How High Elevation Lakes are Stocked with Fish in Colorado
Colorado has an interesting way to stock ponds and lakes that are in high-elevation locations. Thousands upon thousands of small fish are dropped out of an airplane into lakes across the state.
You may think that this method could be harmful to the tiny fish, but stocking bodies of water in this way is very efficient. According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, since the fish are so small, releasing them with water from a plane makes it possible for them to survive their skydiving transplant.
In the summer months, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will drop over 250,000 cutthroat trout into more than 200 alpine lakes across the state of Colorado. Check out the video of the process.
The cutthroat trout are practically portioned out into a measuring cup before being placed into a cylinder on board Colorado Parks and Wildlife's Cessna 185 airplane. When the plane arrives at various lakes in Colorado, the fish are sent out of a tube on the bottom of the plane to their new homes. Many of these high-elevation lakes are at 10,000 feet which means getting a vehicle to these remote alpine lakes is nearly impossible.
The cutthroat trout grow into a good size fish anglers highly enjoy catching. The colors of the cutthroat trout are vibrant and get their name from the pinkish-red hues surrounding the gills and lower portion of the body.
There are three subspecies of cutthroat trout in the state of Colorado.
- Colorado River Cutthroat Trout
- Greenback Cutthroat Trout
- Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout
When fishing for cutthroat trout, anglers must safely return the fish back to the water immediately. More information about the catch and release of cutthroat trout can be found in the 2022 Fishing Guide from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.