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Win big prizes at the Burbot Bash

MANILA — The Burbot Bash is almost here. The annual event is the perfect way to have fun and catch fish while helping manage the great fishery at Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

The Bash will be held Jan. 23, 24 and 25. It will be followed by the Buckboard Classic on Feb 6, 7 and 8. Anglers who fish both events can qualify for a new prize this year: the Double Tournament Pot.

During the Bash, cash prizes of $1,500, $1,000 and $750 will be awarded to the teams with the most burbot. The largest fish are worth $1,000, $750 and $500 respectively.

Youth anglers can win $100, $75 and $50 in both the largest and smallest fish categories.

All anglers who catch a tagged burbot will also win prizes. Everyone who catches a taqged fish will be placed in the Burbot Bounty where a cash prize, based on the number of entries, will be split among everyone who caught a tagged fish.

In addition, one of the tagged fish is worth $10,000. Two others are worth $2,500 and $1,000 respectively. The three burbot were among 50 fish that received internal PIT tags late last fall.

To learn whether you caught a burbot with an internal tag, simply bring it by one of the tournament check stations, and get it scanned.

“Tagged fish contests are great, because they level the playing field,” says Ryan Mosley, Flaming Gorge project leader for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. “One angler can catch a single burbot and potentially take home more money than those who check in hundreds.”

You can read the rules, register, find check-in sites and other information for the Burbot Bash at burbotbash.com. For the Buckboard Classic, visit buckboardmarina.com.

Help Flaming Gorge

In addition to providing anglers a fun way to earn cash and prizes, the Burbot Bash helps the fishery in Flaming Gorge. It also helps the local communities:

Burbot are an invasive species that was illegally introduced into the Green River and Flaming Gorge. Their voracious appetites are a serious concern to managers who are trying to maintain the high quality fishing opportunities that have made Flaming Gorge famous.

Taking burbot during the event helps remove these unwanted fish.

Ron Stewart, regional conservation outreach manager for the UDWR, says over the years, anglers have removed thousands of burbot during the Burbot Bash and other tournaments.

“Recent trend studies indicate the number of burbot in Flaming Gorge is decreasing,” Stewart says.” Biologists believe anglers are making a difference.”

Stewart says recent studies also show most burbot spawn during the first part of the winter. “So taking fish earlier in the season helps even more because it removes the females before they have a chance to spawn,” he says.

Fish tagged for the contest provide biologists with valuable information about the way burbot grow and move. From the tagged fish, biologists learn about the burbot’s average yearly growth rates; their reproduction rates, timing and spawning areas; and how they move throughout the reservoir.

Anglers also support local businesses during the Bash and other tournaments. Many restaurants, lodging establishments and supply stores, which are typically closed in the winter, stay open for the Burbot Bash and the revenue it brings in.