Fish Stocking Facts

In British Columbia, about 800 lakes and streams are stocked annually with over eight million trout, char, and kokanee produced from the hatcheries operated by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC (FFSBC).

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations' regional lakes biologists submit their lake stocking requests for the number of fish, a specific strain and species, the life stage, and a preferred size.

From the Hatchery to the Lake

Most lakes in BC are accessible by road so the most common method of stocking fish is by tanker truck. The fish have an oxygen supply in these tanks as they travel several hours to reach their new homes. Frequent stops are made by the fish culturist to check the oxygen levels and water temperatures in the tank to ensure that the fish remain comfortable during their trip. The fish are released into the water by pouring them out of a bucket or by a flexible tube.

When a lake is not accessible by road, the alternative is air release. Approximately 200 systems in the province are stocked by use of a helicopter. A 100 foot cable hangs below the helicopter with a “fry mover” container at the end. Guided by a fish culturist to find a suitable release spot, the pilot controls the release of the fry by using an electronic switch. Although the fry 

are released 20 feet above the water's surface, they land safely in the waiting pools.

Types of Fish Stocked in BC

The FFSBC stocks rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, brook char, steelhead, and kokanee salmon for the angler. Each strain and species occupies unique habitats and offers different angling experiences.

Who Decides? 

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations will request a strain and type of fish that is best suited for that environment. Salmon species are released by federal facilities.

Lake Stocking Times

Fish are released several times a year, primarily during the spring (March-May) and fall (Sept-Nov).

Vancouver Island Fish Stocking Timeline

BC Interior and Northern BC Fish Stocking Timeline

Lower Mainland Fish Stocking Timeline

Kootenay Fish Stocking Timeline

The Eggs to Release Story

The FFSBC is responsible for stocking eight million fish into over 800 lakes and streams throughout the province.

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Stocked Strains

FFSBC is striving to implement stocking programs that support this mandate.

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