List of Fish Species in the Glendo Reservoir 2023 [Updated]

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Glendo Reservoir, Wyoming
As the water levels in Glendo Reservoir fluctuate throughout the year, always check which boat ramps are open before going boating. Wusel007, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

An impoundment of the North Platte River in Platte County and Converse County, Wyoming, the Glendo Reservoir covers 18,656 acres of land with its beautiful cool, clear waters. The Glendo Reservoir was a result of the construction of the Glendo Dam as part of the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Project directed by the Bureau of Reclamation. The project was a product of the Flood Control Act of December 22, 1944, which was implemented to help control and conserve water that was part of the Missouri River Basin to prevent damages from flooding, provide irrigation, aid in navigation, conserve wildlife, generate power, and supply citizens with potable water for everyday use.

In 1955, construction for the Glendo Dam in the North Platte River began, and the dam was completed three years later in 1958. The Glendo Dam stands 190 feet tall and spans 2,096 feet to help impound a maximum of 257,227,386,218 gallons of water! If there is ever too much water in the dam, or the dam’s structural integrity is threatened, there is a 45-foot wide spillway that allows water out of the dam. 

Glendo State Park is a 22,000-acre recreational and wildlife area that surrounds Glendo Reservoir. The park is an oasis for many species including mule deer, whitetail deer, antelope, and coyotes. Several species of birds including passerines, waterfowl, and turkeys also rely on the park, especially the park’s wetland area. In addition to viewing the wildlife in Glendo State Park, the park offers a plethora of activities for visitors including biking, camping, hiking, swimming, beachgoing, and even archery. The park also has six boat ramps for easy access to the lake for boating, watersports, and fishing.

The water level of the Glendo Reservoir does fluctuate significantly throughout the year, so it is important to check which boat ramps are open before heading to the park for boating. When water levels are safe to boat, anglers love to navigate the waters of the Glendo Reservoir to find numerous fish species to catch or spot. Below are some of the fish species that can be found in the Glendo Reservoir.

List of Fish Species in the Glendo Reservoir

1) Walleye (Sander vitreus)

Walleye in hand
Glendo Reservoir is one of the best walleye fisheries in Wyoming! Josh / No copyright

Native to North America

Walleye are Glendo Reservoir’s prized fish species as the reservoir is one of the best walleye fisheries in Wyoming. These fish can be found throughout the reservoir because the waters are clear and cool, which walleye prefer. This species has a brownish-green body that fades to a cream belly complete with dark horizontal lines. These fish are the largest of the perch family, and they average about 11 pounds.

Walleye get their name from their big, glassy pupils, and these eyes look like this due to a reflective layer on the inner eye called the tapetum lucidum, which helps walleye see prey in times of low visibility. This layer makes walleye sensitive to bright light, however, so they often hunt for their prey, like fishes and mudpuppies, at dusk or night. The daily creel limit for walleye in Wyoming is currently six fish.

2) Channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus)

Caught channel catfish
In the Glendo Reservoir, 6 channel catfish can be caught per day. Sam Kieschnick / CC BY 4.0

Native to North America

Channel catfish are one of the most abundant types of catfish in the United States. This species can be found near rocky shores and other covered areas throughout the Glendo Reservoir, and they can also be found near the spillway of the dam. Like all catfish, the channel catfish does not have scales and has barbels on the upper and lower jaw; however, the channel catfish can be distinguished by its deeply forked tail, silvery body, and overbite.

These fish grow to about 10 – 20 inches long and weigh anywhere from 2 – 10 pounds, but in the Glendo Reservoir, these fish average about 14.5 inches in length and weigh 1.4 pounds. Catfish tend to eat quite a bit of food, so they use their barbels covered in taste buds to sense their surroundings in murky waters and find food like snails, fishes, snakes, frogs, insects, aquatic plants, and even birds. The current daily creel limit for channel catfish in the Glendo Reservoir is six fish.

3) Largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides)

Largemouth bass
Although they’re not abundant, largemouth bass may be found near coves with vegetation in the Glendo Reservoir. Dominic / CC BY 4.0

Native to eastern North America

Largemouth bass are not particularly abundant in the Glendo Reservoir, but the highest chances of spotting these fish will be near coves with vegetation. Largemouth bass get their name from their mouth, which extends past the eye, unlike smallmouth bass. Largemouth bass have olive-green bodies with dark mottling along the back and speckles along the sides.

This species typically grows to about 10 – 15 inches long and will generally weigh 2 – 4 pounds, although the largest largemouth ever recorded was 22 pounds and 4 ounces. Largemouths are carnivores that primarily feed on crayfish but will also eat other fishes and insects. The daily creel limit for largemouth bass and smallmouth bass combined in Wyoming is currently six fish.

4) Yellow perch (Perca flavescens)

Caught yellow perch
Yellow perch usually weigh 1 pound and are 7 – 10 inches in length. Mathew Zappa / CC BY 4.0

Native to northern and central North America

Yellow perch are found throughout the Glendo Reservoir because they enjoy the very clear waters. Perch can live in areas with low oxygen content; however, they will not be able to survive in waters with higher turbidity. This species is known for its golden yellow to greenish body covered in 6 – 8 dark vertical bars. These fish have yellow or green eyes and orange-red tinted fins.

Yellow perch generally grow to about 7 – 10 inches long and weigh around one pound, although this species is prone to having stunted growth in areas where food is limited. In the Glendo Reservoir, the average length for these fish is 7.4 inches. When food is abundant, adults will feed on the bottom of the water with their subterminal mouth, and they will search for items such as benthic macroinvertebrates as well as smaller fish.

