Wednesday, April 22
The crew and I walk the lane to the boat ramp area.
There are a few campsites near the water’s edge, as indicated by rock fire rings. People who fish like these sites.
We walk over to the docks.
It’s a warm and breezy day, although Bridget and Reggie give the impression they are facing into an arctic blast.
It doesn’t have a boat or a boat trailer. Hmm . . . What’s this all about?
Then I see the writing on the side. A man gets out.
“Hi,” he greets us, sporting a wide smile.
“Hi,” I respond. “You’re unloading fish today! Mind if I take pictures?”
“No, not at all. Go ahead. It might be better on the other dock.”
“Oh yeah, and the sun is better that way.”
They jump out and come over to watch, too. Of course, we have questions, and the cheerful man from the fish hatchery is happy to answer!
As he goes about his work, he explains that he’s going to drop 1,400 rainbow trout, each one close to 12 inches in length.
“We want the angler to call and answer a few questions . . . stuff like where it was caught, size, how aggressive . . . It’s so we can best serve the customer. Some of the tags carry fifty dollar rewards.”
He adds that Idaho is one of the few states that has a program like this.
Anticipation mounts as the truck rolls further down the ramp and into the water.
Here they come!
“How do you get the tags on the fish?” a man asks.
“It’s done by hand. We have people who are pretty good at it,” the hatchery man replies.
The fish swim near the dock.
“Next Monday or Tuesday,” the hatchery man continues, “there’s gonna’ be a big truck coming here to unload fifteen thousand more.”
“What?” the bystanders and I exclaim. “Fifteen THOUSAND?”
“Yep . . . .Well, fourteen thousand five hundred, to be exact.”
I smile to myself.
What is it about fish that makes us exaggerate?
“Wow! That’s a lotta’ fish,” someone remarks.
The hatchery man stores the pipe and is about to leave. I thank him for explaining everything for us.
“You have a neat job,” I add.
Opening the door of his truck, he turns and grins at me, “Can’t complain!”
NOTE: Follow this link to learn more about the Hagerman National Fish Hatchery, and to see the size of the truck required to deliver 14,500 live fish. I hope to see it when it arrives here!
Also see a recent news article about the tagging program: “Tagging Aims to Get More Hatchery Trout onto Anglers’ Lines”
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