Trout – California’s Gold (8012)

Huell travels to the high sierras on horseback to see how trout are dropped from an airplane into High Sierra Mountain lakes — a spectacular sight.

At the San Joaquin Fish Hatchery near Fresno, we see how tiny rainbow trout are grown in preparation for “planting. Then it’s off to the Fresno airport to hitch an exciting plane ride with the Department of Fish and Game pilots, who are skilled at maneuvering through the high mountains and into the deep valleys to drop or “plant” lakes with trout. At last, we travel to Duck Lake on horseback to witness the trout as they drop from the plane.

Before the advent of the airplane, trout were “planted” in hundreds of California Lakes by horseback– a difficult task that would take an entire summer to complete. In 1947, the Department of Fish and Game began using airplanes to complete the task and even employed WWII pilots whose skills as bomber pilots were put to a new use.