Now this gives new meaning to ‘fly fishing’…

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UTAH -- Once a year, several planes fly low above some of Utah's lakes and release hundreds of fish.

Who is doing it and why? FOX 13 News tracked down the hatchery where thousands of baby fish are being raised, only to be dropped out from the bottom of a plane and into the waters below.

"I got the idea to put the GoPro on the plane," said Ted Hallows, who supervises the State Hatchery in Kamas. He feeds the baby fish until they are grown enough to be released into the wild.

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

From the Uintas to The La Sal, wildlife experts with the Division of Wildlife Resources make sure the lakes are filled with Utah's native fish, and sometimes the only way to get there is by plane.

"In June and July we aerial stock tiger trout, a lot of brook trout, rainbow trout and splake and then in the fall we put cutthroat trout and arctic grayling in the lakes," Hallows said.

The fish come out of a compartment at the bottom of the aircraft. Hundreds, sometimes up to a 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 said.

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

"I like the idea and concept of it," Fisherman Nathan Thesing said.

"From a biologist standpoint, certain areas of the High Uintas, browns will obviously do well, cutties will do OKdepending 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," Fisherman George Chao said.

The Division of Wildlife Resources only uses aerial stocking in hard to reach areas like the High Uintas. Depending on the fish species, some are stocked every year, and others every three years.


  • David Badash

    That’s not “impressive,” it’s abuse. Fish, regardless of whether or not they end up on your table, have emotions, they can feel pain — physical and mental — and being shot out of a plane, plummeting thousands of feet into a body of water is painful. What is wrong with you people?

    • Rick Bywater

      Are you serious you liberal freak, fish have emotions and feel pain>? who cares its a fish, they are here to catch and eat, and thats end of story. Go crawl in a hole somewhere and leave us alone to hurt our fish!

    • carol

      Ate you kidding.? While I can believe they feel pain, they do not have emotions nor do have mental anguish. They might feel a sting when hitting the water, but ibet they dont remember or care 2 seconds later. Please dont suggest memorial signs for the ones thst dont make it.

  • tito santini

    1) No, fish don’t feel emotions. 2) All pain is, technically speaking, mental, but you really mean they feel “emotional” pain (see number one). 3) They aren’t “shot out”. They’re dropped using only gravity. That’s not even close to “thousands of feet”. But these last two points don’t even matter; they’re just here to demonstrate your hyperbole. If you used less of that hyperbole people might take you more seriously.

      • tito santini

        He’s an editor at “The New Civil Rights Movement”, and is pretty super liberal. He’s not trying to be funny, Michelle. I agree it comes off as comical, but he’s actually serious. I get to deal with a lot of these people.

      • kartmann

        Liberals are unintentionally funny. They have no sense of humor. Believe me, he was completely serious.

  • Truman Crapo

    This same thing happens at Posey Lake near Escalante, UT. I was cool looking but I wish were camping there another time so I wouldnt be catching tiny fish the whole time.

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