Thousands of fish dropped into Utah lake

The state has been stocking lakes by dropping fish from planes since the 1950’s

Graig Graziosi
Wednesday 14 July 2021 21:13
Thousands of fish dropped from plane to restock Utah lakes
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Fish are falling from the sky all over Utah.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has been restocking the state's lakes with fish by dropping them out of airplanes.

The practice of restocking lakes with fish by airdropping them in is actually a relatively common practice, and the state of Utah used it again this year to refill 200 lakes with fish.

The planes used in the operation can carry up to 35,000 fish, according to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. The fish are kept alive in hundreds of pounds of water carried on the plane.

The restocking method is used to reach lakes that cannot be accessed by land vehicles or other more traditional methods.

In the past, fish were loaded up in milk cans and trotted out to lakes on horseback. The airplane method is considerably easier and more efficient.

"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 in a YouTube video.

While the prospect of being dropped from a plane into a lake may seem dangerous, the division said that the vast majority of fish survive the process and go on to thrive in the state's lakes.

"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 division said in a Facebook post said.

Check out The Independent’s video coverage of the airborne restock.

The process also encourages fishing enthusiasts to purchase licences from the state to fish in some of its more remote lakes.

Phil Tuttle, the state's wildlife resources outreach manager, told ABC4 that restocking the fish from the air enables the division to get the fish into the water sooner than other methods.

“It’s a great opportunity to put fish in some of these places that are a little bit harder to get to,” Mr 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.”

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