CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is asking anglers to temporarily avoid fishing at Muddy Guard Reservoir #1 in Johnson County due to unfavorable conditions for trout. The body of water is located about 16 miles southwest of Buffalo and is “managed to offer anglers trophy-sized Snake River cutthroat and rainbow trout.”
Game and Fish says that water levels at the reservoir are “extremely low” and water temperatures are high.
“Recent water temperature readings at Muddy Guard #1 have been as high as 75 degrees Fahrenheit and maximum pool depth was measured at 13 feet, creating unfavorable conditions for trout, which are cold-water species,” Game and Fish said on Tuesday. “When water temperatures approach 70 degrees, trout become stressed due to low oxygen levels. As temperatures approach 75 degrees, most trout are unable to recover from being caught and released by anglers.”
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Game and Fish said that anglers can help reduce impacts to the fishery by voluntarily choosing not to fish the reservoir.
“We’re asking anglers to temporarily not fish in Muddy Guard #1 to help protect this trophy fishery,” said Sheridan Region Fisheries Supervisor Paul Mavrakis. “We continue to monitor conditions regularly and will notify the public when conditions improve.”
Game and Fish noted that all of northeast Wyoming is in severe or extreme drought that is impacting water availability in a number of water bodies in the area. Anglers fishing in the Game and Fish Sheridan Region are encouraged to follow these practices to avoid unintended fish mortality:
- Fish for trout early in the morning while the water temperature is cooler.
- Carry a pocket thermometer to monitor the water temperature.
- If the water temperature is at or above 65 degrees, consider keeping what you catch within the regulations.
- If the temperature is 70 degrees or higher, do not attempt to catch and release trout.
- 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 trout are being caught and released.
- If a fish is exhausted and cannot hold itself upright, and if regulations allow, consider having it for dinner because the fish has a poor chance of surviving.
“Anglers needing more information can contact the Game and Fish Sheridan Regional Office at 307-672-7418,” Game and Fish said.