Volunteers and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department Stock Beaver Ponds
Saturday morning, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department organized the largest volunteer event of the year at the I-80 Summit Truck Parking just outside of Laramie. With the help of volunteers the WGFD planned to stock 180 ponds in an 80 square mile area of the Pole Mountain Drainage.
Around 100 volunteers filed in and parked behind the four lead vehicles awaiting departure out to the beaver ponds. Many parents and their children watched as Game and Fish employees drained 8 pounds per bucket of fingerling brook trout to take out to the first locations. The stocking truck is aerated providing the oxygen fish need to breathe.
This process started three years ago. This year a total of 18,000 brook trout were brought from the Speas Fish Hatchery in Casper to be stocked. This three day or longer job was completed in only a day thanks to wonderful volunteers who care about the conservation of Wyoming fish species.
All volunteers had something to take away from the event. Many involved had similar views as Bruce Har with Forever Wild Families. Har said, "We are having a great time, it's good to be outside and really enjoying the environment".
Forever Wild Families is a program that introduces people as a family to fishing, hunter education classes, practice shooting, pheasant hunts, and volunteer opportunities. The program gives families activities to do to appreciate nature and wildlife and enjoy the resources we have here in Wyoming. The program is present in Lander, Cody, and Laramie.
Dale Blakely with Platte Rivers Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing brought a couple veterans with him to experience the event. What Blakely does is take disabled veterans out to fish, providing all the necessary equipment to have a fun trip. They have a group in Laramie, Ft. Collins, Loveland, and Cheyenne as well.
Fish Culturist Colin Hosmer said his favorite part was, "Just seeing all the little kids stock the fish. (Laughing) It looks like they are having a pretty good time doing it too."
His colleague, Hunter Burningham said his favorite part was, "Making a difference in the state and providing better opportunities to anglers and see them be successful".
The Game and Fish Department has been stocking fish in beaver ponds for 30 to 40 years now. Fish Biologist Steve Gale said, "Brook trout have been in this area for a long time and they're actually not a native trout to this area. But they're well established here and provide really good fishing".