By Jamie Leary

SAINT MARY’S GLACIER, Colo. (CBS4) – Colorado Parks and Wildlife continues to work to ensure anglers have recreational opportunities, and Thursday, CBS4 tagged along as they stocked Saint Mary’s Lake with 1,000 tiger trout.

“Through the parks and wildlife stocking program, stocking cutthroat around the state and stocking tiger trout like we did today, that puts fish in these high alpine lakes and allows anglers to go and fish for them,” said Paul Winkle, Aquatic Biologist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

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Crews with CPW filled bags with ice water and pure oxygen and loaded the young trout into the bags one careful scoop at a time.

(credit: CBS)

Then, they backpacked the fish just over a half-mile to the lake.

“A lot of work goes into getting fish into these high alpine lakes,” said Winkle.

(credit: CBS)

CPW stocks our lakes and rivers with more than 90 million fish annually. Not only is it critical for preservation of fish populations but angling brings in more than 2.4 billion dollars to the state each year and supports more than 17 thousand jobs.

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“In state and out of state anglers through them having to buy a fishing license, to fish in Colorado, brings a huge positive economic impact to Colorado through license sales and also through the local economics of having to buy equipment to fish,” he said.

(credit: CBS)

There’s also another goal for the tiger trout at Saint Mary’s Lake. The lake is crowded with smaller brook trout. The tiger trout is part brown trout, known for eating smaller fish.

“The tiger trout will eat the brook trout and kind of reduce their numbers, so they grow better and then also provide another different cool kind of fish to catch,” he said.

(credit: CBS)

High alpine lakes like Saint Mary’s likely wouldn’t have fish without the aid of agencies like CPW.

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“So, when you’re fishing a high alpine lake and catching fish, don’t take it for granted, there’s a lot of work through our hatchery system that goes into raising these fish.”

Jamie Leary