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Looking to hook a burbot or trout this winter? Sweetwater County, Wyoming is the place to be! With three favorite fishing locations open year round, ice anglers won’t be at a loss for places to drop a line.
Please consult the Wyoming Fishing Regulation for the list of waters that do have a special winter ice-fishing season and also for any closures. As of 2021, Flaming Gorge is included in the list of waters with the special winter ice-fishing season. For more ice fishing regulations, please visit the Wyoming Game and Fish Department website. Check out our guide to the best ice fishing locations this winter and get fishing today!
Located in southwestern Wyoming, Flaming Gorge Reservoir is the most popular ice fishing location near Rock Springs and Green River. Not only is it quite large—91 miles long with more than 350 miles of shoreline—but it is also home to a large variety of fish, including lake trout, rainbow trout, Kokanee salmon, and smallmouth bass. Ice fishing has always been popular for the die-hards on Flaming Gorge Reservoir, but the interest really exploded over the last ten to fifteen years in response to the invasive, illegally-introduced fish species burbot, or ling. Burbot are more active in the winter, opposite of the trout, bass, and salmon in the Gorge and river.
In the winter, anglers try to catch trout and burbot through the ice, particularly in areas such as Firehole on the Green River arm, Halfway Hollow on the Black’s Fork arm, and the Confluence area.
Here are some tips to catch burbot complement of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department:
The Flaming Gorge Reservoir is also home to the annual “Burbot Bash,” which, as a “catch and keep” competition, aims to get rid of as many of the non-native fish as possible. This competition began when the reservoir’s predator burbot population began threatening the reservoir’s native species. Every winter since 2009, the ice fishing contest has offered participants prizes for most, biggest, and smallest burbot caught. Prizes include up to $10,000 of cash and prizes.
Don’t miss out on this annual attempt to control the burbot population in the Flaming Gorge Reservoir—and WIN some prizes while you’re at it! The 2023 Burbot Bash will take place Jan. 27-29. Stay up to date by visiting the Burbot Bash Facebook page.
From Green River, take WY Highway 530 south. From Rock Springs, take US Highway 191 south. From Vernal Utah, take US Highway 191 north. You won’t miss it!
Although much of Fontenelle Reservoir is located in Lincoln County to the north of Sweetwater, it does dip into northwest Sweetwater County. The reservoir is quite a bit smaller than Flaming Gorge, but still sizeable, at up to 20 miles long with about 56 miles of shoreline. In the wintertime, anglers can catch rainbow, brown, cutthroat, and lake trout through the ice, and burbot have also recently established themselves in the reservoir.
La Barge Activities Committee sponsors the annual Ding-The-Ling Ice-Fishing Derby! Teams of two to four are eligible for prizes up to $10,000! Check out the derby poster full of prize details, contest information and registration.
Join in on the fun at Fontenelle Reservoir—get entered into the Ling-Cha-Ching! And WIN many prizes that are great for the whole family and your friends!
Located off Highway 189, approximately 30 miles north of Kemmerer and 24 miles southeast of La Barge, this Green River reservoir is easy to find.
Originally a Bureau of Reclamation Project intended for irrigation, the 85-foot Big Sandy Dam creates a reservoir on the Big Sandy River that now hosts several recreational activities, including ice fishing. Because Big Sandy Reservoir has no on-site law enforcement or manager, ice anglers must fish at their own risk. This 2,500-acre reservoir is home to such fish as brown trout, cutthroat trout, and burbot in the winter. Be prepared to rough it while fishing the Big Sandy Reservoir—the facilities that do exist are very primitive!
Situated to the north of Sweetwater County off Highway 191, about 15 miles north of Farson, Big Sandy Reservoir can only be accessed by a county road. This road is not maintained, so it might require a four-wheel-drive vehicle during periods of heavy rain or snow.
Note: Remember to take added precautions when ice fishing. If ice does not look safe or you are unsure of the conditions, stay off the ice. Four inches of hard, clear ice is safe for anglers on foot. Fish with a friend and tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return. Bring a charged cell phone, ice spikes, fire starter and extra set of clothes. Find more regional information from the Wyoming Game & Fish Department's Green River Regional Office.