If you’ve ever wondered how remote mountain lakes are stocked with fish, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) has the answer: by plane. “It’s that time of year!” they announce. “If you see flying fish at Utah’s remote waters, don’t be alarmed.” So next time you’re on the water, look upward and maybe you can make the ultimate catch—of a fish falling out of a plane.
Aerial Fish Stocking is Nothing New
The Utah DWR aerially stocks high elevation lakes each summer, a practice they have carried on successfully since the 1950s. But how do the fish survive their dramatic plunge? “Because the fish are small and released along with water, they easily survive their aerial drop without injury,” the DWR explains.
Stocking remote lakes wasn’t always so easy—for the humans or the fish. The DWR “used to load fish into milk cans and we needed horses to get us into these remote areas. The aerial method of stocking is much quicker and less stressful for the fish.” It’s also much more entertaining to watch a bunch of fish go skydiving.
A True “Fish Out Of Water” Moment
The biggest difference these days compared to prior stocking runs is the high quality video footage the DWR shares with the public. This peek behind the curtain is a great reminder for anglers and others of the effort that goes into maintaining our natural resources.