Fish Stocking Reports

Every year, our hatcheries raise and release over 8 million trout, char and kokanee - from juvenile fry to catchable size fish. Use the stocking report tool to find out what we released, where and when.

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Learn more about Stocked Strains

Individual fish populations develop unique traits,  adapting to the conditions of their local environment. Learn about the origin and habitat preferences, as well as fishing tips, for species we stock.

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Fish Stocking Reports

Each year, in consultation with provincial fisheries managers, we stock more than 800 lakes and rivers throughout BC. And while the Freshwater Fisheries Society has only been stocking B.C.'s waterbodies since 2003, our records include data for all historical releases.

The Stocking Report tool allows you to filter and generate reports for the regions, waterbodies or fish species you are most interested in. The Detailed Report provides information on every stocking release event, while the Summary Report compiles information on an annual basis. After choosing a report type, you are not required to select any of the other filter options. To learn more about a particular lake, visit the Where to Fish mapping tool.

Many low productivity lakes in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island regions are stocked with catchable size fish. However, most lakes in the province receive juvenile fry, finglerings or yearlings. When looking at the stocking records, keep in mind that juvenile fish aren't of catchable size for a year, or more, post release. And while we try to update the database daily, during extremely busy periods in the spring and fall, it may take a couple of days until the stocking records are entered post-release.

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Stocked Strains

Our six hatcheries raise and release rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, eastern brook char, kokanee, and steelhead for recreational fisheries and white sturgeon and lake char for conservation purposes. 

While all fish share traits common to the species, there are often significant differences between regional populations or strains. These unique traits are the result of the individual populations adapting to the specific conditions associated with their local habitat, community and available resources. Below we've included information on the species and strains we stock, including their origin, habitat preferences, and tips to help you fish for them.

Origin: The white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) is the largest and longest-lived freshwater fish in B.C. The Society operates conservation hatchery programs to preserve populations, and bolster the numbers of juveniles. Each spring, mature fish are caught and live-spawned, with the eggs fertilized from each female. After spawning, the parent fish are released unharmed back where they had been caught.
Habitat: Adult white sturgeon live in deep, fast waters and spend the majority of their time on the bottom of large rivers or lakes. White sturgeon are bottom feeders. Due to their poor eyesight, sturgeon use their barbels (whisker-like feelers) to locate prey. Small sturgeon will often eat chironomids and aquatic invertebrates. Adult sturgeon eat fish, and are known for following a salmon run up the river.
Description: White sturgeon can grow up to six metres in length, and live over 100 years. Like sharks and rays, sturgeon have cartilaginous, not bony, skeletons. Their appearance has remained largely unchanged over the last 175 million years. They have a long, cylindrical body, toothless mouth, large pectoral fins, a heterocercal tail (with upper and lower halves of different sizes), and armour-like, bony plates along the back and sides. While white sturgeon have relatively poor eyesight, they have a highly developed sensory system to detect prey in large turbid rivers.
Fishing: There are six populations of white sturgeon in Canada. These include the Lower Fraser, Middle Fraser, Upper Fraser, Kootenay, Upper Columbia, and Nechako populations. Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act, four of these endangered populations are closed to all recreational fishing. Recreational fishing has been strictly catch-and-release since 1994 on the Fraser and in the Thompson-Nicola region.

Origin: Eastern brook char (Salvelinus fontinalis) are not native to freshwaters west of the Rockies. Using broodstock that originated in Ontario, the Society stocks various water bodies with fish that are collected in a lake near Kamloops. This lake is closed to fishing.
Habitat: While eastern brook char prefer cool water, they can tolerate a wider range of water temperatures and higher acidities than other salmonids. In B.C., you’ll mostly find brook char in lakes, but there are also some small populations in low-velocity streams and rivers. They are not particularly fussy eaters, and will consume a broad range of organisms. Juvenile fish typically feed on zooplankton and aquatic insects. Older, larger char may specialize in forage fish from open water or focus on nymphs, leeches, and adult aquatic insects from the lake-bottom. In general, the eastern brook char’s diet will adjust to whatever food is available.
Description: Eastern brook char have a deep body, square tail, and a large head relative to the total body length. Typically, they have olive-green to dark brown backs, with lighter colouring on the sides that becomes white on the bottom. Characteristic marble-like patterns are present on the head and back, with thick, black, wavy lines on the dorsal fin. Pale spots, and small discrete red spots surrounded by blue halos, are present along the sides of the body. Anal, pelvic, and pectoral fins have white leading edges followed by black pigment and reddish colouration. Their colour becomes more intense at spawning time, with males turning fiery orange-red on the belly.
Fishing: Brook char are not as popular a sport fish in B.C. as in eastern Canada. However, a growing number of enthusiastic anglers target this aggressive striker. Brook char provide good angling during both the summer and winter months where lake water temperatures have made rainbow trout less active. Wet or dry flies, spoons, spinners, and bait are all successful methods of targetting brook char.

