New fishing regulations take effect January 1, 2012
by Wyoming Game & Fish
December 18, 2011
If you head out to go fishing after the holidays remember that the new year brings changes to the fishing regulations.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2012, anglers can now keep six trout of any size in lakes and reservoirs throughout Wyoming, but only 3 trout from a river or stream, with only one of the three trout over 16 inches. Additionally, anglers may keep only one cutthroat trout over 12 inches across most of western Wyoming, or Areas 1, 2, and 4, which include the Snake, Green, and Wind/Bighorn River drainages. There is also a new statewide lake trout regulation of 6 lake trout with only 1 over 24 inches.
The creel and possession limits for brook trout and mountain whitefish will also change. Previously, anglers could keep up to 16 brook trout, but only six of these fish could be over eight inches. With the new regulations, anglers will be able to keep and possess up to 16 brook trout of any size. The mountain whitefish limit has been reduced from 25 down to six fish daily.
In the Jackson Region, a change for most Snake River tributary streams is a move to close those waters December 1 rather than the current November 1 closure date. There are some exceptions to this, including Flat Creek, which will maintain a November 1 closure date.
"The Dec. 1 closure is consistent with local big game winter range closures," said Jackson Fish Supervisor, Rob Gipson. "Also, with a fishing license included in the purchase of a full price elk license, we feel this would provide elk hunters some additional opportunity with no biological impact to fish populations." The Snake River proper will remain open to catch & release fishing from November 1 through March 31.
One other change will remove the age restriction for anglers on Flat Creek through the town of Jackson, which allowed youth only. "We’re certainly supportive of providing kids as much fishing opportunity as possible, but we didn’t feel like this particular regulation was achieving that goal," said Gipson. "It actually made it illegal for adults to provide much assistance to kids and it prohibited adults with disabilities from fishing those waters."
In the Pinedale Region, both Rock Crib and Wagon Creek lakes near Union Pass will now have a limit of six brook trout per day to help protect those populations. "We also removed the age restriction on the Spring Creek channel near Cokeville," said Pinedale Fisheries Supervisor, Hilda Sexauer. "We felt this would make it easier for parents to fish with their kids, creating more opportunity for anglers of all ages."
In the Lander Region, Shoshone Lake and Shoshone Creek will have a slightly later opening date, being moved back from June 1 to June 15. The main reason for this change is to prevent resource damage that was being caused by anglers trying to access the lake in early June prior to trail readiness. The creel limit at Shoshone will increase from 4 brook trout to 6 brook trout because of healthy fish populations and relatively light harvest. A regulation of six fish daily was added for Upper Brooks Lake due to concerns that excessive harvest of brook trout from this small water could significantly reduce the average size of the catch by anglers.
Fishing regulations are reviewed every two years with changes occurring at the start of even numbered years. It is always a good idea to check the regulations prior to fishing, but it is particularly important to check for any changes at the beginning of an even numbered year. Any changes in the regulations will be highlighted in the new regulation booklet. Please pick one up at your nearest Game and Fish Department office, license selling agent or online at http://gf.state.wy.us.
Anglers are also reminded to purchase a 2012 fishing license before heading out on the first fishing trip of the new year.