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Wyoming Fishing News Back to Wyoming Fishing News
Helicopter Stocking Backcountry Lakes

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) has been stocking fish in alpine lakes via helicopter since the 1970s and stocks several lakes each year. Most alpine lakes do not have suitable spawning habitat to support a naturally reproducing fish population, thus requiring pe-riodic stocking to maintain a sport fishery. The helicopter stocking occurs in August as most alpine lakes are high elevation and late summer is the only time they are free of ice.

Historically, fish were stocked in these backcountry lakes via cream cans on horseback, which could take several hours or even days to reach but one lake. This was far more stressful on the fish because the transport water warms, which holds less oxygen, and may need to be changed several times on one trip. Helicopter stocking is much more efficient in both time and cost with much greater survival of fish.

The number of fish stocked in a lake depends on the size of the lake, but it is usually around 1,000 fish. Fish are usually dropped approxi-mately 10 feet from the water and are released with a large amount of water which absorbs most of the impact.

Fish are typically stocked in the Jackson and Pinedale Regions every other year, on odd years. This year the lakes stocked in the Jackson Region included: Lost, Lewis, Mackinaw, Golden, Blue Lake North, Divide, Mink Creek, Gravel, Corral Creek #2, Lost, Moose and Dry Creek lakes.