DENVER (KDVR) — Fish falling from the sky? That’s Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) pilots stocking mountain lakes with thousands of trout by dropping them from an airplane.
About 380,000 trout have been stocked by airplane into 330 lakes in Boulder, Grand, Jackson and Larimer counties.
“It’s efficient,” Fish Culturist Doug Sebring said. “We can get a large quantity of fish into high mountain lakes that are basically only accessible by foot or horseback.”
CPW wildlife pilots Larry Gepfert and Denise Corcoran fly the 1¼-inch trout to the destination lake and “they just float on down once deployed from the airplane at about 100-150 feet above the lake,” said CPW officials.
“They are so small and they don’t have a lot of mass to them, so their acceleration rate is pretty low,” Gepfert said. “Their heads are the heaviest parts, so they tend to go head first and drop straight into the water.”
The trout, bred at the Mount Shavano Hatchery in Salida, are transported for stocking while they are very small. It takes about two years for the fish to become at least 10 inches long, which is the legal catchable size for trout in Colorado.