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Wyoming Fishing News


 


 


Photo courtesy of WG&F

 

New state record perch caught out of Boysen Reservoir

CHEYENNE – Wyoming has a new state record yellow perch thanks to the efforts of Casper angler Troy Schnepper who reeled in a 2.28 pound fish last week while jigging through the ice at Boysen Reservoir.

 

Schnepper’s fish was 15.25 inches long and had a girth of 12.5 inches. It bested the previous state record which has stood since 1991 by a little more than an ounce. Schnepper has the distinction of being the only person in Wyoming now holding two state fish records. He is the current black crappie record holder for a fish he caught two years ago, also out of Boysen Reservoir.

 

Schnepper, who fishes Boysen often, said he was fishing primarily for crappie, jigging a small spoon tipped with a minnow head when the fish hit. He said the fishing had been good and he had earlier caught three 15-inch crappie, each weighing around two pounds. When the perch took his lure, he thought it was a walleye and on landing the fish thought it might be a new state record. His fish was confirmed as the new record later that day after being weighed on a certified scale.

 

Perch are found in a number of waters in Wyoming. The world record weighing 4 pounds 3 ounces was caught in New Jersey in 1865 is the longest standing fish record in North America.


A complete listing of Wyoming state record fish is on the Game and Fish website wgfd.wyo.gov.


LANDER- The Wyoming Game and Fish Department reminds anglers to brush up on the differences between sauger and walleye, especially while fishing on Boysen Reservoir.

Knowing the difference between a sauger and its close relative the walleye will be especially important for anglers this year because of the high number of age-three, 14- to 17-inch saugers currently in Boysen Reservoir.  The creel limit on saugers in the Wind River drainage is two, whereas six walleyes can be harvested daily or kept in possession.  Sauger and walleye limits in the Wind River drainage are not combined, so an angler can possess up to eight fish as long as no more than two are saugers and no more than six are walleyes. 

Lander Fisheries Biologist, Paul Gerrity stresses “while overall sauger numbers have declined drastically in Boysen Reservoir and rivers upstream over the past decade, a high number of age-3 saugers currently exist in Boysen Reservoir because of a strong 2011 year-class.  We (fisheries biologists) are unsure how many of the saugers that are currently in Boysen will stay there after this year because some adults will move back into the streams to reproduce while others will remain in the reservoir”.

The best way to know the difference between a sauger and a walleye is to look at the dorsal fin.  Saugers have distinct spots along their entire dorsal fin, whereas walleyes have no spots but do have a black patch on the membrane between the last two or three spines.  Saugers also have dark, mottled coloration along the entire length of their bodies and walleyes do not. 

All walleyes and saugers caught in the Wind River drainage must remain whole (gills and entrails may be removed) until the angler is off the water and done fishing for the day.  Once off the water and done fishing for the day, walleyes and saugers may be filleted for transportation and storage.  A piece of skin large enough to allow species identification  (at least one (1) inch square) shall remain on all fish fillets while in transit or in the field.

Signs will be posted at Boysen Reservoir boat ramps to assist anglers in sauger/walleye identification.  Anglers with a sauger possession limit that are having difficulty determining if a fish is a sauger or a walleye are urged to follow the motto “If you don’t know, let it go.”


RIVERTON ANGLER CATCHES 1,000TH CUTT-SLAM

CHEYENNE – When Riverton angler Matt LeClair submitted his paperwork after completing the requirements for Wyoming’s Cutt-Slam he had no idea that his entry would be the one to achieve the milestone of the 1,000th angler for this 17-year-old Game and Fish program.

LeClair who has been fishing all his life, and fly fishing for the last four years, caught all of his “Cutt-Slam” fish this summer on several fishing trips culminating with his catch of a Snake River cutthroat from the Hoback River.

 
In recognition of that milestone, fly fishing equipment manufacturer The Orvis Company has donated a complete fly rod, reel and line combo to the person who achieves that accomplishment. In addition, the Game and Fish will give LeClair a Cutt-Slam shirt and patch.

To complete the Cutt-Slam, anglers need to catch Wyoming’s four subspecies of cutthroat trout in their native range in Wyoming. The four subspecies are the Yellowstone, Snake River, Bonneville and Colorado River cutthroat trout. All who achieve this accomplishment receive a certificate listing the name of the angler, color artwork of the four subspecies and notation on the date and location of each catch.

LeClair said going after his Cutt-Slam was a great experience. “I was able to see new country and fish different waters than the ones I normally fish,” the Riverton native said. “It involved a bit of driving to get to the various streams I fished, but it was well worth it. The country was beautiful and I caught a lot of fish everywhere I went.”

In addition to his Snake River cutthroat from the Hoback River, LeClair also fished the Ham’s Fork River for his Colorado River cutthroat, Hobble Creek for his Bonneville and the Wiggin’s Fork for his Yellowstone cutthroat. LeClair said all of his fish were caught on a size-14 parachute Purple Haze dry fly.

“Reaching this milestone in the program is a tribute to our native trout,” said Mark Fowden, chief of the Fisheries Division. “Although the 1,000th angler was also a Wyoming native, this program has attracted fly fishing enthusiasts from all over the country. We thank Orvis for their help promoting the program.”

