Illegal Ling found in Fontenelle Reservoir
October 24, 2005
Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGF) fisheries crews have discovered illegally introduced burbot, or ling, in Fontenelle reservoir in southwest Wyoming. The non-native ling were discovered by crews doing fall gill net sampling upstream from the city of Green River, according to a WGF news release Friday.
Green River Fisheries Biologist Craig Amadio says that is bad news for anglers. "Burbot are very aggressive predators and will likely feed on wild juvenile brown trout, stocked rainbow trout and kokanee in Fontenelle Reservoir," Amadio said. "They also compete with large trout for food and habitat and negatively impact native nongame fish and forage fish populations."
"Burbot will eventually move upstream from Fontenelle Reservoir and establish populations in the upper Green River and finger lakes near Pinedale. They will also drift downstream, contributing to the expanding illegal burbot populations already established in the lower Green River and Flaming Gorge Reservoir. Unfortunately this means burbot are now present in the entire Green River watershed – in other words they are here to stay."
The discovery of this eel-like, predatory fish is another serious blow to the quality fisheries the Game and Fish is working hard to maintain for all anglers – not for the few selfish individuals who want their favorite fish everywhere they wish.
WGF aggressively manages against illegally introduced fish populations and will continue to do so. Illegal introductions of fish into Wyoming’s waters, accidental or intentional, put fisheries at risk not only at the site of introduction, but also upstream and downstream waters within the drainage. Introduction of any non-native fish can severely affect both native fish populations and sport fisheries, and is very costly for the state to manage and try to eliminate undesirable fish species.
Wyoming fisheries managers carefully survey the waters in Wyoming, to keep its fish-disease epidemics to a minimum and maintain world-class fishing opportunities throughout the state. Illegal fish introductions threaten these opportunities for all anglers.
WGF hopes to catch the person or persons responsible for introducing the illegal burbot to Fontenelle Reservoir. Besides a fine and possible jail time, those responsible may be required to pay the restoration costs for the damage it will cause to the Fontenelle Reservoir and Green River trout fishery.
Anyone with information about this incident, or who wishes to report any suspicious fish transportation or introduction activity, can call the Stop Poaching Hotline (800) 442-4331 or the Green River WGF office at (307) 875-3223.