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SC wildlife officials plan trout release near Columbia

December 26, 2021 GMT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina wildlife officials are releasing thousands of trout into a river near Columbia.

The trout are raised at the Walhalla State Fish Hatchery in Oconee County and range in size from 8 inches (20 centimeters) to 11 inches (28 centimeters), the Department of Natural Resources said in a statement.

The fish grow rapidly to trophy size as they migrate around the area of the lower Saluda River downstream from Lake Murray, wildlife officials said.

The 30,000 trout are dropped by helicopter into the river where cold waters released from the bottom of Lake Murray provide a favorable habitat.

The fish release happens from December until February.

The fish are released from around the Interstate 20 bridge over the Saluda River to near Riverbanks Zoo. Anyone catching a fish in this area must release it, wildlife agents said,