Origin: Kokanee (Oncorhynchus nerka) are the freshwater form of sockeye salmon. To create recreational and commercial fisheries, kokanee have been introduced widely across North America. Here in B.C., eggs are traditionally harvested at the spawning channel in Meadow Creek, which is located at the north end of Kootenay Lake. Harvesting occurs only after enough kokanee are on the spawning grounds to provide sufficient natural reproduction. The Society also maintains other reproductive sources to meet the need for eggs when adult returns are low. These sources include Norbury Creek, Deka Lake, Sulphurous Lake, and Osilinka River.
Habitat: Although sockeye spend time at sea and return to freshwater to spawn, kokanee spend their entire lives in freshwater. While kokanee can be found in areas where there aren’t any sockeye, in some lakes, kokanee will actually spawn in the same streams as sockeye. Even where this occurs, kokanee maintain unique genetic characteristics. Kokanees’ food sources vary with season and location, and will include crustacean plankton, phytoplankton, insects, and other zooplankton. During the spring and fall when lakes are not layered (stratified), kokanee can be found at various depths. In the summer, they will often occupy the middle layers of open water. However, with more extreme temperatures in summer (or winter), they will typically move to deeper water. When the lake is stratified, adults and juveniles will often move to the upper or middle, food-rich layers at dusk and dawn. In some systems, once juveniles reach a bigger size, they may forage inshore during the day.
Description: Kokanee are bright silver with steel-blue to green-blue backs, and a deeply forked caudal fin. Kokanee have no distinct black spots or markings, although there are sometimes dark marks on the dorsal fin. Older fry and juveniles have small oval parr marks. Mature males develop a turned-up (hooked) snout, gaping mouth and small hump in front of the dorsal fin. Maturing males and females turn bright red to dirty red-grey on the sides and back, with bright green to olive-black heads. These colour changes are less pronounced in females, which are usually a darker, red-grey colour.
Fishing: Kokanee are a popular sport fish because of their schooling behaviour, willingness to strike, and excellent eating qualities. They are also good fish to target in summer and winter when water temperatures make fishing for rainbow trout more difficult.

Origin: The coastal cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii clarkii) or searun cutthroat, is the only subspecies of cutthroat trout in North America that’s born in freshwater, lives in saltwater, then returns to spawn in freshwater. Its native range stretches from Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula south to the Eel River in northern California. The Society’s coastal cutthroat trout broodstock is collected from tributaries of the Fraser River.
Habitat: Coastal cutthroat trout exhibit one of three forms. Non-migratory forms spend their entire lives within a specific small stream or headwater tributary. Freshwater migratory forms remain within larger bodies of freshwater, and migrate to spawn in smaller tributaries or lake outlets. Saltwater-migratory, or searun, forms migrate to the ocean in late winter and early spring to feed on crustaceans and baitfish before returning to freshwater late in the summer. Searun cutthroat trout can spend two to five years in freshwater before their initial seaward migration. Rarely found more than 160 kilometres inland from the ocean, these trout utilize a large variety of habitats, including saltwater estuaries, large and small river systems, sloughs, ponds, and lakes.
Description: Searun and freshwater forms of coastal cutthroat trout differ in appearance. In freshwater, these fish have dark green to greenish-blue backs, olive-green upper flanks, and silvery lower flanks and bellies. They also display numerous spots on their sides below the lateral line, with irregularly-shaped spots on their dorsal, adipose, and caudal fins. In saltwater, and shortly after returning to freshwater, searun trout are silver in colour with bluish backs, yellowish lower flanks and fins, and a minimal display of irregularly-shaped spots. Searun cutthroat have distinctive red or orange linear marks along the underside of their jaws. Cutthroat trout can generally be distinguished from rainbows by the presence of teeth at the base of tongue, and a maxillary (jaw) that extends beyond the posterior edge of the eye.
Fishing: Coastal cutthroat are efficient predators, but can be difficult for anglers to catch.
One of the best ways to target these fish is to locate a school of feeding fish. Searun cutthroat can weigh up to two kilograms, while freshwater resident fish are typically much smaller. When in freshwater during fall, winter, and spring, target coastal cutthroat with fly gear, spoons, spinners, or bait.

