Overview of Lake Stocking for Recreational Fisheries in Interior Alaska
James T. Fish
Abstract.—The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Sport Fish operates a Stocked Waters Program within Alaska to provide increased recreational angling opportunities and to function as a conservation mechanism where angling is diverted from wild stocks to propagated fish released into lakes and select streams. Within interior Alaska, the Stocked Waters Program is particularly important to anglers since opportunities to participate in sport fisheries with anadromous fish are limited when compared to opportunities in coastal regions of Alaska. More than 100 lakes and ponds are stocked annually within Alaska’s interior, providing year-round recreational angling opportunities, much of which would otherwise not exist. Lake stocking is guided and controlled by the state’s Lake Stocking Policy, a fish pathology policy, a fish genetics policy, a publicly reviewed Statewide Stocking Plan for Recreational Fisheries, and a fish transport permitting system. Two fish hatcheries located in south-central Alaska currently propagate five species of fish for lake stocking, but an interior-based fish hatchery may soon be constructed in Fairbanks for the Stocked Waters Program. Evaluations of stocked fish populations and the fisheries they provide enable biologist to determine the best fish species, life stage, and time of release for each introduction, as well as sensible fishery management practices for stocked lakes. The Stocked Waters Program is considered a vital component of the division’s overall mission and goals.