FLAMING GORGE: Kokanee: Slow to fair fishing but starting to pick up. Fishing is getting better with water temperatures moving into the middle to upper 50s. Many of the fish are being caught in water 10 to 20 feet deep. Try using a planer board to get your lure off to the side. When kokanee are in shallow waters, they shy away from boats and noise. Some are also being caught deeper water, 30 to 40 feet, making them more susceptible to downriggers. Silver dodgers with pink or orange squids trolled around 1.8 mph have worked well. Shorten the leader between the squid and dodger to about 10 inches to put more action in the squid. Vary trolling speeds by doing S-turns and watch the sonar. Put the offering where the fish are marked. Many of the kokanee caught last weekend were in the 17 to 19 inch range in the Utah portion of the reservoir.
Rainbow trout: Rainbow fishing has been hot this last week because the lake has warmed. Rainbows and cutthroat are coming off the spawn, but still look for concentrations of fish near streams and sometimes launch areas. Warning: Others are also looking there and we've seen conflicts this year between anglers along the shore and anglers in boats. Boaters need to have the right of way on the ramp and boat docks when they are launching and pulling out. Rainbows are also found in other areas, look for up to 18-inch-plus rainbows on shallow flats, along cliffs and points in 10 to 20 feet of water trolling small brightly colored spoons, plastic squids or casting using spoons, small tubes and jigs tipped with meal worm. You may also catch some small cutthroat (10 to 14 inches) that were stocked into the reservoir last summer. Anglers also did well for sizeable rainbow trout last week while trolling for kokanee and casting jigs for smallmouth bass, a clear sign of their opportunistic nature.
Lake trout: Reports between storms have indicated spotty fishing. With warmer weather and a bit less wind, anglers should try a slow shallow troll along the flats and sloping shorelines or go deep along the main channel. If you locate a school or find a submerged ridge, try jigging with spoons or white tube jigs tipped with sucker/chub meat. Keep your smaller fish. Removing them will help the fishery, and they provide some tasty treats. Netting conducted last week showed high numbers of smaller lake trout (18 to 20 inches) in Sheep Creek Bay, making this a likely hot spot for both trolling and jigging. Look at the points and breaks along the Red Cliffs.
Smallmouth bass: With water temperatures in the 50s, smallmouth bass fishing is picking up. Try casting jerk baits like Xraps into shallow water and retrieve with a pull, pull, rest cadence. Most of the hits will come on the rest. Don't be surprised to catch rainbow trout or even pup lake trout using this technique. Good colors are silver and pink. With some additional warming, smallmouth bass should start to 'bed-up' in the middle 60s. Smallmouth bass make a tasty meal and it's beneficial to harvest the 10-fish limit. Harvest the more abundant, smaller bass and release the larger ( greater than 12-inches) to live and fight another day.
Burbot: Some anglers have caught fish in the open waters from boats and from the shore. Look for rocky structure (smallmouth habitat) and depths of 40 to 70 feet in the early evening. As the evening progresses, try fishing shallower water to 10 feet, and move around if you're not catching fish. As always, good lures are glow-n-the-dark Yamamoto grubs, Radical Glow tubes and jigging spoons (glow colors) tipped with sucker/chub meat. Thanks to all the anglers, between the tournaments and general fishing. There are thousands fewer burbot eating everything else.