Lake stocking method

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    • #119892
      Steve Brown

        Over the years there have been many discussions at the meetings around manually stocking of high lakes.

        When I lived in Oregon it seemed like most high lakes were stocked by air. I think planes even stocked lakes in the wilderness areas in the Cascades.

        Are there lakes in WA that can’t be stocked by plane or helicopter ?

        Is manually stocking more successful ?

      • #120028
        Brian Curtis

          You are correct that lakes in Oregon are stocked by air and that many lakes have been stocked by air in Washington. Last I checked in on Oregon high lake stocking was decades ago, but at that time they were using helicopters. Most high lake air stocking in Washington was done with fixed wing aircraft. WDFW used to have a Beaver with a hole cut in the bottom to drop fish through. But they sold their planes to the State Patrol some years ago.

          Fixed wing aircraft are only useful for stocking larger lakes. It is just too easy to miss small lakes. Really, you could stock any lake with a helicopter, but there are a couple issues. The most obvious is cost. Less obvious is a restriction in designated wilderness that limits the ability to air plant lakes that weren’t air planted prior to wilderness designation.

          One major advantage to hand stocking lakes is that it puts someone on the ground at the lake who can evaluate how the management plan is doing. We’ve seen major issues in California where they were air planting in lakes whether the lakes needed fish or not and the over-stocking was contributing to the decline of the mountain yellow-legged frog. Thanks to our hand stocking program, survey program, and some very dedicated WDFW biologists the state of Washington was way ahead of the curve in reducing quantities stocked and identifying lakes with reproducing populations that should not be stocked.

          All that being said, WDFW is talking about bringing air stocking back and that would bring some welcome relief to volunteers who have been stocking some of the larger lakes.

        • #120035
          Steve Brown

            Thanks for the information

            – Steve

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