Use of net pens began in 1985 as a community volunteer project.

Hugely successful in raising rainbow trout, the program now uses forty five net pens to raise up to 700,000 rainbow trout. Some net pens are maintained by volunteers and others by WDFW.

Each net pen is about 15x15 feet, and can hold about 15,000 fish. Each pen is stocked in late September with trout reared at the Spokane Tribal Hatchery and the WDFW Sherman Creek Hatchery.

They are released in late May, weighing about three ounces and 8 inches long. The redband trout reared at the WDFW Colville Hatchery are placed in net pens during the winter, held for 1.5 years and released in May.

Thousands of hours of volunteer time are used each year to feed these fish and maintain the net pens.