The Burbot Bash has arrived. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Flaming Gorge Project Leader Ryan Mosley sent in this report and some useful information.
As of last weekend UDWR and WGFD biologists completed tagging burbot for this year's Burbot Bash, scheduled February 1st-3rd. Visit this website to find more information and to register. Participants can also register in-person at the opening ceremony at Buckboard Marina on February 1st, from 1-5 PM.
This year's tournament is structured differently from the previous two years. Last week, 25 burbot were tagged with external floy tags just right of the dorsal fin (see pic). These tags are about the diameter of a spaghetti noodle, red in color, and have a unique 4-digit identification number. Of these 25 tagged burbot, three will be randomly selected and worth big cash prizes of $10,000, $2500, and $1000. Additionally 87 burbot were tagged with internal PIT tags, adding to the three year total of 755 tagged burbot. All burbot caught during the derby should be brought to the check-in locations where they will be scanned for PIT tags. At a minimum, derby organizers will award $100 for any burbot that is scanned with a PIT tag or has a red floy tag at the time of check-in(s). Of course there are also cash prize categories for most fish, largest fish, and youth largest and smallest fish.
Anglers or participants should also be aware that 31 burbot were tagged last November by Utah State University researchers. These burbot have an internal acoustic tag so researchers can track their movement throughout the reservoir. They are easily identified by a green floy tag near the dorsal fin. If one of these burbot is caught in Wyoming, it should be released so researchers can continue their movement study. If one of these burbot is caught in Utah, anglers should keep it and contact UDWR at (435)885-3164 so a biologist can retrieve the fish and tag.
I've also included a map showing anglers the number of burbot tagged in each area of the reservoir. This includes PIT and floy tagged fish from 2011 to present. It could be helpful as tournament participants come up with their strategy for the derby!