Ding-The-Ling derby helps remove illegally-introduced burbot

GREEN RIVER — Looking for a winter recreation opportunity? Get together with your family or friends, make up a creative team name and go fishing! The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has partnered with the La Barge Activities Committee to host a burbot-only fishing derby at Fontenelle Reservoir.

The Ding-The-Ling derby will be held beginning at noon Jan. 14 until 7 a.m. Jan. 16. Entry fees are $40 per adult (age 14 and up) and $20 per youth (age 13 and younger). Cash prizes available in many categories, including the Grand Prize of up to $2,500 for one lucky individual that turns in a tagged burbot. Online registration is available this year. Derby sponsors include SOS Well Services and Eagle Bar and Lounge

Burbot were illegally introduced into the Green River drainage which includes Fontenelle and Flaming Gorge reservoirs. Burbot are a prolific and aggressive predatory fish that have depleted the crayfish (forage) in Fontenelle and suppressed the smallmouth bass population. Burbot also regularly prey upon other sportfish such as trout and kokanee.

“By participating in this and other burbot derbies, anglers are actively helping with management of these waters. Removal by anglers is one effective way to reduce burbot numbers. Burbot are designated as a nongame species west of the continental divide so there is no limit to the number of burbot an angler can keep. This designation provides anglers with an opportunity to stock their freezers with plenty of tasty burbot filets.” Said Robb Keith, Green River Fisheries Supervisor.

Game and Fish appreciates the La Barge Events Committee organizing the La Barge Ding the Ling fishing contest. The event helps spotlight the problem caused by illegally introduced burbot in Fontenelle Reservoir and annually results in a significant number of burbot being removed from the reservoir. It’s a substantial way to help sportfish populations, which in-turn benefits the anglers who enjoy fishing the reservoir year-round.