baited lure sitting on, or just off the bottom, can also be effective. Low memory braided lines tipped with a fluorocarbon leader (8–10 pound test) will help anglers detect subtle bites. Fish finders, or flashers, can be helpful for finding fish and fish-holding structures, but if you don’t have one, try setting lines at multiple depths and distances until you locate fish.

Access to Boulder Lake during winter can be tricky without a snowmobile, but the lake typically freezes early enough to allow some great ice fishing before roads become impassable by car or truck. Please don’t hesitate to contact the Pinedale Game and Fish office regarding road and ice conditions at Boulder Lake this winter. As always, anglers are encouraged to follow fish consumption advisories and review fishing regulations before heading out. Have fun and stay safe on the ice this winter!       Wyoming Game and Fish