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 to 11 inches.

The Department of Natural Resources says the fish grow rapidly to trophy size as they migrate around the area of the lower Saluda River downstream from Lake Murray.

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