What To Expect When Fishing Flaming Gorge
My Flaming Gorge Fishing Methods
When Fishing Flaming Gorge we enjoy a 20-foot Lund fishing boat equipped with sonar, G.P.S, and electric motor to ensure you're always over fish. You hook and land your own fish. I provide the tackle, custom-made rods, lures, boat control, lake knowledge, coaching, and tips to assist you in catching the big one. I will show and tell you how, but you do the catching. Vertical jigging with light tackle consisting of 12 lb. line, 1/2 to 1-ounce jigs, and my own custom rods ensures you a battle with each fish. This is much more exciting than trolling with heavy line or down rigging. You actually catch your own fish, not just reel them in after they've already hooked themselves!
This is precision, predatory fishing; not just trolling around waiting to grab a rod from a rod holder. You stand up, hold the rod, and fish! I design some of my own jigs, build my own rods, and have developed special methods to consistently catch these large, wary fish. I locate the fish, position and hold the boat directly over them, tell you exactly when to drop the lure, and watch both the jigs and the fish's reaction on the sonar. Often, I can tell you exactly when to be ready for a strike!
Lure presentations are based on how the fish react to the lure. Sometimes they want it on the bottom, sometimes they want it higher up. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow. You should be completely focused on your presentation, ready for any slight indication of a strike, and ready to set the hook immediately. Bites are subtle with a straight-down presentation. You gotta be focused! I won't kid you, its not easy. The custom rods help to telegraph light strikes and minimize fatigue.
We begin each day around sunrise, usually at Lucerne boat ramp, and usually fish through early afternoon. Each day is different. Most are 6-8 hours. The fish and weather will tell us when to stop. Most fish are caught during the morning hours, though sometimes the bite continues into the afternoon. Breezes and wind can often make afternoon fishing tougher due to the waves hampering your lure presentation and boat control. Calm water is the key to good fishing most days. Also, I don't fish during lightning storms--ever.
I mostly fish the lower two-thirds of the lake, which spans both Utah and Wyoming. You should be licensed for both states unless otherwise advised. Reciprocal stamps are available for either state's license, so you don't need licenses from both states if you buy the $10 stamp for one state's license.
I have spent the better part of the past 30+ years trying to learn as much as possible about catching Flaming Gorge lake trout, including observations with underwater cameras. Over the years, I have developed special lures and techniques specifically for Flaming Gorge, and fished every little nook and cranny of the lake. With over 4,500 fishing days on Flaming Gorge, I feel I'm as knowledgeable about these lake trout as anyone, and can pass pieces of this knowledge on to you with each trip.
Flaming Gorge Lake Trout Seasonal Patterns
Capt. Jim Willams, Full-Time, Professional Guide
My goal is to put you on fish and give you the best opportunity to catch them. I don't guide on a clock, or charge by the hour. I do whatever it takes to get you into fish. My service is very personalized to each client's different wants and needs. I use only top-notch equipment, and often fish with jigs that others on the lake aren't using. I guide over 100 days annually on Flaming Gorge.
My Boats For Fishing Flaming Gorge
Lowrance HDS-8 GPS/Sonars, Custom Maps, Minn Kota electric
Lowrance Sonar, GPS, Custom Maps, Minn Kota Electric
Location And Climate
At 6000 feet in elevation, this is a cool, arid, high-desert climate for the most part. It can and will snow anytime between early September and late June. However, snowfall is infrequent from June-Oct. Spring and Summer thunderstorms are common, though usually short-lived, with more lightning and wind than precipitation.
January and February usually mean a frozen pond and cold periods. HOWEVER, on some years, it brings the best fishing of the year on the nicer days between stormy periods. There are no crowds and fishing is terrific! Mornings below freezing sometimes lead to afternoon temperatures in the 40's! A special time in certain years.
March and April also bring some great fishing in uncrowded conditions. Storms can blow up any time, and weather is often wet with rain or snow. The calm days are spectacular though.
May and early June weather is usually calm and nice in the mornings, and windy in the afternoons. Be prepared for quick changes when spring cold fronts roar through. It can go from 80 degrees to 30 in a few hours. Perhaps the most popular time of the year, meaning good fishing and lots of company on the lake.
Late June through August normally brings hot summer days in the high 70's and 80's, with an ever-present chance of an afternoon thunderstorm. Fishing becomes very stable and productive. The later, the better. 90+ degree days are generally rare, though we do get a few. This is the only time I've never seen snow here.
September and October are the driest months, cooler, with a shower or skiff of snow once in a while when a moist front passes. Crowds thin as school starts and hunting seasons begin. I love September weather and fishing. Last good shot at the big fish until after the spawn.
November and December are cold with lake fog common in the mornings. Morning temps are below freezing and highs often remain below freezing. Be prepared, but post-spawn fish are hungry! Fish between the storms. Crowds are gone again. Chains sometimes required to launch (I have them!)