Behind The Scenes: A Trip To The State Trout Hatchery

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Behind The Scenes: A Trip To The State Trout Hatchery

Every year, hundreds of thousands of trout are stocked in local lakes, rivers and streams. It’s a tremendous undertaking for state trout hatcheries,

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Every year, hundreds of thousands of trout are stocked in local lakes, rivers and streams. It’s a tremendous undertaking for state trout hatcheries, and it’s funded by money raised through the sale of freshwater fishing licenses. It takes about 18 months to raise a trout to 14 inches in length, and it requires a successful mixture of luck, biology, good timing and hard work.

trout eggs

The Trout Hatchery Process

The whole process begins with the eggs. At the hatchery I visited in Sandwich, MA, the brook, brown and tiger trout are started from eggs and milt collected from the hatchery’s resident fish, but the rainbow trout eggs are brought in from the federal hatchery. The fertilized eggs are placed in shallow mesh pans, which are then submerged in a vat beneath several inches of water. A deep well beneath the hatchery provides a steady stream of cold, crystal-clear water that trickles down over the fragile eggs. The deep well provides water that is exactly 50 degrees, the ideal temperature for hatching trout. Within a few weeks, the eggs will hatch and the trout will begin the cycle of life.

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