Trophy trout released into Shaver Lake

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif.

Fish and Game officials were busy Monday morning netting trophy-size fish from the San Joaquin Hatchery. "Everything has to be hand done with fish this size. They're way too big to go through our fish pumps," said Greg Paape with the San Joaquin Fish Hatchery.

Once loaded into the truck, more than 300 Rainbow Trophy Trout -- each weighing about 5 pounds -- were transported to their new home in Shaver Lake. "We're putting in a lot more fish than we normally do. Our normal trophy fish allotment is 1,500 pounds. We're going to be doing about 10,000 pounds this year," said Paape.

The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project raised donations to restock the lake after it was drained last year. "It's going to be very important for the local economy at Shaver Lake. People are going to come up here, they're going to have a wonderful time fishing and their businesses should flourish from that," said Robert Bernier with the Trout Project.

"They're already starting to move out. We can see that right by where we put them in, they're already gone and you can see them surfacing out farther in the lake," said Paape. It will take a while for the trout to disperse throughout the lake but fishermen are already out, eyeing the catchable prize. "Pretty glad to have the fish in the lake now because it's been dry for so long," said Bill Padfield.

Padfield has been fishing at Shaver for more than 20 years now and is looking forward to catching a sizeable fish. "There's fish here right now, they're on the small size," said Padfield.

Some families had their fishing lines in the water, trying their luck to catch the big one. "We hope to get at least one or two of those Trophy Trout, that'd be great. Maybe even put one on the wall," joked Doug Buchanan of Fresno.

Officials say more trophy-size fish will be released into the water in the coming weeks -- making Shaver a great fishing destination this season.

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