How do you stock fish in lakes so remote that they are only accessible by plane? Utah wildlife officials have found that the best solution is to simply drop fingerlings straight from planes themselves. According to KHON 2, these aerial stockings only occur once a year when several planes deliver thousands of tiger trout, brook trout, and rainbow trout to lakes across Utah. While the fall may look like a lethal one, officials are careful to drop the fish from altitudes they can survive.
“They kind of flutter down, so they don’t impact very hard, they flutter with the water and they do really well,” said Ted Hallows, a state hatchery supervisor with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR).
According to the DWR, the state has been stocking fish from the sky since 1956. These days, each plane contains special compartments capable of storing thousands of three-inch fingerlings in water. Each plane can stock seven lakes in one trip.
The fish are released at 150 feet above the water, where their light weight will help them mitigate the force of the impact. A small number of the fish are lost every year, but many more live on to provide a challenge for the backcountry angler.
Check out footage from one aerial stocking embedded below:
And another drop: