CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is wrapping up stocking for the year. The department put more than 6.5 million fish in 368 Wyoming waters in 2021 to maintain the state’s premier fishing opportunities for anglers.
The majority of the fish – varieties of cold water trout – are sourced from the 10 hatcheries and breeding stations in the Department of Wyoming. To provide anglers with more variety, Game and Fish trades trout or trout roe with other states for cold and warm water species like catfish, bass, northern pike and walleye. .
These trades are necessary because Game and Fish does not have a fish farm capable of raising these warm water species. But this ability is slowly changing. In 2021, Dan Speas Fish Hatchery in Casper continued its cold/warm water expansion trials to raise walleye, one of Wyoming’s most popular sport fish.
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“Simply put, these trials are incredibly innovative. The culture section of Game and Fish has recognized the growing popularity of these cold/warm water species in Wyoming,” said Alan Osterland, Head of Fisheries for Game and Fish. “These trials are the first step in an ongoing effort to provide Wyoming anglers with excellent fishing opportunities.”
Improving the ability to respond to harvester demands is important to Wyoming’s hatchery system. A big accomplishment for 2021 was hitting a landmark with captive kokanee salmon broodstock at Tillett Springs Breeding Station. Kokanee, a native landlocked salmon, is quickly becoming a favorite with many anglers.
“We had a good year of breeding kokanee. The broodstock has produced around 2.5 million eggs this year,” said Guy Campbell, fish farming supervisor. “It’s remarkable because our program previously depended on the wild Wyoming population for eggs, now we’re very self-sufficient in raising kokanee for anglers. We should be able to meet all of Kokani’s storage requests next summer. »
Wyoming is the only state in the country to have a stock of captive kokanee as well as broodstock of captive golden trout housed at Story Hatchery.
Another standout for 2021 was the Bear River Cutthroat. Native trout species have thrived and fish managers have capitalized on the growth. Bear River cutthroats are bred at Speas and Wigwam Breeding Stations.
“We stocked 425,000 Bear River cutthroats in 2020 and 839,000 in 2021,” said Travis Trimble, assistant fish farming supervisor. “A few years ago, fish biologists began to notice this species appearing more and more in the trap and in their sampling efforts. Not only present, but also in very good condition. Therefore, the regional fisheries supervisors requested this species in their region for increased numbers of fishermen.
Healthy fish and plentiful stocks are essential as Wyoming continues to satisfy resident anglers time and time again, and also keeps the state’s fisheries a favorite with non-residents. Anglers can view Game and Fish stocking reports online as early as 1985 at https://wgfapps.wyo.gov/FishStock/FishStock.