Origin: Westslope cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi) is one of two sub-species of cutthroat trout native to B.C. Most populations of westslope cutthroat in southern and eastern areas of the province have been decimated by a combination of habitat loss, poor fisheries management, and hybridization with non-native rainbow trout. The Kootenay River watershed still supports many robust wild populations, and contains the core range of remaining westslope cutthroat. Connor Lakes, located in the Height of the Rockies Provincial Park, provide the sole source of wild westslope cutthroat broodstock for hatchery production.
Habitat: Westslope cutthroat can be found in big rivers and lakes as well as small, high-elevation mountain streams. They have a strict requirement for cold, clean water, and good stream cover. Because westslope cutthroat have evolved in isolation from other trout species, they are a poor competitor in systems where species like rainbow trout and brook char are introduced. They are opportunistic feeders, aggressively pursuing whatever is seasonably abundant. They will feed on most invertebrates underwater, as well as flying or terrestrial insects that land on the water’s surface.
Description: Like other cutthroat trout sub-species, older fish can be distinguished by characteristic orange-red slashes on each side of the lower jaw. They vary in colouration from silver to yellow-green, but most have an arc of irregular dark spots from the anal to the pectoral fins, along with a few spots below the lateral line of the body. Spawning fish develop a deep red colour.
Fishing: Westslope cutthroat are typically small compared to other trout, occasionally reaching upwards of 50 centimetres. What these trout lack in size, they make up for in tenacity when hooked. The pristine waters in which westslope trout occur also tend to have low food productivity, which provides angling where few, or no other, sport fish occur. Depending on the water body, westslope cutthroat are available almost year ’round to anglers. While they are highly popular with fly-fishers in both streams and lakes during warmers months, they also support ice fishing on lakes in the winter.

Origin: Located approximately 50 kilometres east of Merritt on the Thompson Plateau, Pennask
Lake lies within the Upper Spahomin watershed. Although the lake has low productivity, it has always maintained a large monoculture (single-species) population of small rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). A permanent egg-collection station has operated on Pennask Creek, the major inlet stream, since 1927.
Habitat: Pennask Lake is naturally devoid of other fish species. As a result, the trout’s natural prey are mainly aquatic and terrestrial insects. Since Pennask rainbow trout have evolved in this environment, they grow and survive most successfully in highly productive (food-rich) monoculture lakes of the Plateau area where they do not have to compete with other fish species. Within any lake, this strain is pelagic, preferring deep open water. Another key trait of Pennask Lake rainbow is their exceptional ability to conserve body fat. This allows them to survive long winters, and makes them ideal for stocking cold, high-elevation lakes.
Description: Rainbow trout in Pennask Lake are generally small at maturity. However, when stocked into productive monoculture lakes, they grow well and reach a much larger size before maturity. Typical for Interior trout, these fish are lightly spotted on the body, mostly along the back and tail.
Fishing: Most active at dusk, Pennask rainbow are mid-water foragers that feed primarily on benthic (bottom) organisms like chironomid pupae or cladocerans (water fleas). The trout are not highly piscivorous (fish-eating), and show no evidence of preying on non-salmonid fish until they are at least two years old. Pennask rainbow trout have a reputation for being very aggressive, and are world-renowned for their fighting ability and tendency to jump when hooked. And, because this strain focusses on invertebrate prey, experienced fly-fishers often prefer the Pennask rainbows to other strains of stocked rainbows.

