Just Keep Swimming

Video: Watch fish get blasted out of a plane for science

Utah DWR

Utah DWR

Nope, that’s not a cloud of air or gas — it’s a stream of water, blasting trout from an airplane into a lake below.

The practice is used to restock lakes when they’re depleted from fishing.

Utah DWR

Utah DWR

And the internet goes wild anytime a video of this peculiar practice is posted.

Most recently, this video from the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) caused a buzz on social media.

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But if you don’t spend your days blasting fish from planes, it raises some questions:

First off, why airplanes?

In many cases, they’re the easiest way to deposit fish into remote lakes.

Utah DWR

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Wildlife departments do use vehicles, but airplanes can transport large volumes of fish to areas that aren’t easily accessible by driving.

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The practice of dropping fish via airplane has been used in Utah since 1956.

Before that, biologists would lead a caravan of horses equipped with containers of fish to remote, sparsely-fish-populated lakes.

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The old-school process of stocking lakes took months to complete.

But, don’t the fish get hurt falling from the sky?

For the most part, no.

Utah DWR

Utah DWR

The young trout that the Utah DWR drops from planes are small — about 1-3 inches long. Their size allows them to plop down without smacking the bottom of the lake.

Here’s an analogy that the DWR posted on their Twitter account when another stocking video went viral in 2018.

Utah DWR

More than 95 percent of the fish survive the fall, according to the DWR. It’s not perfect, but it’s also a quicker and simpler process than loading fish into containers and carrying them across miles of land.

The horse-and-container practice wasn’t 100 percent fatality-proof, either.

There were also significant factors that could raise the death rate, such as the length of the journey and the fact that biologists had to periodically stop to refresh containers with water.

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Utah DWR

While it seems chaotic, dropping fish from planes is a normal part of lake restoration. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a blast to watch.

Read more stories about animals here.

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