The recent "Burbot Bash" at Flaming Gorge showed the strange invasive fish is doing very well in the big reservoir. DWR reports the event drew some 1,170 anglers and resulted in more than 4,000 burbot being caught and removed from the reservoir. Here are highlights from this DWR news release about the event:
The largest burbot caught by an adult angler weighed 7 pounds and was 35 inches long. The largest burbot caught by a youth was 32 inches long while the smallest was a mere 9 inches.
In two nights, anglers caught 4,287 burbot. That edges the previous record set in 2011 when 485 anglers caught 4,022 burbot in eight nights.
Biologists have tagged 766 burbot in the reservoir since November 2010. That total includes 112 burbot that were tagged in January 2013 with 87 internal passive inductive transponder (PIT) tags and 25 external anchor tags.
A total of 13 tags were returned at this year's event, which ran the nights of Feb. 1 and Feb. 2. The tags included 10 PIT tags, two anchor tags and one sonic tag that had been inserted into a burbot as part of a Utah State University study.
Each tag guaranteed the angler at least $300, with the anchor tags providing the best chance for the biggest money. Mosley says 25 burbot were tagged with anchor tags. "Amazingly," he says, "two of the 25 fish were caught."
Unfortunately, Mosley says, neither of the tags brought the anglers who caught them a big cash prize. "One tag number was only one-digit off from being a $2,500 winner," he says.
The Logan Herald Journal has this interesting article about burbot. It gives background on the fish and talks about potential problems if the burbot population continues to increase at Flaming Gorge. Here's a quote:
Not only do burbot have an odd appearance, they behave oddly as well. During the late spring, summer and early fall these fish are widely dispersed and found in deep water. Come winter they form large spawning congregations. These swirling balls of spawning burbot are found in shallow water, near shore and often under the ice. It is this spawning behavior that explains why most burbot are caught during winter while ice fishing.