Ninety Five Percent of Trout Have Died In Goldeneye Reservoir Outside Casper

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"Goldeneye usually has really high catch rates and the fish get really big in here, ten pound rainbows aren't really that uncommon," said Matt Hahn, a Wyoming Game and Fish Fisheries Biologist.

This year fishermen have barely caught a thing.

"One alarming thing we found right off the bat was that there are a couple dead rainbow trout just floating here by the shore, and that is never a good sign,” said Nathan Cook, a Wyoming Game and Fish Biologist.

Fish biologists are investigating the lake and the fish they've stocked in it over the years.

"We really don't like to see losing a lot of big fish like this,” said Hahn.

Goldeneye has been prone to winter kill when fish and plants in the reservoir die because the water is too low and freezes. It last happened in 2006.

It's more prevalent in drought years when the nearby Casper creek isn't helping boost the water level.

"You know we are really at nature’s mercy, there is not a whole lot we can do to prevent winter kill during drought conditions,” said Hahn.

When water levels decrease the water gets saltier because of salt in the ground that can be lethal for the fish.

"When you get ice on the lake and snow on top of that you stop getting photosynthesis for the aquatic vegetation and it leads to a drop in oxygen," said Cook.

Game and fish biologists are estimating 200,000 fish may have died in goldeneye this winter.

"This is a great place to come catch big fish and it’s close to town and now people are going to have to drive a little bit farther," said Hahn.

With budget cut stockings are already being reduced, but will still continue this spring at goldeneye in hopes of reviving a population that's at 5% of what it was last year.

"It's something we can certainly recover from as long as we have good water levels on the lake,” said Hahn.