Rainbow trout, cutthroat, walleye and other game fish are turning the tables on the people of Colorado.
Thanks to huge, visually stunning images adorning Colorado Parks and Wildlife hatchery trucks, the fish are now doing the catching – eye-catching, that is.
At the direction of then-Director Bob Broscheid, CPW embarked several years ago on a program to wrap dozens of hatchery trucks in high-resolution images of some of the 100 million fish it stocks each year in Colorado.
The vibrant photos of glistening trout, bass, crappie and other aquatic life beckon passing motorists as the trucks make their rounds delivering fish from CPW’s 19 hatcheries to Colorado’s 2,000 natural lakes, 800 reservoirs and 9,500 miles of trout streams.
In addition to the photos, the trucks carry the hatchery division’s slogan: “Your fishin’ is our mission” as well as an important message of conservation.
Fishing Funds Conservation
“These new wraps are a way to get our message across about what our hatcheries do,” said Riley Morris, CPW hatchery chief. “The trucks offer us a great way to display a message, talk about how many fish we produce and why we do it.
“And maybe when they see these pictures of the fish, they might get excited at the idea it’s a CPW truck delivering fish to their reservoir where they like to fish.”
The vinyl wraps replace the familiar logo of two leaping fish framing the name of the hatchery where the truck is based.
The high-res images hint at the high-tech modern equipment used to raise and transport fish, as compared to the ox cart a Cleveland man used to bring seven sunfish to Denver from Ohio in 1862 in the first documented introduction of non-native fish in Colorado.
Fish – native and imported – have been on the move ever since, including the introduction of rainbow trout from California in 1882.
And they have travelled in a variety of ways including by horse-drawn wagons and in saddle-bags. Pack mule trains carried fish to remote, high-altitude lakes and streams. Glass aquarium trucks lured motorists who followed them to their stocking locations. Trains, planes and helicopters have all carried fish.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Hatchery Fleet
Today, CPW has a fleet of about four-dozen trucks and trailers of various sizes delivering fish for anglers including a Moby Dick-sized truck that carries six 600-gallon tanks.
“They are great billboards,” said Brandon White, CPW assistant chief of hatcheries. “And we want people to understand that their license dollars go to support stocking for recreation and conservation.”
Trucks from warm-water hatcheries are wrapped in images of warm-water fish like walleye, crappie, bass and catfish, White said. They also have the name of the hatchery along with the conservation message.
Coldwater trucks have images of rainbow trout, tiger trout, cutbow, native cutthroat and kokanee salmon, as well as the hatchery name where the truck is based.
So next time you are stuck in traffic, maybe a giant brown trout or kokanee salmon will catch your eye and it will distract you from the gridlock. Even better, perhaps it will entice you to wet a line at your favorite lake or stream and remind you why you live in Colorado.
Written by Bill Vogrin. Vogrin is a public information officer for the Colorado Parks and Wildlife southeast region. Video by Jerry Neal. Neal is the senior videographer and a media specialist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.