Origin: Originating in the Ilgachuz Range northwest of Quesnel in central British Columbia, the Blackwater River stretches 280 kilometres, and eventually drains into the Fraser River. The broodstock for the Blackwater River strain of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) are collected from Dragon Lake, on the outskirts of Quesnel.
Habitat: Adapted to rivers, Blackwater trout in lakes tend to prefer shallow shoal areas that mimic a stream. They thrive in environments where they’re in competition with other species, and are more aggressive than many strains of trout. As a result, they are better suited for lakes with non-salmonid fish populations or a high proportion of shoal area. While Blackwater rainbow trout can be stocked into many different types of lakes, because of their potential migratory nature, they are usually stocked into lakes with no accessible outlet streams.
Description: The Blackwater strain is often more densely spotted from head to tail than the Pennask strain. They typically have a high concentration of spots above the lateral line, a body-spotting pattern that’s common in coastal rainbow trout. Blackwater rainbows grow quickly in lakes with varied sources of food and can get very large. Their girth is often much thicker than other wild strains.
Fishing: Blackwater trout typically prefer large prey like dragonfly nymphs, snails, and molluscs. After their first year, they may begin feeding on small, non-salmonid fish. Once they’ve reached maturity, they demonstrate a strong preference for feeding on fish. Their voracious, shallow-water foraging behaviour allows anglers to target them more easily than many other strains. Combined with the strain’s rapid growth, this makes Blackwater rainbows a favourite among knowledgeable anglers.

Origin: Unlike the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC’s other strains, Fraser Valley rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) are a purely domesticated variety. The strain was first developed during the 1940s at a trout hatchery in Tacoma, Washington. The Society purchased broodstock in the 1960s, and moved the fish to our Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery. In 2011, we relocated the broodstock to the Vancouver Island Trout Hatchery in Duncan. The stock is often referred to as the “McLeary strain” in honour of Ed McLeary, who was a key figure in establishing the program.
Habitat: This strain is typically used to stock urban lakes for our “Fishing in the City” program. Because their fast growth rate allows them to reach a significant size by late summer and fall, Fraser Valley rainbow are also used extensively in lakes that are prone to winter kill. Critical in waters where there’s the potential for interbreeding with wild fish, only sterile Fraser Valley progeny are stocked.
Description: Fraser Valley rainbow are heavily spotted above and below the lateral line, and on the caudal (tail) fin. They grow quickly and will typically have a large girth compared to other strains. Raised on an artificial diet at the hatchery, once released they adopt a wild-strain diet of various invertebrates. They are most successful when stocked into productive lakes and can get quite big.
Fishing: Fraser Valley rainbows are extremely aggressive, and aren’t generally wary of predators. As a result, they can be caught on a wide variety of fishing gear, and are an ideal target for kids and inexperienced anglers. Although they aren’t known for jumping, the size and strength of Fraser Valley rainbows can make for a very good fight.

Origin: While steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) are the same species as freshwater rainbow trout, these fish will actually spend a portion of their life cycle in the ocean. Some steelhead, mostly females, will also spawn in successive years. An individual fish can live up to nine years. Steelhead adults are collected from various Lower Mainland rivers, and are spawned at the Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery.
Habitat: There are two distinct runs of steelhead. Summer-run steelhead return from the ocean from April to October, and spawn in the spring. Winter-run steelhead enter rivers from November to May, and spawn soon after. Both types of steelhead can be present in the same river. As the fry emerge in late spring, they migrate to cool, faster flowing, well-oxygenated water. Older juveniles tend to inhabit areas of a stream that provide well-oxygenated water, and protection from predators. Upon reaching the ocean, steelhead move rapidly offshore, and migrate along the coast from northern California to the Gulf of Alaska while feeding on various baitfish.
Description: Steelhead have the same general appearance as rainbow trout. When adult steelhead begin migrating into freshwater to spawn, they are typically silver with heavy spotting above the lateral line. They will begin to develop blue-olive green colouration with a pink hue that runs from the gill plate to the tail, which will turn dark red as they approach spawning. Steelhead are distinguished by their streamlined body shape and large square caudal fin, which is only mildly forked. Steelhead can grow quite large, in rare cases reaching as much as 18 kilograms.
Fishing: Due to their strength, beauty, and acrobatic performances, steelhead are considered one of the top freshwater game fish in North America. They can be targeted with a variety of fishing gear that includes flies, spoons, spinners, jigs, and bait. These fish can be elusive and hard to catch. Landing a steelhead is an experience that isn’t soon forgotten.