5) Black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus)

Black crappie underwater
Black crappies require cool, clear water to survive. David McCorquodale / CC BY 4.0

Native to North America

Black crappies are relatively abundant in the Glendo Reservoir since the reservoir has cool, clear water that these fish need in order to survive. Black crappies have compressed bodies that are darker green on the back with dark mottling on the silvery sides. They also have 7 – 8 spines on their dorsal fins, which distinguishes them from white crappies, who have 5 – 6 spines.

This species exhibits sexual dimorphism, so the males tend to be larger and darker than the females. Black crappies typically grow to about 8 – 12 inches and will weigh 0.25 – 1 pounds, but in the Glendo Reservoir, the average length for these fish is 8.8 inches. These fish are able to see relatively well in the dark, so they will generally hunt during the night or early morning for small fish, crustaceans, and insects.

6) White crappie (Pomoxis annularis)

White crappie
As white crappies do better in turbid waters compared to black crappies, they aren’t as abundant in the Glendo Reservoir. Austin R. Kelly / CC BY 4.0

Native to North America

White crappies are less abundant in the Glendo Reservoir compared to black crappies because they do better in more turbid waters; however, they are tolerant of many water conditions, so they are able to survive in Glendo Reservoir. The best chances of finding these fish are in highly vegetated areas near windier shorelines during the summer months. This species has compressed bodies that are silvery-olive on the back and silvery-white towards the belly. These fish have dark vertical bands along the sides of their bodies, and their gill covers have spines.

During breeding season, males look slightly different than females because the males develop a dark throat. White crappies average about 9 – 10 inches long and are around two pounds as adults, but the average length for white crappies in the reservoir is 8.6 inches. These fish generally eat smaller fishes like minnows or shad, but they will also eat insects like mayflies.

7) Common carp (Cyprinus carpio)

Common carp underwater
The common carp is a non-native, invasive species in the Glendo Reservoir. Michael D Fox / CC BY 4.0

Native to Eurasia

Common carp, also known as European carp, are an invasive species in the Glendo Reservoir, and they prefer areas where the water is warmer and still or very slow-moving. This species has a robust body with a brassy green back and white to yellow sides. They have large scales with a black dot on each and two pairs of barbels on their upper jaw. These fish have rows of pharyngeal teeth that they use to dig up aquatic plant roots to eat in addition to catching insects, crustaceans, and small mollusks.

Common carp are a non-native species to North America, and they were brought to the United States in the late 1800s because they were a wildly popular food item for immigrants who wanted to be able to continue eating them when they came to the United States. While they are an excellent catch for many anglers, this species can damage ecosystems because their feeding stirs up the bottom of water systems, creating turbidity, which makes it hard for some native species that need clear waters to survive.

8) Gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum)

Gizzard shad in hand
Gizzard shads have a special muscular stomach that is similar to a bird gizzard. Cody Stricker / CC BY 4.0

Native to North America

Gizzard shad can be found near shorelines of the Glendo Reservoir where there are higher winds and turbidity. This species has silvery blue backs that fade to white sides, and they average between 6 – 8 inches long and 1 – 8 ounces in weight. These fish also have a long final ray on the dorsal fin that resembles a whip.

Gizzard shad get their name from their unique muscular stomach that acts almost like a bird gizzard, which breaks down plant matter and phytoplankton that the fish filter feed on from the water column. This species is very important for the health of many ecosystems because they help control plankton populations, and they are a prey item for many other fish species including crappies, white bass, and black bass.

9) Freshwater drum (Aplodinotus grunniens)

Large freshwater drum
Freshwater drums are likely to be found in shallow, muddy areas of the Glendo Reservoir. Jennifer Aitkens / CC BY 4.0

Native to North America

Freshwater drum, also known as sheepshead, is a fish that will most likely be found in shallow, muddy waters of the Glendo Reservoir. This species gets its name from the drumming or croaking noise males can make with a specific muscle in their body to attract mates during breeding season.

Freshwater drums are characterized by their silver bodies with a lateral line that extends all the way through their caudal fin. They also have a steep, sloping body that gives them the appearance of a humpback. This species averages about 10 – 14 inches long and will usually weigh up to five pounds. Drum have large teeth that help them eat a variety of prey at the bottom of the lake including snails, insects, small fish, and invasive zebra mussels that can be found throughout the Glendo Reservoir.

10) Zander (Sander lucioperca)

Zander in water
The zander is considered to be invasive in North America and can have a negative impact on ecosystems. Valentin Moser / CC BY 4.0

Native to Eurasia

Zander, also known as sander or pikeperch, are not incredibly abundant in the Glendo Reservoir but they can make their way into lakes and reservoirs from river systems. These fish have olive backs that turn into dark vertical stripes on the sides, and their bellies are a light cream color. These fish also have rows of dark spots on their dorsal and caudal fins. Zander can grow to large sizes, but they average around 15 – 31 inches in length and will weigh about 6 – 7 pounds.

This species has very large, bulbous eyes that are opaque or milky in appearance, and these eyes let zander be able to see in low-light conditions like when the water is more turbid or if it is dusk. Zander have very strong jaws lined with pointy teeth including two long canines on each jaw, which they use to primarily eat smaller schooling fish, but they can eat some larger fish as well, such as trout and salmon.

As these fish are invasive in North America, they can have a negative impact on these non-native ecosystems, including outcompeting native fish species for food and space as well as directly consuming native species, which decreases biodiversity. These fish can also introduce new diseases and parasites to non-native habitats that can quickly harm a population of fish native to other areas.

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