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Thread: Flaming Gorge trip report.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Default Flaming Gorge trip report.

    I just got back from 3 days at the Gorge. The target fish was kokanee. Two of us started Tuesday at Buckboard with arrival about 9 AM. We fished until about 1:30 PM when the wind forced a halt. Our total for our 4.5-hour effort was 1 kokanee and 1 cutthroat in the box.

    On Wednesday morning, we were on the water and lines down at 6 AM. Again, we fished until 1 PM. Our take was 1 kokanee, 1 cutthroat, & 1 rainbow in the box.

    Nobody we talked to on the lake or at the cleaning station did much better. 1 to 4 fish per boat was the norm.

    On Thursday morning we went to the Sheep Creek area. Dropped our lines at 6:30 AM and had 3 kokanee in the box in 5 minutes. It slowed way down on kokanee after that first flurry, but the planter rainbows kept us busy all morning. We also put a laker pup in the box. We quit at Noon with 7 kokanee in the box with all of them between 1 and 1.5 pounds. We C&Ríd a couple dozen of 7-8Ē bows and one 14Ē cutthroat. We also released 2 or 3 kokanee in the 6-7Ē range.

    Reports from any area on the Wyoming side are about the same all the way from Anvil to Buckboard. We even heard a report that one of the guides offered his clients, who specifically wanted to fish the Buckboard area, a refund because he couldnít guarantee them a successful outcome in that area.

    If youíre looking for a full limit of 3# plus kokanee, Iím afraid you are going to be disappointed. If size isnít a priority and a limit of good eating size salmon is a winner, then you might do okay on the Utah side in the Sheep Creek/Hideout area.

    If you havenít been to the Gorge yet this year, let me warn you that the number of boats you will encounter if you go is going to be 2 or 3 times more than you have seen in past years. The fishing pressure has been HUGE this year and is probably part of the reason for the lower success rate this year.

    Good luck if you go; youíre going to need a bunch of it.

    Bob Hicks, from Utah - Iím 79 years young and going as hard as I can for as long as I can.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Steamboat Springs,CO
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    59

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    Thanks for the comprehensive report.

  3. #3

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    That is pretty much the experience we had on the Utah side about 2 weeks ago. We fished out of Cedar Springs, 2 days with a guide and 1 day on our own. We caught 3 kokanee, one lake trout pup, and maybe a dozen rainbows in the 10-14" range. Biggest Kokanee was around 14 inches. We hit a number of spots from the Marina to Linwood Bay. Highlight of the trip was hooking a big Laker that the guide estimated was 25 pounds. It got off at the boat when it straightened out a stainless snap swivel with a safety catch. Probably made in China. No one we talked to was doing very good on anything, and no one had an explanation. As you note, there were plenty of boats on the water.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Cache Valley, Utah
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    358

    Default no luck better than bad luck

    Well, given the bad luck we encountered last week, lack of luck is not a biggee.

    First off, let me say that my fishing partner Bill takes good care of his equipment, not so much himself anymore but takes it to professionals for regular maintenance and whenever something looks even a little out of line. He is an ex-fighter jet pilot, and used to check and recheck. Still, stuff happens.......

    We left last Monday for the Gorge, and Billís Ford diesel lost its top end of the turbocharger east side of Evanston but we made it less than full power and leaving trail of black smoke on any uphill. Bill had noticed periodic black smoke earlier this month and had it checked by mechanic, but they did not find anything.

    Launched anyway at Lucerne and that evening had great steak dinner and looked over all connections for turbocharger system and considered options for truck. Found one connection kind of keewampus, and redid that not convinced it was the problem, but couldn't hurt.

