Viral Video Shows Thousands Of Fish Dropped From Airplane Into Utah Lakes For Restocking

Sometimes the best solution to a problem is also the most unusual.

That’s the case in Utah, where since the 1950s, the state’s Division of Wildlife Resources has been inventive in their constant quest to keep Utah’s beautiful lakes stocked with fish.

In order to keep the environment and ecosystem healthy, this intervention brings young fish back to the lakes. While it’s done for the sake of the fish and the area, it can look pretty strange!


Once done by stuffing barrels with fish (and, of course, water) and carrying them on horseback to remote areas, fish restocking for hard-to-reach places is done in a variety of ways.

In most cases, a large tanker truck with an attached hose can bring large groups of fish and quickly deposit them into freshwater. Sometimes, dirt bikes or ATVs are used, and fish can be carried in anything from plastic tubs to backpacks!

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However, a recently released video from Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources has shown one of the most breathtaking and efficient ways to restock a lake: by plane!


“Did you know that we stock fish in Utah by AIRPLANE?” the department announced on their Facebook page on July 9th.

“This week we stocked around 200 high-elevation lakes across the state. These lakes are not accessible by vehicle and other means of stocking,” the post continued. The post also noted that “the airplane holds hundreds of pounds of water and can drop 35,000 fish in a single flight without reloading.”

While the sight of thousands of fish dropping thousands of feet from a plane may be concerning, the experts at the DWR assured the public that the practice is safe, noting in a blog post that “Depending on the area and the condition of roads or trails, fish are also transported to remote areas on foot with buckets or a backpack, or by four-wheeler. Horses are still used at times to get fish into hard-to-reach places.”


Due to their small size, the fish are less sensitive to impact and can survive pretty much any transportation method that moves quickly and gives them the water they need. “Survival of aerial-stocked fish is incredibly high,” the DWR explained on Facebook, noting that the practice has been in use for more than 70 years and has a success rate of 95%.

Commenters were quick to share their own stories of fishing and exploring in Utah’s beautiful outdoors. One commenter, Gene Groshon, even did the math and explained how the trout are able to survive the fall:


“To put this into perspective using trout weight estimators a 3″ long trout with a girth of 3″ would weigh about .033 lbs. Assuming the fish are dropped from 100′ and neglecting air resistance the trout will hit the water with 3.3 feet lbs of force. A human weighing 150 lbs dropped from the same height would hit with 15,000 feet lbs of force! Now for the same human to experience the same force of 3.3 as the trout they would need to fall into water from .25″ above the waters surface haha. Weight plays a big difference here so the little trout are safe!”

This video shows how as humans continue to assess their role in the natural world, creative and even audacious ideas can be the most successful at keeping things balanced.

Watch the full video below, courtesy of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources on Facebook:

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