Aerial Fish Planting in High Elevation Lakes

(Photo: DFG file photo)
Most trout planting in high elevation lakes is done by airplane when the fish are still very small and the fall from the airplane will cause them no harm.

Question: I was wondering how Fish and Game plants fish in high elevation lakes and ponds in the Tahoe National Forest, where you can only reach them by hiking? (Bradley G.)

Answer: The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) uses a variety of methods to release fish into waters designated for receiving fish. In high-mountain waters that our planting trucks cannot reach, approximately 95 percent of the fish are planted by air. We also transport fish for planting by horse, mule and backpack.

DFG is very selective in planting high mountain lakes. Lakes that are planted do not receive plants every year. According to Dr. William Cox, DFG Program Manager for Fish Production and Distribution, that is not necessary because the fish grow very slowly and the successive year plants would not produce fish with notable size differences. Usually they are planted every second or third year.

At lower elevations most planting is done by trucking fish to designated sites.

Is There a Limit on How Much a Child Angler Can Catch?
If I have a youngster on my vessel, is the child allowed to catch the same full limit as a licensed angler? I’ve been reading reports about some fishing trips where everyone takes a limit of lobster including limits for small children aboard the vessel. Thanks. (Steve M.)

Answer: Yes, unlicensed anglers under the age of 16 with a lobster report card can catch and keep a limit of lobsters for themselves. However, youngsters must be actively involved in the fishing operation and take their own lobsters. The same goes for fishing. You can bet a game warden will question how a toddler or infant took a limit of lobsters or fish.

Importing Snakes from Mexico to the U.S.
I am a snake enthusiast who will soon be taking a collecting trip through the southern states and Mexico to collect snakes found outside of California. Where do I go to find a list of importable snakes versus banned ones? What is the process for legally bringing in a non-native snake or subspecies not found here? Thank you. (Seth D.)

Answer: Any reptile species brought into the United States from Mexico requires Mexico permits and a United States Fish and Wildlife Service import license. According to Game Warden Kyle Chang, you cannot bring any species into California from other states or Mexico that are listed as being endangered or threatened species (FGC 2080). Lists of prohibited reptile species can be found in the Fish and Game Code (FGC 2118) and the Title 14 California Code of Regulations (T-14 CCR 671).

Almost all venomous reptiles are prohibited in California. Reptiles may only be imported into California as long as:

1. They were legally taken and possessed outside of this state.
2. There are no regulations prohibiting their possession in California, and
3. A “Declaration for Entry of Fish and Game” form is submitted to the DFG or designated agency at or immediately before the time of entry (FGC 2353[a]).

These are the regulations just for importing reptiles into California. If you plan to take, transport through or import reptiles into other states, please check those states for their regulations.

Training Hunting Dogs and the Use of Tracking Collars
I am training hunting dogs for bear and pig hunting and need to buy new tracking collars. I’ve always used these old radio frequency collars but see that GPS collars are now available and cheaper to buy. One of the guys I hunt with said he thinks they are illegal. Is that true? (Marty H., Turlock)

Answer: Yes. GPS (global positioning system) collars and collars with treeing switches are prohibited when using dogs for the pursuit and take of mammals or for dog training (CCR Title 14 Section 265). GPS retrieval collars employ electronics that utilize satellite transmissions. Collars with treeing switches utilize a mercury switch mechanism that changes the collars’ signal transmission when the dog raises its head toward a treed animal.

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Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week. Please contact her at

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