ODFW dropping fish into mountain lakes

Enterprise, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Forestry is taking a unique approach to stocking trout in Oregon’s mountain lakes.

Every two years, ODFW stocks rainbow trout in more than 40 lakes in the 361,000-acre Eagle Cap Wilderness.

Recently, thousands of juvenile trout were airlifted and dropped from 70 feet into mountain lakes to supplement fish populations.

While the challenges of maintaining populations at elevations in excess of 7,000 feet are daunting, ODFW said anglers expect to be able to fish when they go out into the wilderness.

This year, ODFW began testing three sizes of fish to see which fare better in the wild after the drop.

Officials said bigger fish tend to withstand the forces of nature better than small ones, but they also take up more space on the drop missions.

There is also the concern larger fish might suffer more damage during the fall than smaller ones.

Preliminary results indicate all three fish sizes have a high post-drop survival rate.

Samples of the fish dropped will be sent to a lab where they will be assessed for bruising and other trauma.

ODFW said crews will sample the lakes two years from now to monitor the rainbow trout population.

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