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Trout stocking in Minnesota

Staff Writer
Redwood Falls Gazette
Redwood Falls Gazette

Anglers will have the opportunity to catch trout on remote lakes in northeastern Minnesota following helicopter-based fish stocking efforts this fall.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) typically uses trucks to stock fish, but traditional methods can’t be used in some of the state’s difficult-to-reach lakes.

Recently, pilots in the DNR enforcement division’s aviation unit – which assists other agency divisions with creel counts, wildlife-population surveys and habitat improvement efforts, in addition to its typical enforcement work – created and constructed a helicopter-based system that makes stocking more effective and efficient.

“The main benefit of using a helicopter, from a resource perspective, is that more of the stocked fish survive, so there are more for anglers to catch,” said Chris Lofstuen, the enforcement division’s chief pilot. “At the same time, flying over remote lakes in often challenging terrain presents a certain amount of risk to our pilots. Among all the other benefits of using helicopters, one aspect is most important – they’re safer.”

Since the helicopters can hover five feet above the water and drop fish into the water, the survival rate of stocked fish is about 100 percent.

When they’re stocked from an airplane, the survival rate is about 85 percent.

- Image courtesy of the Minnesota DNR Web site