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Unlimited Fishing With No Catch Limits Allowed At Saratoga Lake

in Fishing/News

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Unlimited fishing will be temporarily allowed at Saratoga Lake in advance of plans to kill all of the lake’s fish, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department announced on Wednesday.

The creel and possession limits were lifted Wednesday due to the department’s plans to chemically treat the lake in September, killing any fish left in the water.

Typical Wyoming regulations allow anglers at the lake to keep six trout per day.

Earlier this month, the Game and Fish Department announced it would kill all the fish in Saratoga Lake because of the illegal introduction of yellow perch. The decision forced the cancelation of Saratoga’s annual Ice Fishing Derby because there will be no live fish in the lake by January.

The fish will be poisoned using “rotenone” at the lake in mid-September, so anglers have at least two months to fish for trout and yellow perch to their stomach’s delight. There are rainbow, tiger and brown trout in the lake.

The perch are actually not native to the lake and are the reason the lake’s population must be wiped out.

“Last summer, we discovered [yellow] perch in the lake during routine university sampling,” Alan Osterland, Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s fisheries chief, told Cowboy State Daily this month. “We manage that as a trout fishery, so having perch so high up in the system could be a problem for many reasons.”

Osterland said the plan is to restock the lake with trout next summer.

Although the fish kill has caused the cancellation of the popular and long-running Saratoga Ice Fishing Derby, which was set to celebrate its 40th year in 2023, the event is planned to return in 2024 without yellow perch in the water.

The fishing derby was started in the 1980s by Wyoming author C.J. Box, who has since become a household name for his series of Joe Pickett and Cassie Dewell novels.

This is not the first time the department has had to treat Saratoga Lake, but Osterland said it has been many years since this last occurred.

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Wyoming Author C.J. Box’s “Big Sky” TV Show Renewed For Third Season; Reba McEntire To Join Cast

in News/C.J. Box

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Country music superstar Reba McEntire will join the cast of “Big Sky,” which was just renewed for a third season on Tuesday, author C.J. Box told Cowboy State Daily.

McEntire is going to be one of two major guest stars next season, alongside former “Supernatural” lead Jensen Ackles, who guest starred in the finale of season two as Beau Arlen, who will step in as a temporary sheriff in season three.

“We’re thrilled that ‘Big Sky’ got picked by ABC for a third season and that both Reba and Jensen have been added to the cast,” Box told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday.

McEntire will portray Sunny Brick, who is described by Deadline as “the mercurial matriarch of the Brick family, a successful backcountry outfitter with a secret history of missing customers.”

“Big Sky” is adapted from Box’s Cassie Dewell series of novels, the latest of which, “Treasure Hunt,” is due out in September, the author said.

“I’m not sure about the storylines for next season, since they’ve used most of them from the previous books already,” Box said.

In season two, private detectives Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) and Jenny Hoyt (Katheryn Winnick) reunite to investigate a car wreck outside of Helena, Montana, and they soon discover that the case might not be as straightforward as it seems.

While the series is set in Montana, it has been filmed in Vancouver, Canada, and New Mexico.

The show has received both popular and critical acclaim, with even horror author Stephen King praising it as one of the best series on television right now.

It has also attracted a litany of guest stars in addition to Ackles and McEntire, including “The Sopranos” star Jamie-Lynn Sigler and film actors Logan Marshall-Green and Ryan Phillippe.

Despite being a country legend, McEntire is no stranger to acting. She had a long-running series, “Reba,” during the 2000s and has appeared in films such as “Tremors,” “Spies in Disguise” and “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar.”

Ackles is best known for his longtime role on “Supernatural” as Dean Winchester and will soon appear in the third season of the critically acclaimed series “The Boys” as Soldier Boy, a dementedly satirical take on Captain America.

In addition to “Big Sky” being renewed for a third season, Box’s other adapted series, “Joe Pickett,” is now streaming on Paramount+, although it originally debuted on the Spectrum Network.

Interested viewers can use the code “PICKETT” to view the streaming service for one month free.

Pickett has been renewed for a second season.

“‘Joe Pickett’ has gotten very good reviews, which is great,” Box said. “And it was the number one show on Spectrum where it debuted, which is even more exciting.”

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Casper Rep Praises Failure Of Film Incentive Bill; C. J. Box Not As Happy

in News/Legislature

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

There’s a difference of opinion between two Chucks over the Wyoming Legislature’s decision not to introduce a bill this week that would have provided incentives for film and TV productions.

House Bill 93 would have provided rebates to film production companies through the state’s tourism board as incentive for film production in Wyoming.

However, it failed to win introduction, nearly splitting the House of Representatives, with 32 representatives voting to send it on for further consideration and 28 voting not to do so.

As a non-budget bill considered during a budget session, two-thirds of House members would have had to vote for its introduction to move it forward in the legislative process.

Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, one of the legislators who voted against the bill, praised his colleagues for keeping it from being introduced.

“This bill was wrong for our state and it’s good news that it failed introduction,” Gray told Cowboy State Daily. “The bill would have wrongly used $3 million of state funds every two years to pay the invoices of film studios. That is an inappropriate use of state funds.”

Other legislators who voted “nay” on the bill included Rep. Dan Zwonitzer, R-Cheyenne, Rep. Chip Neiman, R-Hulett and Rep. John Bear, R-Gillette.

But best-selling author C.J. “Chuck” Box said he was disappointed the bill did not gain any traction this legislative session. Box has regularly testified to legislative committees in favor of such an incentive program, saying it would benefit the state.

“Our Wyoming Legislature has shown, once again, that they have very little interest in creating new industries and new employment in the state,” Box told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday. “We can only hope that they’ll reconsider this in the future.”

Box has noted before that while he has pushed to have the adaptations of his novels “Joe Pickett” and “Big Sky” filmed in Wyoming, the production companies have chosen other states or even Canada to film due to production incentives and cheaper costs.

The 32 representatives that voted to introduce the bill included Rep. Karlee Provenza, D-Laramie, Rep. Steve Harshman, R-Casper and Rep. Mike Yin, D-Jackson.

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