Hatching Ohio Brown Trout
at the London State Fish Hatchery
Tim Parrett, Fish Hatchery Program Administrator
Fall is upon us, bringing with it many seasonal changes. Most of the fish raised at Ohio’s six state fish hatcheries have been stocked by now. The springtime spawning runs and egg taking are behind us. As fish production winds down at some facilities, much is left to be accomplished.
One task ahead in October is the annual stocking of brown trout in select streams. The Division of Wildlife stocks approximately 26,000 yearling brown trout each year. These fish are stocked in the
Mad River, Clear Fork of the Mohican, and Clear Creek. Where does Ohio’s brown trout come from? These fish are hatched and raised at the London State Fish Hatchery. This facility is the oldest of the Division of Wildlife’s six state fish hatcheries. The London Hatchery was built in 1896 by the Ohio Fish Commission, the predecessor to today’s Division of Wildlife. Not only are brown trout raised at this location, but rainbow trout and muskellunge are raised here as well.
London is blessed with an ample supply of water, the life blood of any hatchery. The ancient Teays River aquifer runs through the area. This water is pumped from below the ground via many wells located throughout the property, and up to 1,000 gallons of water per minute can be pumped from these wells. This water is very cold and lends itself to trout production. This cold water is also beneficial for rearing cool water fish such as the muskellunge. Though cold and in good supply, this well water contains iron, which must be filtered out before it is used for production. This is accomplished with a series of six manganese filters. A building was constructed in the late 80’s to house the massive filters. Well water often contains undesirable gasses, such as carbon dioxide, or may not have enough dissolved oxygen for fish production. In order to strip out undesirable gasses and increase dissolved oxygen, well water is dropped through a tall column filled with plastic rings that breaks the water up as it flows through the rings. This aerates the water as well as strips out any harmful dissolved gasses.
Rearing of fish takes place in ponds and raceways. London has an 800-foot outdoor raceway, which is
used primarily for trout production. This raceway is covered by a roof and has fenced sides to
keep predators out and leaves and other debris from entering the raceway. The roof blocks out direct
sunlight which can be harmful to the fish. The production building at London has nine indoor rearing troughs which are used for various species throughout the production season. Trout eggs are hatched in a series of vertical tray incubators while some species, like muskellunge, are hatched in battery jars. There are 34 ponds at London, most of which are used for muskellunge production. Each of the ponds can be drained when needed.
See the raceway feeding frenzy at the London State Fish Hatchery
Up to 26,000 brown trout, 30,000 rainbow trout, and 8,000 muskellunge are raised annually at The London State Fish Hatchery. The hatchery is open to the public Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm and is located approximately three miles west of London at 2470 Roberts Mill Road S.W. Additional information can be obtained by calling the hatchery at 740-852-1412.