For the first time, the Fort Peck Multi-Species Fish Hatchery will be using one of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ helicopters to stock fingerling rainbow trout to many Region 6 public and private ponds that are open to public fishing.
The switch from pickup truck stocking to helicopter will relieve stress on the fish because they can be stocked much earlier in the year than before. Comparisons of the overall cost will need to be evaluated once the fish have been moved.
“Due to Mother Nature, we are sometimes forced to stock the trout in late May and into June because we are unable to get our vehicles into certain areas,” hatchery manager Wade Geraets said. “By waiting this long, water temperatures in some of these ponds increase to levels that create more stress and higher mortality rates for the fish.”
The stocking will begin on April 16 and continue through April 18. Two-inch-long Arlee rainbow trout will be stocked. These fish were received as eggs from FWP’s Jocko River Hatchery in December.
The helicopter will be flying north and east of Glasgow and south and east of Scobey, between Culbertson, Circle and Richey, north and west of Plentywood, north and south of Chinook; and on Bureau of Land Management lands and private areas east of the DY-Junction area of the Missouri River Breaks south of Malta. Thirty-seven ponds will be stocked by helicopter in Region 6.
For more information about the pond stocking program, call Geraets at 406-526-3689 ext. 205.