Rainbow, brook and cutthroat trout — all about 112 inches long — were dropped into the lakes from a special stocking shuttle carried beneath a helicopter.

State fish biologists took to the air last week to release 350,000 trout in more than 450 backwoods lakes within the Cascade and Siskiyou mountains, including several in Jackson County.

Rainbow, brook and cutthroat trout — all about 11/2 inches long — were dropped into the lakes from a special stocking shuttle carried beneath a helicopter.

The tiny fish flutter into the lakes from about 100 feet above the surface, easily surviving the trauma better than older, larger trout, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Most of the trout grow to 8 to 12 inches long, and they are the backbone of the high-mountain fisheries enjoyed by summer backpackers and horsepackers visiting lakes not accessible by roads.

Locally, several lakes within the Sky Lakes Wilderness Area received trout. The include Carey, Pear, Horseshoe, Blue Canyon, Blue, Beal, Round, McKee, Alta, Cliff, Middle, Grass, and Ivern lakes.

Other waterbodies stocked by air include Lost Lake in eastern Jackson County and Miller Lake near Applegate Lake. In the Red Buttes Wilderness Area, the stocked lakes include Tannen, East Tannen and Bolan lakes.

Bolan Lake is the only one accessible by road.

Mark Freeman is a Medford Mail Tribune reporter. Reach him at 776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtribune.com.