Through its17 years, the Cutt-Slam has become very popular. The program has been featured on television shows, fly fishing magazines and numerous newsletters of fly fishing groups. Typically most entries are received in late summer and fall when fishing conditions in high mountain streams are usually very good. This year is no exception -- more than 40 entries have already been received and the Game and Fish anticipates many additional applications in the next few months.

The Cutt-Slam was the idea of the late Pinedale/Green River Fisheries Supervisor Ron Remmick who wanted to draw attention to the management efforts being done on behalf of the cutthroat. He looked at ways to profile Wyoming’s four cutthroat subspecies and the Cutt-Slam was born.

“And most certainly, this milestone is a wonderful tribute to Ron,” Fowden added. “His legacy as an innovative and stalwart fish manager lives on through the Cutt-Slam program.”

One of the key components of the Cutt-Slam is that each of the fish must be caught in their native range in Wyoming. Over the years, several of the cutthroat subspecies have been stocked in waters outside of their native drainages. Cutthroat caught in these waters do not meet the Cutt-Slam’s native range requirement. A map showing the native range of the different drainages where the four subspecies can be found is on the Game and Fish website wgfd.wyo.gov. Click on “Fish and Fishing” then scroll down to the Cutt-Slam program. In addition to the map, a Cutt-Slam application is provided. Also listed are phone numbers of the Game and Fish offices where anglers can contact biologists responsible for fisheries management in each drainage.

Anglers completing the slam have come from 44 states, the District of Columbia and several foreign countries. To qualify, an angler needs to provide a photograph of each fish and information on the date of catch and water where it was caught. There is no minimum size requirement. Releasing fish is encouraged and may be required depending on the regulations for different waters.



NEW STATE RECORD GREEN SUNFISH

CHEYENNE – When Lovell High School sophomore Curtis Purcell saw the sunfish on the end of his line, he knew it was a big sunfish, but didn’t know he had a potential state record until going home, and looking up the Wyoming record on the internet.

He thought his fish was bigger than the current .82 pound record so his next step was taking the fish to a local grocery store where it was weighed in on their certified scale at .93 pounds. All that remained for the fish to be the new record was to have it checked by a fisheries biologist. He left the fish at the Game and Fish Cody Regional Office and it was verified as to species by fisheries management coordinator Steve Yekel.

Curtis said his initial thought was to release the fish, but saw it had swallowed his worm too deeply, so he decided to keep it.

Curtis says he loves to fish and was at Lovell Lakes on July 10 when the large fish took his bait. In addition to the .93 pound weight, the fish was 9.6 inches long and had a girth of 8.8 inches. The old record has stood since 2006, and coincidentally, the previous record was also caught from Lovell Lakes. The world record green sunfish weighed two pounds two ounces and was caught out of a Missouri lake in 1971.


 

Casper Angler Catches Record Black Crappie

 

LANDER—Wyoming’s black crappie state record has been broken for the first time since 1997. The new record black crappie was caught out of Boysen Reservoir on New Year’s Eve.

Casper angler Troy Schnepper set the new record with a fish that weighed in at 2 pounds 7.4 ounces. Schnepper’s fish was 15 3/8 inches long with a girth of 13 1/2 inches. Black crappies are an introduced species that provide diversity to sport fishing at Boysen as many anglers enjoy catching and eating them. Young crappies are a source of forage for larger predatory fish such as walleye and sauger.

Schnepper was fishing for crappie and was jigging a Northland forge minnow lure. He had already caught some good-sized crappies that day, so he knew he was on a decent fishing hole. When the record crappie took hold, Schnepper said it was dragging so much he thought he may have a walleye or sauger. When he pulled the crappie out and set it next to the others, Schnepper said he knew he had a good one. When he arrived home and checked the state record listing, he thought his fish had a chance of breaking the existing record. After getting the fish weighed and verified, Schnepper became the new record holder. The previous state record black crappie was caught on Dec. 4, 1997, at Boysen by Thermopolis angler Edward Hausauer.

To qualify for a new fish record, anglers need to have the fish weighed on a certified scale and have it verified by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. A list of state record fish is at wgfd.wyo.gov.


WATERCRAFT REGISTRATIONS CAN BE RENEWED ONLINE

CHEYENNE – Add watercraft registration renewals to the list of other Wyoming Game and Fish Department products, including licenses and stamps, now available through the convenience of your computer.

Boat owners can go to the Game and Fish website at http://wgfd.wyo.gov, enter their registration number, and use their credit card to get their up-to-date registration. After completing the process boat owners can print off a receipt which will serve as valid registration until the sticker and official registration arrives from the Game and Fish in about two weeks. Renewals are $15 for one year or $40 for three years.

“We appreciate the patronage of Wyoming watercraft owners and welcome them to take advantage of this new convenience,” said Jean Cole, Game and Fish License Section manager. She adds that the online renewal process also gives boat owners the opportunity to buy their aquatic invasive species sticker.

If registering a new boat or transferring the ownership of a boat, the owner will still need to submit the required paperwork to the Game and Fish at a regional or Cheyenne Office.

All watercraft must be registered to operate on Wyoming waters if powered by a motor, internal combustion or electric. More than 28,000, watercraft are registered with the Game and Fish Department.


Q. Is it legal to fish with more than one pole?

A. Wyoming regulation provides that an angler can fish with a maximum of two poles as long as the angler is in attendance. For example, some anglers put one rod out to still-fish with bait and use another to cast lures. The key is the angler must be in attendance.