RIFLE, Colo. (KDVR) — Colorado Parks and Wildlife pilots deployed thousands of fish into mountain lakes this past week.
Over 95,000 cutthroat trout were released into 73 lakes last Monday and Tuesday. The fish are around 1 inch in size, and take about two years to mature to a catchable size of 10 inches.
Check out CPW’s fish stocking video:
This was the second of three plane stockings this summer, performed by CPW and the Rifle Falls State Fish Hatchery. In recent years, CPW has found aerial fish stocking to be the most efficient way to keep mountain lakes full of fish.
Before aerial stocking, fish used to be carried in milk cans on horseback to reach remote mountain lakes. With the use of planes, many more Colorado lakes receive fish.
“Most of these remote high mountain lakes do not have the proper habitat and conditions to allow for natural reproduction. Over the course of just a couple of weeks, CPW stocks hundreds of lakes each year using this method,” said CPW Assistant Aquatics Section Manager Josh Nehring.
At the end of the summer, CPW will have stocked 240 Colorado lakes with close to 275,000 fish.