Trout Beading What is Legal and What Isn't?

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Casper -(KCWY) "We believe the technique evolved in Alaska or on the west coast," said Al Conder, the Wyoming Game and Fish Regional Fisheries Supervisor.

The method of using trout beads to snag a fish in Wyoming is illegal. The definition of snag by Wyoming law being the attempt to take a fish in such a manner that the fish does not take the hook voluntarily in its mouth.

"If anglers are using just a larger hook with a longer trailing leader there is a better chance for that fish to be hooked in a vital place," said Conder.

A trout bead used as an attractor in combination with a fly is a legal method, in which the fish will usually go for the fly rather than the bead and be hooked in or near the mouth.

"We are really worried about people fishing with the bead a long distance away from the hook. We have actually captured fish in the river that have been impaled by very large hooks down in the belly area and around the gills," said Matt Hahn a fisheries biologist for the department.

Game and fish biologist have seen the majority of bead fishing around Casper and along the Bighorn River near Thermopolis. Starting this spring they will begin to collect data to see if regulations will be changed next year.

"We are going to be using the technique in various patterns by different size hooks and different size liters in a controlled environment so that we have some understanding and some data to evaluate the technique," said Conder.

Fisherman who game and fish have reached out to for feedback strongly differ in their opinions using trout beads.

"There's people that use it and really enjoy using this technique and there is other people who don't use it and don't feel like it is a legitimate technique," said Hahn.

"Bottom line we are just concerned whether or not we are causing any harm to the fish. The fish are a public resource they belong to everybody so we want to do everything to understand the technique and protect the fish," said Conder.