Tahoe Lake Elementary School fifth-grader Kelly Lane giggled as she carried her net back toward the truck from the bank of the Truckee River in Tahoe City.
Lane had just released a Lahontan cutthroat trout into the Truckee River, and she said he was a fighter.
“My fish didn’t want to get out,” Lane said. “He was really feisty.”
David Goggin, one of the fifth-grade teachers at Tahoe Lake, took his students to the California State Science Fair in Sacramento last Tuesday. It was there that Goggin and his students met Patrick Foy, who was working a California Fish and Game booth at the fair that focused on native fish species.
In talking, Foy learned Goggin taught in Tahoe City, where Foy would be doing a Lahontan cutthroat trout release.
As it is the first time in four years that the native trout species have been released in the Truckee River, Goggin partnered up with Toni Rockwell’s kindergarten class, which happened to be studying life cycles, for an impromptu hands-on field trip to help Fish and Game release some of the 315 trout into the river.
“This is one of those rare treats,” Rockwell said of being able to show kids how things work right in their own backyard.
Because Groggin’s fifth grade class and Rockwell’s kindergarten class are a buddy class, teaming up for leadership and studies that benefit both ages, the group was able to take the field trip without the necessity of parents to chaperone.
The fifth graders helped look after the little ones, and they all had a great time carrying trout, most of which were a bright red color and weighed about five pounds, from the Fish and Game transport truck to the Truckee River.
“[My fish] was really normal, it just wanted to go in the water,” fifth grader Octavio Munoz said of the Lahontan he released.
Each of the 315 fish released were spawned in a lake and are what is called broad stock ” fish that had their eggs harvested to supply hatcheries around California and then released into the wild.
Mainly the fish are released for anglers, but Fish and Game officials hope those that survive will return to the upper Truckee and spawn.
“These fish are for people to catch,” Foy said of the released Lahontan.
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