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"Early snow pack numbers are above average for several areas in the northeast Wyoming. We hope to get good March and April precipitation like in 2007," says Sheridan Fisheries Management Supervisor Paul Mavrakis. "Once runoff starts, streams will likely be high and difficult to fish for a number of weeks."
The lowland lakes and ponds will be in excellent shape right away. Reservoirs, such as Keyhole, Cook Lake, Lake DeSmet, LAK, and MW will all provide excellent early season fishing opportunities.
The 'urban' ponds (Sheridan Fairgrounds, Buffalo Wetlands, Panther Pond in Wright, Mavrakis Pond, Gillette Fishing Lake, Ranchester City Pond and Sundance Fairgrounds Pond) provide great trout fishing opportunities for beginning and experienced anglers alike.
Urban pond stocking began in April and continue until mid-June as the water warms. Angling in these ponds is typically easier before aquatic vegetation increases and warmer temperatures slow trout activity. Stocking resumes in the fall when temperatures, again, cool down.
Sand Creek, located south of Beulah, offers a unique challenge even for an experienced angler. This spring-fed creek is less affected by run-off than other streams in the region. Hard-to-catch browns are abundant but are especially wary in the clear water of the creek.
The high mountain alpine lakes in the Bighorns should produce some quality angling this summer. Stocking programs, in conjunction with wild fisheries, have created good trout populations in most of the more popular lakes. Cutthroat trout are the most common species stocked, but there are a diverse array of opportunities for brown, rainbow, golden and brook trout, as well as grayling, lake trout and splake.
Tie Hack Reservoir, west of Buffalo just off Highway 16, offers anglers an opportunity to catch brook, cutthroat, brown and rainbow trout and is easily accessible to most vehicles.
Special regulations on a section of the North Tongue River and Bull Creek, located west of Burgess Junction along Highway 14A, have enhanced fishing opportunity for anglers seeking catch-and-release cutthroat trout fishing. This reach of river has become very popular with fly and lure anglers who enjoy catching and releasing larger cutthroat trout.
Keyhole Reservoir in southwest Crook County is still experiencing low water levels but is fishable. Fishing should be pretty good this spring and summer, although Keyhole has traditionally been slow fishing at ice out. The reservoir contains many different kinds of fish, including walleye, northern pike, large and smallmouth bass, crappie and channel catfish.
Muddy Guard Reservoirs #1 and #2, located south of Buffalo, should provide good angling this year. Muddy Guard #1 was drained four years ago but restocked soon afterward. This summer trout approaching 20 inches will provide great angling opportunity. Muddy Guard #2’s fish population is primarily maintained with stocking of catchable rainbows, which provides ample opportunity for anglers.
Trout fishing at Lake DeSmet should be good this year. Rainbow trout that have been stocked in recent years are now reaching about 18 inches. Although walleye have established at DeSmet, not many anglers have been successful catching this illegally introduced species.
LAK Reservoir, on private land southeast of Newcastle, contains populations of walleye, tiger musky and smallmouth bass. Walleye and tiger musky are stocked in the reservoir to control green sunfish and provide great angling opportunities. MW Reservoir, located on private land south of Newcastle, produces some nice trout. Trout are stocked annually and grow rapidly in this lake. A free access card obtained from the landowners is required before fishing at LAK and MW. A card for LAK can be picked up at Hardware Hanks in downtown Newcastle. Cards for MW are available at the Four-way Gas and Go located at the junction of highways 85 and 16 in Newcastle.
Anglers should check out the walk-in access areas throughout the region. These areas can be located by using maps found in the 2008 Walk-In Fishing Atlas, available at local license selling agents.
"Take a kid fishing whenever possible," says Sheridan Information and Education Specialist Warren Mischke. "Good luck and have great time fishing in northeast Wyoming!"
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