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Yesness pond temperatures ‘near lethal’ for trout; officials urge anglers to adjust practices

Dad Keith, Gabriela, Adelia, and Breckyn at Yesness Pond for Free Fishing Day Saturday, June 5, 2021 (Gregory Hirst)

CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Game and Fish Department said Monday that high water temperatures are resulting in “some trout mortality” at Yesness Pond.

According to the Game and Fish Casper Regional Office release, the temperature in the pond was 75 degrees Monday morning, which is “near the lethal temperature for trout.”

“We had several members of the public report dead trout in Yesness, and we appreciate these reports,” said Matt Hahn, Casper Region fisheries supervisor.

“Unfortunately, it may get worse before it gets better.”

Hahn said it is likely people will see stressed trout in other low elevation and small waters around the region. Game and Fish added that the agency is well aware of the situation and the public no longer needs to report sightings of stressed fish.

Anglers are encouraged to fish earlier in the day and consider keeping their catch for dinner (if regulations allow), especially if the fish cannot hold itself upright in the water, as it is unlikely to survive.

The green sunfish and channel catfish that also inhabit Yeness are unaffected by the warm temperatures, Game and Fish said.

Places like Bryan Stock Trail Pond (Lake MacKenzie), the 33-Mile Ponds, and many small streams such as Deer Creek, Boxelder Creek, and LaPrele Creek with current low water flows may also see signs of stressed trout.

Anglers are reminded to:

  • Fish early in the morning while the water temperature is cooler.
  • Carry a pocket thermometer and monitor the water temperature.
  • Consider keeping what you catch within the regulations if the water temperature is at or above 70 degrees.

As water temperatures increase, using the proper techniques to catch and release a fish becomes increasingly more important to help ensure the fish has a chance to survive:

  • Play and land fish as rapidly as possible to reduce exhaustion stress.
  • Keep the fish in the water as much as possible.
  • Do not squeeze the fish or place fingers in the gills.
  • Remove the hook gently. If hooked deeply, cut the leader.
  • Flies and lures are recommended whenever many fish are being caught and released.
  • Barbless hooks allow easier hook removal.
  • If a fish is exhausted and cannot hold itself upright, and if regulations allow, consider having it for supper because it has a poor chance of surviving.