The S.C. Department of Natural Resources stocked approximately 17,000 rainbow and brown trout into the lower SaludaRiver near Columbia on Dec. 17 using a helicopter and a specialized lift bucket.

This year, around 4,000 of the rainbows and 2,000 of the browns were tagged with what's known as a T-bar tag attached just below the dorsal fin. Each tag will be individually numbered to provide means of gathering data on a particular fish as part of a study to collect information about the river’s trout population, including survival rate, growth rates and natural and angler mortality. Fishermen can assist SCDNR biologists by reporting their catches of tagged trout. Details can be found at www.dnr.sc.gov, well as at kiosks located at several public access points along the river.

Trout came from Walhalla State Fish Hatchery in Oconee County. The cold waters released from the bottom of LakeMurray provide suitable habitat for the trout in the river, creating a unique and very popular fishery in the Midlands.

SCDNR stocks approximately 30,000 trout in the Saluda each year from December through February in what it calls a "put, grow and take" fishery that relies on stocking to maintain populations and the cooperation of anglers for success. Young trout grow rapidly after stocking. Given time to grow, they can exceed 20 inches. Conservation officers will be patrolling the river heavily to try and hold down over-the-limit catches.

Approximately 400,000 trout are stocked into public waters in the state's upcountry each year by the South Carolina DNR. The trout are stocked in more than 50 cold-water rivers and streams in Greenville, Pickens and Oconee counties, in LakeJocassee, and in the cool tail-waters below the LakeHartwell and Lake Murray dams.