Jelm WHMA, Hattie Lake Fisheries Gets Game and Fish’s Attention | New
RAWLINS – The Wyoming Game and Fish is focusing this summer on the habitat and health of two popular fisheries west of Laramie.
A project to restore the Laramie River in the Jelm Wildlife Habitat Management Area will begin this month, focusing on channel stability and improving trout habitat in a 3,000-foot stretch. lines of the river.
“In 2015, the river cut a big bend upstream from fishing access when the flow of the river changed,” said Robin Kepple, Wyoming game and fish public information specialist for the region of Laramie. “Also, the Badger Creek fire burned down there in 2018, dumping a lot of sediment into the river. “
The Laramie and Jelm River Restoration Project is located on the portion of the public fishing easement upstream south of the Jelm WHMA. Over the years, several landowners along the fishing easement have expressed concerns about bank erosion, channel instability and trout habitat, in addition to channel changes and the impacts of fires. in 2018.
“We look at the health of the watershed and the overall health of the stream and the river, and then we reduce the sediment in the river,” Kepple said. “We will be looking at channel stabilization to make sure the banks don’t erode and collapse, which will also improve trout habitat. “
The project will include some realignment of the channel, control of the slope, the stabilization of the timber banks and the improvement of basins and rafts. A narrower and deeper channel will facilitate the transport of fine sediment from the forest fire zone. Deeper ponds created with toe wood will improve fish cover during periods of low flow. An irrigation bypass at the upstream end will be reactivated to provide water to an adjacent pasture.
“This part of the river is managed like a wild trout fishery, which means we don’t stock any fish, and it’s natural reproduction. We mainly focus on brown trout and it is very popular with anglers who want to fish for wild trout, ”said Kepple.
Fishers should be aware that heavy equipment will prevent access to the river at the top of the fishing easement and should expect a temporary reduction in water clarity due to the project sediment. The project will last until mid-October, but will stop during the spawning of brown trout. Any remaining construction will be completed in December.
Project partners include the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Laramie Rivers Conservation District, the Wyoming Wildlife Natural Resources Trust, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Wyoming Water Development Commission.
Nearby, the Game and Fish discovered walleye and smallmouth bass in Hattie Lake during routine fish sampling, likely the result of illegal transplanting.
“We run Hattie Lake like a trout fishery and stock 175,000 trout and some salmon each year,” Kepple said. “Bass and walleye are popular sport fish and people love to catch them, but neither do well in waters managed for trout.”
Illegal fish transplantation is a violation of Wyoming state law. Penalties for moving fish include potential jail time, fines and civil penalties, as well as the possibility of losing hunting and fishing privileges.
Although bass and walleye are popular sport fish, they are rarely compatible with trout fishing because both species feed on trout. If they become established, they are likely to have a significant negative impact on the quality of trout fishing in Hattie Lake and Twin Buttes Reservoir, which is connected to Hattie Lake, according to Game and Fish.
“A fish like walleye can come in and create problems with the food chain,” Kepple said. “Lake Hattie is good trout fishing and our biologists are scientists. They will store fish in places that are suitable for that particular species.
Glendo, for example, is excellent habitat for walleye.
“Glendo has a large population of shads, which are already there to eat. Walleye need a lot of fish to survive, and Lake Hattie doesn’t, ”said Kepple. “It really won’t support a food base like this, but it will support a zooplankton that trout eat.” “
The Jelm area and Lake Hattie are both very busy every summer, she added.
“These are very popular fisheries a short drive from Laramie. We see a lot of fishermen from the region, but also fishermen from out of state, ”she said. “We want to maintain these healthy fisheries that offer a chance to catch good sized fish, whether through restoration or simply by preventing these unwanted species.”