In March, this young bonytail was captured in Lake Powell. Catching a bonytail is always a rare event, but this time it’s even more interesting because this little one is only about 5 months old and was stocked in the lake as a very small young-of-year about 2-3 inches long.
Typically, hatcheries stock bonytail after rearing them for two years when they’ve reached a length of about 12 inches. While bonytail are growing in the hatchery ponds they often successfully reproduce. Those offspring need to be moved out of the rearing ponds and are sometimes stocked into nearby waters within the upper Colorado River basin, which is the origin story of this fish.
In October of 2022, this fish was stocked into Lake Powell at Wahweap Bay as an untagged young-of-year. This spring Barrett Friesen from Utah State University was sampling for a research project and caught our friend. The capture location is about 5 or 6 miles down lake from where it was stocked.
Good luck, little buddy!