RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -- 6,000 rainbow trout were planted in the Truckee River Wednesday, March 30, 2016, as the Nevada Department of Wildlife readied the river for fishing season.
"(The fish) are just over a year old right now," said Karie Wright with the Department of Wildlife.
The trout start their life at the Mason Valley Hatchery in Yerington. They arrive as an egg and spend the next 12-13 months growing into a medium-sized fish.
"At any given time we could have half a million to 3/4 of a million fish on station," said Wright.
According to Department of Wildlife Data, the average pound of trout costs $3.50 to $6.00 to raise depending on breed and planting location. Most fish exit the hatchery in the 2-3 fish per pound range.
NDOW estimates the fish stocking program costs $1.5 million statewide. 75% of the program is funded federally. The remainder of the money comes from license sales and trout stamps.
"When they buy their licenses and their trout stamps, all of those dollars actually match with federal funds and we are able to build that hatchery system that Nevada has," said Chris Healy with the Nevada Department of Wildlife.
Once the trout have matured, hatchery managers use a fish vacuum to suck the fish out of the hatchery and into a water-filled truck. After a few hour drive, they arrive at their destination and are placed into the river.
Fish were stocked in four locations Wednesday: Fisherman’s Park, Booth Street (Idlewild Park), the Patagonia Bridge (Mayberry Park), and Crystal Peak Park in Verdi.
"We like to put them in places where everyone can come. So these in-town locations, the parks, the bridges, places where people don't have to put a ton of effort into catching them// it is an easier fish to catch," said Travis Hawks, Fisheries Biologist with the Nevada Department of Wildlife.
That's what these planter fish are all about. They provide a catching experience for the casual fisherman who would otherwise have trouble hooking into a fish.
The Nevada Department of Wildlife plans to place 30,000 rainbow trout in the Truckee River this season. U.S. Fish and Wildlife plans to place 60,000 cutthroat trout in the river as well.