Flying fish: wildlife agency stocks Utah lakes by plane

Posted by Anton Crone on 14 July 2021

Flying fish don’t only exist in the ocean. When the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources restocks the state’s most remote lakes with trout, they often dump them from a plane into the water.

The wildlife agency shared a video this month of the aerial stocking process showing the fish plummet out of the plane as they’re released. Aerial restocking happens every summer and has been in operation since the 1950s.

Planes release as many as 35 000 trout into 40 to 60 lakes within a few hours. This process is speedier than pumping fish through a pipe from a truck, and far more efficient than loading fish into milk cans and loading them up on horses, which is what the division used to use to get to the most inaccessible areas. Without these aerial fish dumps, the state’s high-altitude southern and central lakes would be fishless.

“Because the fish are small and released along with water, they easily survive their aerial drop without injury,” says the division. “The aerial method of stocking is much quicker and less stressful for the fish.”



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