Why Utah airdrops thousands of fish every year

CNN/KSTU/Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Sunday, July 13, 2014 - 2:00pm

Once a year, several planes fly above Utah lakes and release hundreds of fish.

Their journey begins at a state hatchery in Kamas.

The fish are fed by a man named ted hallows.

He supervises them, until they're ready to be released into the wild.

“I got the idea to put the go pro on the plane,” said Ted Hallows, with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

Watch as this plane dumps a heaping load, of fish.

“We're in charge of coordinating the aerial stock statewide,” Hallows said.

From the Uintas's, to the La Sal, wildlife experts with the DWR make sure the lakes are filled with Utah’s native fish.

And the only way to get there is by plane.

“In June and July we stock Tiger Trout, a lot of Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout and Splake and then in the fall we put Cutthroat Trout and Arctic Graying in the lakes,” Hallows said.

The fish come out of a compartment at the bottom of the aircraft.

Hundreds, sometimes up to one thousand 3 inch fingerlings are set free but they don't always make it into the water, alive.

“They kind of flutter down, so they don't impact very hard, they flutter with the water and they do really well,” Hallows explained.

While a small percentage of them die, fishermen are happy to hear someone is keeping the state's lakes stocked.

“I like the idea and concept of it,” A fisherman told CNN affiliate KSTU-TV.

“From a biologist standpoint, certain areas of the high Uintas, browns will obviously do well, cuties will do okay depending on the oxygen, overall I think for recreational fishermen it's an awesome thing, because it's almost Darwinian, you take the fish whoever survives, survives and the other fish will find its way out,” said biologist George Chao.

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