Hatchery Process II

by Fly Fisherman

The water used in the hatchery must be periodically checked. If too acid or too alkaline, measures to correct the condition have to be taken. The rearing ponds vary, naturally, in each location, so the temperatures of the water, its degree of pollution, whether the volume is constant or not in going through, whether the water has the quality whereby it can be re-used, all must be checked. The grade and kind of fertilizer, if necessary, and the type that will best fit the water to accomplish growth, in some instances, and the retarding of growths of both vegetation and aquatic life, in other instances, are details that must be considered and experiments executed to develop the right answers.

These men of our hatcheries know that there is a definite limit to the amount of trout stock, in the various sizes, that can be safely nurtured in their individual ponds or pools. Overcrowding results, just as it does in nature, in a reduced growth rate, severe rises in mortality and a generally inferior appearance and condition of the fish. For example, their data tells them that with trout, greater than seven or eight inches in length, they cannot give residence to more than a pound of fish per cubic foot of water, as a minimum.

The records that must be maintained, for and in each hatchery is a voluminous job. Statistics on production, on losses of the fish crop in every stage, the data on brood fish, detailed reports on growth of the trout and the rate, memoranda on foods and dietary supplements, complete and informative records on diseases, all must be kept. Then comes the cost accounting, which is so important, in every phase of each operation.
I hope I’ve given you a glance at the picture of what goes on at our modern trout hatchery. I know, in learning of this work, I regret that I have not appreciated the efforts of this helpful branch of our government as much as I should have. I sincerely hope my reader will vision it in that frame of mind, too. Maybe, those of us who are, won’t be quite so critical.

Not unlike a normal classroom of students, some states are far ahead of others, technically and practically, in hatchery operation and procedure. Some, unfortunately, are dragging their feet almost lamentably. It would give me a lot of selfish,
personal satisfaction were I to name some of them in both these ranges, but because these present conditions could reverse, could change tomorrow, or next month, or next year, either way, it might be embarrassing, so we’ll forego that disclosure in the optimistic hope that all changes, which are inevitable, will be improvement.

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