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Region’s most-caught fish? Rainbow trout

Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s Clearwater Region may be famous for its salmon and steelhead fishing and its pristine rivers with thriving cutthroat trout populations, but in most years more hatchery rainbow trout are harvested here than any other fish.

“In a time when we seem to have more and more restrictive fishing rules to protect sensitive fish, you can always count on having plenty of opportunities to catch and harvest hatchery rainbow trout,” IDFG Clearwater Region Fish Manager Joe DuPont said. “Every year we stock close to 200,000, 10-12 inch rainbow trout...hundreds of anglers flock to local reservoirs, lakes, and ponds every year to catch these scrappy fish.”

Almost all the Rainbow Trout stocked in the Clearwater Region are reared at hatcheries (Nampa, American Falls, and Hagerman) located in southern Idaho.

Idaho Fish and Game tankers can haul about 10,000-20,000 fish per trip depending on their size.

About half of these Rainbow Trout are delivered straight from the hatcheries in southern Idaho to our larger lakes and reservoirs. The other half are delivered to Clearwater Fish Hatchery near Orofino. Clearwater Hatchery staff then stays busy hauling these fish to 24 different local ponds and lakes from March to October. The goal is to stock these fish in a manner to keep catch rates high and anglers satisfied. For some of the more popular ponds, that means they have to be stocked every other week.

“Our drivers log tens of thousands of miles every year to stock rainbow trout throughout the Clearwater Region,” DuPont said. “The next time you catch one...take a moment to reflect on the road trip this fish took to make it onto the end of your line.”


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