Fish are being dropped by the thousands from planes over Utah’s lakes, and footage of the aerial descent has become a guilty pleasure on social media.
State officials say the strange, but officially sanctioned, practice is part of an ”extreme fish stocking” program that dumps up to 35,000 fish at a time over “high elevation lakes across the state.”
Video of a recent drop, posted July 9 on Facebook, shows the fish are literally spewed from the underbelly of planes — and then free-fall to earth.
“The fish are between 1-3 inches long, so they flutter down slowly to the water,” the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources reported. “These lakes are not accessible by vehicle and other means of stocking.”
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Officials say they’ve been air dropping fish into lakes since the 1950s, and the survival rate is more than 95%.
The state’s video has gotten nearly 60,000 views in three days, inspiring every imaginable “skydiving fish” pun. There has also been growing speculation over what it’s like to get smacked in the head by the fish, with some people trying to calculate the force at which fish hit the water.
State officials didn’t say if anyone had ever been hit in a fish drop, but noted the hefty payload of fish and water weighs several hundred pounds.
“Just imagine fishing one of those lakes on a stocking day. Just minding my own business trying to catch dinner then smack! Right in the head with a baby flying fish,” Joshua Sheppard wrote on the state’s Facebook page.
“I just see a bunch of painful belly flops from high in the air!” Ed Price said.
“The tough part is putting those tiny parachutes on each fish,” Tony Dennis joked.
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