    Went out next morning (thankfully only past stateline and pipeline) and had issues with the kicker and then the main engine. Bill just had the motors serviced last week, but they had neglected to hook up the internal hose when they replaced impeller on kicker so it was not cooling just pumping water out the top of the lower unit. So we trolled with the main motor as Bill has done many times before at Powell for stripers although a bit fast for kokanee. Well, after half hour warning went off for motor probably an overheat though not too out of line on the guages. Anyway, we packed up and decided to just go in but the motor was totally bogged down and we limped in. Called couple places and they all said Ďrun it outí. So tried that for 45 min, but no go. Could smell fuel/exhaust every time it bogged, and deduced that prudence deemed better safe than sorry.

    Bottom line is we had the marina pull the boat and put it in storage for month so we did not have to pull it back (it is big boat and also have camper on truck). We made it back fine although still blowing black smoke on uphill or accelerating when needing the turbocharger. Will go back for boat once truck is fixed (dealer can't get to it until 7th), and then take boat for its turn at rehabilitation back here in Utah.

    If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all.
    Last edited by smokepoles; 07-30-2021 at 09:24 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Harrisville, Utah
    Posts
    2,658

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    Tough kokanee bite seems to be the norm no matter what lake you fish this year. The Gorge hasn't treated me too good this year coming home with 1 or sometimes 2 fish a trip. As far as boat traffic it shows sign of a hammering in place. Most of my trips have been to Strawberry yielding same results. A report I received a couple of days ago is Flaming Gorge has increased flows out of the dam so water levels should be dropping more significantly.
    2000 F250 7.3L Diesel
    2007 Columbia 2018 Fisherman XL Yamaha F150 Yamaha 9.9 kicker 4 Walker Electric Downriggers Raymarine Element HV 9 Uniden Solara VHF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Mormon Mecca
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    Quote Originally Posted by smokepoles View Post
    Well, given the bad luck we encountered last week, lack of luck is not a biggee.

    First off, let me say that my fishing partner Bill takes good care of his equipment, not so much himself anymore but takes it to professionals for regular maintenance and whenever something looks even a little out of line. He is an ex-fighter jet pilot, and used to check and recheck. Still, stuff happens.......

    We left last Monday for the Gorge, and Billís Ford diesel lost its top end of the turbocharger east side of Evanston but we made it less than full power and leaving trail of black smoke on any uphill. Bill had noticed periodic black smoke earlier this month and had it checked by mechanic, but they did not find anything.

    Launched anyway at Lucerne and that evening had great steak dinner and looked over all connections for turbocharger system and considered options for truck. Found one connection kind of keewampus, and redid that not convinced it was the problem, but couldn't hurt.

    Went out next morning (thankfully only past stateline and pipeline) and had issues with the kicker and then the main engine. Bill just had the motors serviced last week, but they had neglected to hook up the internal hose when they replaced impeller on kicker so it was not cooling just pumping water out the top of the lower unit. So we trolled with the main motor as Bill has done many times before at Powell for stripers although a bit fast for kokanee. Well, after half hour warning went off for motor probably an overheat though not too out of line on the guages. Anyway, we packed up and decided to just go in but the motor was totally bogged down and we limped in. Called couple places and they all said Ďrun it outí. So tried that for 45 min, but no go. Could smell fuel/exhaust every time it bogged, and deduced that prudence deemed better safe than sorry.

    Bottom line is we had the marina pull the boat and put it in storage for month so we did not have to pull it back (it is big boat and also have camper on truck). We made it back fine although still blowing black smoke on uphill or accelerating when needing the turbocharger. Will go back for boat once truck is fixed (dealer can't get to it until 7th), and then take boat for its turn at rehabilitation back here in Utah.

    If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all.
    Dude - OUCH! That sucks big time. Did you happen to notice if this guy was hidding somewhere in the truck or on the boat?


