For years Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area has attracted more than 1 million tourists annually, but generally only a few thousand hardy fishermen would visit the area in the dead of winter.
"We want to change that. We want people to know this is really a year-round recreation area," said Gary Stolz of the Ashley National Forest's Flaming Gorge Ranger District.The 91-mile-long Flaming Gorge Reservoir will always be popular during the winter for fishermen hoping to hook a lunker trout, when the monster German brown, lake trout and rainbows come up from the depths during colder weather.
Lake trout exceeding 50 pounds have been caught in Flaming Gorge, and the man-made lake once was the site of the German brown world record - 33 pounds and 10 ounces.
But Stolz said, "The Green River below the dam also is one of the nation's blue ribbon trout streams. And, it's become a year-round fishing attraction."
For the non-fishermen, or anglers with some extra time, he said, the visitors center is open daily during the winter "and the Bureau of Reclamation has self-guided tours at Flaming Gorge Dam."
The Lucerne, Greendale and Dripping Springs campgrounds also will remain open this winter. And, depending on lake ice conditions, the Gooseneck, Jarvies, Kingfisher and Hideout boat camps will be open. Those latter four campgrounds are accessible only by boat.
The National Forest Service plans to maintain several cross country skiing and snowmobile trails this winter, he said.