At the time of this writing (2003) the upper half of Flaming Gorge had ice and some people were successfully fishing for lake trout. The lower half of the reservoir had open water, the ramps were useable and people were trolling for rainbows.

Conditions could change from day to day. Today it is almost 50 degrees outside and it feels like spring is coming. Of course a winter storm could blow in and quickly take us back to winter conditions. Always check the weather and ice conditions before you go.

Ice fishing for the big lake trout can be great sport. The best fishing is usually in areas which have recently frozen. In general, smaller fish are caught on the north end of the reservoir and the fish become larger as the ice progresses southward.

The Firehole on the Green River arm, Halfway Hollow on the Black's Fork arm, and the Confluence area are all popular with ice fishermen after lake trout. Fish 18-21 inches long are commonly caught.

Farther south the water coptains more larger fish. The Current Creek Bay and Buckboard areas should now have safe ice and offer a chance for trophy lakers. Success usually improves when the Big Bend ices up (which should happen any time now). Action usually stays good through mid-February.

Most years ice will form in Lucerne and Sheep Creek bays by late January — but don't count on it this year.

Lures or marabou jigs tipped with cut bait (dead minnows, sucker meat) are very effective for lake trout. 1/4 to 1/2 ounce jigs are popular, the heavier ones used when fishing deeper water. White, chartreuse, black and silver are good colors. Krocodiles, doctor spoons and airplane jigs also work.

Rainbows and brown trout are also being caught in all of the areas named above. They are most often caught in water 8-12 feet deep.

A fish finder is essential when ice fishing for lakers. It helps locate fish and allows the angler to be certain he is getting his jig or lure down to the fish.

The best fishing for lake trout occurs from first light until about 10 a.m. Some lakers are also caught in the evening.