(Updated at 10:50 a.m. on Thursday to correct youth fishing limits.)
(Lander, Wyo.) – Wyoming Game & Fish’s Fish Culturist Peter Starr released about 4,500 Eagle Lake rainbow trout in the Big Bend ponds near Riverton and Luckey Pond near Lander earlier on Wednesday.
He said he release 3,000 of those in several of the Big Bend ponds earlier in the morning and 1,500 in Luckey Pond at about noon. Most of the fish were in the 8 to 10 inch range in size.
Before releasing the fish, Starr checked the ponds’ pH levels and temperature. The water in Luckey Pond was 55 degrees. He said trout grow best in waters around 60 degrees. He said that introducing fish in water that was drastically different than where they came from can stress out the fish. Starr said fisheries staff do what they can to minimize stress on the fish. They don’t release them with full stomachs, as that can add to their troubles.
All of the fish released today were raised at the Dubois Fish Hatchery. The eggs came from the Story hatchery.
Starr suggested anglers give the fish a couple days to adapt to their new surroundings before heading out there. “Usually, give them a couple days,” he said. Starr said the fish should have found preferred areas to hide and reside within two days. That’s also about when they’ll start eating again.
Lander Region Information and Education Specialist Rene Schell said the department encourages catching and releasing, in order to give more people fishing enjoyment. She also noted that non-resident anglers under 14 do not need a license to fish, but any kept are counted against a licensed adult’s creel limit. Resident fishermen under 14 have their own limits.