May 2021 - 44

Fall fishing can be fun and
productive, but if you're after fish
that spawn in the fall - like this
brown trout - the bite can often
be finicky. (Photo by Lisa Ballard)

" It's legal to fish during the spawn. If you keep a few for dinner, it's not going to affect that
species' ability to successfully reproduce. If you can't bear to keep a fish that's spawning due to
your individual ethics, that's fine. If the regulations say you can keep three trout, but only one
over 16 inches, that's to protect the larger reproducing females. It works both ways. Sometimes
we want more harvest. " - Matt Hahn, Wyoming Game and Fish Department fisheries biologist

Modern fisheries
management
Nowadays, closing water to anglers is not a big
consideration, except in those few instances like just
below a major dam. Likewise, stocking is focused on
reservoirs and large river reaches below dams that have
limited spawning habitat. Most of the state's streams
are not stocked, but rather managed for natural, sustainable fish reproduction by working closely with
private landowners, irrigation districts and agencies
like the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau
of Reclamation. The practices of private landowners
and the BLM can have a big impact on stream and
riparian habitats. Irrigation practices can have enormous impacts on sedimentation, stream flows and the
movements of fish. The Bureau of Reclamation works
hard to provide an adequate flush of water below dams
in the spring to clean gravel beds and make sure water
levels remain high enough for fish eggs to hatch. If
angling pressure becomes so high there's a marked
decrease in fish numbers, the number and size of the
fish might decrease but it's unlikely you won't be able
to fish there at all.
44 | May 2021	

" It's legal to fish during the spawn, " Hahn said.
" If you keep a few for dinner, it's not going to affect
that species' ability to successfully reproduce. If you
can't bear to keep a fish that's spawning due to your
individual ethics, that's fine. If the regulations say you
can keep three trout, but only one over 16 inches,
that's to protect the larger reproducing females. It
works both ways. Sometimes we want more harvest. "
Anglers in Wyoming are lucky. There are ample
opportunities to fish for a number of different species.
Relative to other states, there's little fishing pressure.
Closures are few, and most populations of fish reproduce naturally and in large enough quantities to be
self-sustaining, thanks to modern fish management
techniques. That said, if you see a trout sitting on clean
gravel, that fish is busy propagating. Mind where you
walk, too. Wading on redds can kill the eggs. Instead,
cast a line to the fish stacked up in deeper water. You
may catch more fish, and you'll help ensure there are
more around next time.
- An award-winning writer and photographer and a long-time
contributor to Wyoming Wildlife, Lisa Ballard has fished most of
her life and writes frequently about it. She hangs her waders in
Red Lodge, Montana. www.LisaBallardOutdoors.com


http://www.LisaBallardOutdoors.com

May 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of May 2021

May 2021 - 1
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https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/october-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/september-2021
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https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/January2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/December2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/September2020
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