"Mac Attack" fishing contest targets small lake trout

 

January 4, 2024

Wyoming Game and Fish Department photo

Hone your fishing skills and see how you stack up against other anglers during the Mac Attack Fishing Contest, targeting lake trout less than 25 inches at Flaming Gorge Reservoir. The two-day contest is Jan. 13-14. Participants will compete for eight prize categories and enter into five drawings, including two youth drawings. Registered participants can fish from shore, ice, or boat.

The Green River fisheries biologists endorsing the Mac Attack are concerned that the large number of lake trout less than 25 inches in the reservoir consume a significant number of juvenile kokanee. A population estimate completed this year found the number of small lake trout is three times greater than similar estimates from the 1980s, or over 143,000 small lake trout in Flaming Gorge today. Recent research also indicated that juvenile kokanee make up approximately 25% of the diet of small lake trout, suggesting that predation by small lake trout can significantly reduce the population of kokanee salmon and trout in the reservoir. 

Reducing the number of small lake trout in the reservoir will mean more juvenile kokanee, and trout will survive to adulthood and be available for anglers. 

That's where anglers can make a difference.

"Angler harvest can be an effective tool for managing fisheries," says John Walrath, Regional Fisheries Biologist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. "The Mac Attack Fishing Contest is a fun opportunity for anglers to do a little fisheries management by removing small lake trout while competing for numerous prizes. Last January, participants harvested and entered just over 900 small lake trout. This year, organizers hope participants will more than double that number." 

Put together a two to four-person team and have fun while helping the fishery and competing for at least 32 prizes across eight categories. Registration is $50 per person.

In an effort to recruit more anglers and maximize the harvest of lake trout under 25 inches at the contest, participants will be allowed to donate part or all of the lake trout they catch and enter into the contest to Game and Fish at the weigh-in station. As long as fish are available, the Game and Fish will give the donated lake trout to anyone who wants them. 

The donated fish will be available at the weigh-in station between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday and from noon to 1 p.m. on Sunday as supplies are available. Contest participants and the public may take the donated fish home for personal use. Those contest participants who participate in this opportunity will be restricted to their daily limit of 12 fish per day, with 24 in possession. Because the fish have been caught legally and donated to the department, recipients will be able to receive a donation coupon from Game and Fish, allowing them to have the fish in their possession. Members of the public need not have a valid fishing license to receive donated fish. 

"Fisheries management crews from both Wyoming and Utah are concerned with the abundance of small lake trout in Flaming Gorge Reservoir and the impact they are having on numbers of juvenile trout and kokanee," says Robb Keith, Regional Fisheries Supervisor. "We are so concerned that we are trying to develop innovative ways to encourage more harvest on the population of small lake trout in the reservoir."

The Mac Attack fishing contest is an excellent opportunity to have fun fishing and compete for prizes with fellow anglers. 

The Mac Attack contest is an opportunity to encourage the harvest of juvenile lake trout. Like the Burbot Bash, it will benefit the fishery while allowing friendly competition to take home great prizes and help the resource by removing kokanee-eating lake trout from the reservoir.

Find the rules and registration information online at Buckboard Marina's webpage or the contest's Facebook page. 

For tips on catching and cooking lake trout, visit the Flaming Gorge Management webpage.

 

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