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How Does Game and Fish Transport Fish for Stocking?

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department stocks over 300 Wyoming waters annually from our 10 hatcheries with specialized pickups and trucks. We have eleven 300 gallon, four 650 gallon and three 2,400 gallon fish distribution tank vehicles. Each tank is equipped with life support systems to keep fish alive. These include, air scoops and aerators to help remove carbon dioxide, micro-bubble oxygen diffusers to keep oxygen in the water for fish, and adequate insulation to help keep the water temperature cool. We also have a routine to make sure they stay healthy during their move.

LOADING

  • Prior to being loaded for transport, hatchery crew will stop feeding fish for 2-3 days so their digestive tracts have time to purge and reduce the build-up of ammonia during transport.
  • Next, fish culturists determine how many fish are in one pound. That varies based on the fish size and species we plan to stock. For small loads of fish (300-800 lbs), hatchery crews will typically use a net, bucket and platform scale to manually weigh and load the fish. For larger loads of fish (900-4000 lbs), we use truck scales and fish pumps.
  • During the loading, salt and no-foam are added to the water tank. No-foam is a silicone-based product that breaks up the foam layer that builds up on the water surface, which prevents gases like carbon dioxide from escaping. Salt helps fish balance electrolytes, therefore reducing stress.

TRANSPORTING

  • As soon as the fish are all loaded onto the truck, the driver ensures all life support systems are functioning before hitting the road and will check on the fish at regular intervals throughout the trip.
  • The driver also has information systems to actively monitor oxygen concentrations in the tanks while driving down the road.

STOCKING

  • Upon arrival at the stocking location, and prior to releasing them into a pond, lake or river, we take pH and water temperature readings to make sure the water chemistry is suitable for stocking. In the summer surface water temperatures and pH values can shift to warmer and more basic. The optimal pH range for trout would fall in the 6.5-9.0 range and water temperatures should be 40-65 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • For stocking, a hose is attached to the tank and the fish are released into a deep pool area so fish aren’t damaged on their way out of the truck.
  • Fish are monitored for about ten minutes to make sure they all swim away strong and healthy.

The Wyoming Game and Fish starts stocking fish in late March and usually finishes up in late November every year. Check out these past stocking reports on the Game and Fish website.

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