CODY - The Wyoming Game and Fish Department, in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, will tentatively conduct a helicopter fish stocking operation August 5, 2014 to stock fish in and around the Cloud Peak Wilderness of the Bighorn National Forest, weather permitting.
Within the wilderness, vehicle travel is both illegal and impractical for hauling fish to these remote waters. The helicopter offers a fast and low impact alternative for stocking fish. Helicopter stocking is normally conducted in even numbered years on the Bighorn National Forest waters. Flights will begin around 6:30 a.m. and should be completed within two or three hours, depending upon weather conditions.
The staging area for the operation will be the Tyrell Ranger station helipad. Cody regional waters to receive Yellowstone cutthroat trout are East Marion Lake, Emerald Lake, Lake Elsie, Lost Lake, Lilly Lake, Lost Twin Lake’s # 1 and # 2, Maybelle Lodge Lake, Poacher Lake and Little Poacher Lake. Golden trout will be planted in Gunboat Lake, and Lower and Upper Pouch Lakes. Splake will be planted in Lower Medicine Lodge Lake.
Approximately 57,000 fish will be planted in Bighorn National Forest waters. The length of fish will range from two and one-half to four inches. Fish being stocked will not be catchable size for at least two years.
Many of Wyoming's high country lakes are not capable of supporting a reproductive population of fish. Therefore, it becomes necessary to periodically stock these lakes to provide an adequate fishery for backcountry anglers. Only a small percentage of the wilderness lakes are managed by stocking of fish. Many others have wild, self-sustaining fish populations, or are presently managed as fishless.
In years past, it would have taken fisheries workers several weeks to reach each lake to plant the fish. The "fingerlings" were held in milk cans and transported to the high country lakes using horses and mules. With two specially designed fish tank clusters and one helicopter, this same operation takes only a couple hours.
(Contact Tara Teaschner at 307-527-7125)