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Transplanting Bass into The Flaming Gorge Wyoming Side

The Flaming Gorge Dam is a famous figurehead in north-eastern Utah. It is located around 32 miles from the Utah-Wyoming border. This concrete structure is well known for its height length of 1,286 feet. The Flaming Gorge dam contains 987,000 cubic yards of concrete and is known to hold shelter and protection to a multitude of species of fish. Some of the key species that are commonly found in the Flaming Gorge include Lake trout, Kokanee salmon, channel catfish, and smallmouth bass. The Flaming Gorge though well known for fish species, is known to be a haven for fishing. Certain types of fishing are allowed in the waters of the Flaming Gorge. Some of these types of fishing include shore-side fishing and Boat Fishing.

As an event that has been held on the Flaming Gorge multiple times over several years, transplanting smallmouth bass, is something that is known to be one of the top priorities in protecting the species. The reason for this event, however, is due to the introduction of a species of fish. Burbot is also known as freshwater lingcod. They are a type of fish that are more commonly found in British waters. They were known to be a particular delicacy in the 19th century. As to how they are now residing in the Flaming Gorge Dam, many suggest that they were illegally introduced into the reservoir.

Although many species of fish suffered from the introduction of the new fish, the smallmouth bass was known to be the most affected. Studies conducted by experts showed that by the introduction of the new fish, smallmouth bass numbers declined to as much as 90 percent. This was due to the predatory traits of the burbot, which affected the smallmouth population greatly. The Utah side of the dam, however, estimated that smallmouth bass numbers continued to grow. The Utah side held healthy populations of bass fluctuating from fry to 20 inches from tip to tail. Though restocking remains to be one of the most popular requests and options in the rehabilitation of the species, it continues to be denied. This is due to the regulations put into place, about restocking fish species from outside sources.

Smallmouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass

Transplanting Smallmouth Bass

Though there are many regulations put into place, a small and growing group of anglers are dedicated to the rehabilitation and transplantation of the species of fish. This group of anglers are a combination of the Utah and Wyoming Bass Federal Nation, the Division of Wildlife resources and as well as the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. These organizations banded together to create a smallmouth bass transplant day. Where participants can join by signing a small two-page document that allows them to carry more than the legal limit allowed. However, the caught bass must be under 12 inches in length. The caught bass will be placed in live wells where they will be delivered to a specific drop off point where officials will collect them and transplanted into the Wyoming side. Statists show that, as long as you release more smallmouth bass than you take home, the Wyoming side of the Flaming Gorge reservoir will be able to revive the original population of smallmouth bass in a short decade.