It’s raining fish at Utah lakes.
Aerial fish stocking, a historical method to release fish into waterways by airplane, was used by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources to stock 200 lakes across the state in July.
The airplane can hold up to 35,000 fish and hundreds of pounds of water, the division said in a Facebook post. The method was used to reach lakes not accessible by vehicle and other means of stocking.
“Aerial fish stocking in Utah is an effective method of stocking and has been since the mid 1950s. Post-stocking netting surveys show that survival of aerial-stocked fish is incredibly high,” the post said.
Before aerial fish stocking, the division said, it would load up fish in milk cans and use horses to reach lakes in remote areas.
“The aerial method of stocking is much quicker and less stressful for the fish. We’ve had success stocking fish into mountain lakes like this since the 1950s!” the division said on YouTube.
Phil Tuttle, Utah wildlife resources outreach manager, told ABC4 that aerial fish stocking can get fish into the oxygenated water sooner.
“It’s a great opportunity to put fish in some of these places that are a little bit harder to get to,” Tuttle said. “It’s a hot year, it’s great for anglers to be able to go get up into these higher-elevation places, find some seclusion and be able to catch fish at those lakes.”
Wildlife resources sportfish coordinator Randy Oplinger told the outlet the agency was not putting fish where they were probably going to die and the fish drop zones were ideal.
“We have a large number of waters that we feel really comfortable with, and based on temperature water levels, they’re going to be just fine through the summer,” Oplinger told ABC4.
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