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Plane dumps thousands of fish into lake in surreal footage

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A plane dumped thousands of fish into lakes in Utah for one important reason. 

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The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) released footage on Facebook to educate the public on how it restocks fish. The department has filled lakes with fish annually using airplanes since the 1950s. These regions don’t naturally have fish and artificially restocking them allows the state to control the wildlife’s population in the popular fishing areas. 

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The footage showed an aircraft release a massive cloud of tens of thousands of small fish into a lake. 

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“The fish are between one to three inches long, so they flutter down slowly to the water,” DWR said on Facebook. “Post-stocking netting surveys show that survival of aerial-stocked fish is incredibly high.”

The airplane can hold hundreds of pounds of water and can drop 35,000 fish per flight. The fish are rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, brook trout, tiger trout, splake and Arctic grayling. The restocked fish are typically sterile to prevent natural breeding. 

There are roughly 200 high-elevation lakes in Utah that need to be restocked with fish. The areas in the Boulder Mountain region, however, are not accessible by vehicle. In fact, before the 1950s, the agency would ride horses to stock the lakes with fish it loaded into milk cans. These days, the aerial process is much easier on the fish, faster and more economical. 

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