    Bob Hicks, from Utah - Iím 79 years young and going as hard as I can for as long as I can.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bduck View Post
    Tough kokanee bite seems to be the norm no matter what lake you fish this year. The Gorge hasn't treated me too good this year coming home with 1 or sometimes 2 fish a trip. As far as boat traffic it shows sign of a hammering in place. Most of my trips have been to Strawberry yielding same results. A report I received a couple of days ago is Flaming Gorge has increased flows out of the dam so water levels should be dropping more significantly.
    That is correct.
    Quote Originally Posted by newsdata.com
    Lake Powell is at 33 percent of capacity, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's July 19 report. The full Lower Colorado River system is now at 41 percent of capacity, with 24,289 thousand acre-feet of water.

    Ongoing releases from Flaming Gorge Reservoir are being made "to boost the level of Lake Powell for the purpose of guarding hydropower generating capability," the Drought Monitor reported.
    And it's going to get worse starting tomorrow.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Colorado Sun
    Flaming Gorge Reservoir, on the Green River in Utah and Wyoming, will let an extra 13,000 acre-feet of water flow down river toward the Colorado in July, jumping to 42,000 acre-feet in August. By fall, Flaming Gorge will have contributed a total of 125,000 acre-feet to protect Lake Powellís hydroelectric pool.
    And with all of the local reservoirs at or below record low levels, I may be all done with fishing for this season with only 2 boat launches so far. At least the drought is not preventing me from breaking clay targets on a regular basis.

    Bob Hicks, from Utah - Iím 79 years young and going as hard as I can for as long as I can.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    North Ogder
    Posts
    225

    Cool

    Smokepoles that sounds like a tough trip.

    I fish the Gorge once or twice a week and I am seeing the same thing. One day you will look like a hero and get limits in no time and go out the next day and struggle to get one.

    The Mac fishing has been the same, I am not sure what is going on with that either.

    They doubled the flow going out of the lake last week and I think that will continue for another few weeks.

    I had an excellent start to the season this year and thought it was going to be a great year but that switched around the first of July.

    I will still take a bad day of fishing over a good day of work..

  9. #9

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    Smokepoles, after reading your story, I feel pretty lucky. I hope you do better when you go back to get the boat.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Rock Springs Wy
    Posts
    126

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    Conditions are tough and I know the local guides are feeling the pressure. I've been fishing kokes at the gorge for near 30 years, and this is one of the toughest seasons I can remember. I fished this last Saturday and sunday, and never hooked a koke despite countless marks on my fish finder. The recent monsoon rains we received have left the lake covered in huge mats of grease wood/sage brush and other floating debris but the water levels were up from previous weeks. So with any luck as the kokes begin their morph to spawing they'll turn back on. I'm heading to the Berry this weekend, I've never fished it but have high hopes of boating a couple there.

    Cheers all,

    Mike
    The Experiment Requires That You Continue!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    West Haven, UTAH
    Posts
    1,123

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    SuperD and I fished for two days this past week and like everyone else really struggled. We found some willing Rainbows and one small pup laker on day one with no kokes out of Buckboard. Day two had us launching out of Sheep creek with lines in at 5:45 am. Marking fish both days with good numbers. Day two brought us a few small bows and 6 kokes in the canyon around the red cliffs. weather was better than planned. Rained at home, however Manila was a few drizzles and much cooler temps. Great company, food and the whiskey is always good in the evening relaxing. I dont know what is all contributing to the declining catch rates. While I can think of a number of things that could or could not be contributing, I would love to here from a few bioligists to see their thoughts on the whole situation. Going to be really interesting the next few years to see what direction things go up there.
    Team:Rocky Mountain Tackle, Radical Glow, Fresh water basics, Velocity fishing.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Harrisville, Utah
    Posts
    2,658

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    Glad to here one of your days was salvaged with kokes. Dan & I was at the Berry Wednesday with only 1 koke. Its feast or famine trips anymore.
    2000 F250 7.3L Diesel
    2007 Columbia 2018 Fisherman XL Yamaha F150 Yamaha 9.9 kicker 4 Walker Electric Downriggers Raymarine Element HV 9 Uniden Solara VHF

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