November 9, 2014

Burbot Wrangling at Flaming Gorge

This past week I took a day off work in the hopes of catching one of the last remaining species in Utah that I haven't caught. Native to Wyoming, Burbot were illegally introduced to Flaming Gorge 15-20 years ago. There is a catch and kill policy in place for them now, and there are Burbot tournaments held yearly with the Burbot Bash being the most popular.
 
The first view of the Gorge heading toward Buckboard Marina.
 
 
This was my first time going after them, and I booked a trip with Ashley Bonser with Addictive Fishing to increase my chances. I had followed Ashley for a few years where he's made several appearances on TV shows like Hooked on Utah and KSL Outdoors. I was excited to learn first hand the techniques of catching these fish.

A view from the ramp at Buckboard Marina.

Ashley and I were treated to a spectacular sunset as we started fishing.
I met Ashley at Buckboard Marina which is on the Wyoming side of Flaming Gorge.  We headed out around 5 pm. The fishing started out slow, but picked up some as night fell. Ashley taught me what to do and how to rig up, and a short time later I had my first hit. They hit once, and then your rod will load, that's when you set it and forget it. They fight similar to a catfish where even the little guys are fun to catch. Burbot are on the bottom, so you want you jig 1-4 inches off the bottom at all times occasionally jigging you bait. We fished in 30-40 feet of water.

While jigging for Burbot, I got a few surprise Kokanee Salmon that were on the bottom spawning. There are two spawns at the Gorge. An early and late spawn. The early spawn koke's run up the tributaries to spawn while the late run koke's spawn in the lake. I released the two Salmon I caught after a quick picture. They were a great bonus to the trip.

My first ever Burbot! Another species down.

Hen spawning Kokanee caught while going for Burbot.

Buck Kokanee.
In all, I landed six Burbot and two Kokanee. It was an absolute blast, and Ashley taught me enough that I think I could come back up once the ice is on, and catch a few on my own. Ashley also showed me how to clean the Burbot, and taught me a lot about what their diet consists of and where the best places are to catch them. I am definitely planning another trip with him next year, but we'll target Kokanee or the famous giant Lake Trout the the Gorge is renowned for.

Five of the six burbot landed.

The two biggest of the night.
 
Ashley also taught me how to properly clean the Burbot.

He showed me what this Burbot had been eating the past few days.  Looked like Crawdads were on the menu.


1 comment:

  1. Looks like it was a enjoyable trip, how was the burbot for eating?

    ReplyDelete