September 8, 2022 |

Saratoga Lake will close to the public September 19th to allow for the planned kill-off of its fishery.

Wyoming Game and Fish will begin its rotenone treatment project to address the illegal stocking of yellow perch. The treatment will kill all of the fish in the lake. The drastic measure is being taken because of the threat state biologists feel yellow perch pose to the North Platte River Drainage.

Allen Osterlund is the chief of fisheries for Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Osterlund told Bigfoot 99 in June that his team looked at other solutions to deal with the illegal stocking of the lake with yellow perch. Experience with other waterways in the state led them to settle on the kill-off-and-start over plan as the only way to eliminate the threat.

Pictured above: Photo of Saratoga Lake courtesy WGFD.

Rotenone is a natural product derived from a South American bean. It works by disabling the oxygen-uptake of gill-breathing organisms. It is not toxic to other species.

Weather permitting, the public access area will close on September 19th, and will remain closed for seven days following the completion of the project. The dead fish will be removed to a suitable location for disposal.

Wyoming Game and Fish advises that the rotenone will degrade after several weeks, but people and their pets should stay out of the water until biologist determine the water clear of the chemical treatment. Warning signs will be posted around the lake until the rotenone is gone. The campground at the lake will have limited camping spaces available during the lake closure. Campers will not have access to the lake.

Anglers are advised that it is illegal to move live fish from one body of water to another in Wyoming. Penalties for illegally stocking of fish could be up to $10,000. The kill-off of fish in the lake will cost the Town of Saratoga a lot more come January because of lost revenues resulting from the cancellation of the ice fishing derby.

Osterlund said fishing will return by next summer.

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