Burbot in the Wind River Drainage of Wyoming: Knowledge of Stocks and Management Issues
Wayne A. Hubert, David Dufek, Joseph Deromedi, Kevin Johnson, Scott Roth, and David Skates
Abstract.—Burbot Lota lota are native to the Wind River watershed in Wyoming where they are utilized as a food source by Native Americans and support popular sport fisheries. Burbot are found primarily in three natural-lake systems, Boysen Reservoir on the Wind River, the main stem of the Wind River, and some off-channel man-made lentic systems developed as part of agricultural irrigation projects. Differences in densities, growth, and population structure appear to occur among burbot stocks across the watershed. Known sources of mortality include angling, particularly through the ice during winter, and entrainment of burbot into canal systems that deliver irrigation water to farmlands. It is suspected that the three natural-lake systems serve as sources of burbot recruitment to downstream portions of the watershed. There is a need to assess burbot stocks in lentic waters across the watershed, determine sources of recruitment and downstream movement patterns of juveniles and adults, and identify the effects of angler harvest and entrainment into irrigation canals on the population dynamics of stocks in natural lakes and reservoirs.