Scientific Flaming Gorge Monster

Stephen Klobucar

Logan UT

As part of a state-funded research project examining the competitive effects of an invasive and exploding burbot population in Flaming Gorge Reservoir, we (research scientists from Utah State University) targeted large lake trout in February 2013. The goal of this sampling was to acquire diet data from large lake trout for comparison with diets of large burbot. Over three days with the assistance of Ashley Bonser at Addictive Fishing Flaming Gorge Charters, LLC, we had caught, sampled, and released 6 lake trout over 25 lbs. and many other fish in the 15-25 lb range, but on it was until the final day we collected our largest "sample". This fish was playing cat and mouse with my 7" Berkley tube jig. While watching my Vexilar I raised the fish from the bottom of the reservoir up to 50' deep when the mark suddenly stopped and seemingly gave up chase. I dropped my jig back down to its level and BAM, the fight was on... 30 minutes later on a 32" heavy Berkley Lightning Ice Rod coupled with an Abu Garcia Cardinal spinning rod spooled with 15 lb. Berkley Trilene 100% fluorocarbon, this 44" 36+ lb. monster emerged from the dual 10" ice hole. We pumped its stomach contents via a process called gastric lavage, clipped a small portion of fin for isotopic analyses, snapped a few photos, and released the Behemoth to fight another day. Amazingly, the trophy laker had already eaten 6 kokanee salmon ranging from 8-12" when it took my tube jig. An incredible ending to a great week of "hard work" and research on Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

Species: Lake Trout

Date Caught: 02/22/2013

Kept / Released: Released

Region of Catch: Region 3

Length: 44"

Weight: 36+

Lure / Bait used: Lure | 7" Berkley tube jig (white)

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