What is Raised at the State Fish Hatcheries?
Brown trout and rainbow trout eggs are collected and fertilized in the fall using adult fish held at the hatchery. Eggs are placed in incubation trays and hatch after about four weeks. Newly hatched fry (held indoors in rearing troughs) have a yolk sac that provides nutrition for their first few days of life. Once the yolk sac is absorbed, fish are fed a formulated diet (specially developed fish food). Brown trout are then moved outside to raceways in February.
In the fall, these brown trout yearlings are stocked into selected Ohio streams. Rainbow trout are raised to about 12 inches and stocked into selected lakes as catchable trout in the spring and fall. Steelhead trout are similar to rainbow trout, but are migratory and move from Lake Erie into selected tributaries for spawning. Steelhead are raised in raceways where they are fed a formulated diet. Once the steelhead reach six to nine inches (smolts) in the spring, they are released into selected Lake Erie tributaries. Smolts will then migrate downstream to Lake Erie in late spring where they will spend one to three years before returning to their stream of origin. Because steelhead do not reproduce in substantial numbers, stocking is necessary to maintain the fishery.
Hybrid striped bass are produced by crossing female white bass with male striped bass. In the spring, white bass and striped bass are collected from area lakes and the eggs are removed and fertilized at the hatchery. Fry are placed into hatchery ponds until they are about one to two inches in length. By summer, they are ready to be stocked into selected lakes and the Ohio River.
Muskellunge eggs are collected from trap net caught fish in the spring. Eggs are fertilized on-site and transported to the hatchery. The eggs are then placed in incubation jars where they will hatch after 2-3 weeks. Newly hatched fry are held indoors in rearing troughs, and have a yolk sac that provides nutrition for their first week of life. Once the yolk sac is absorbed, fry are fed brine shrimp larvae that are produced at the hatchery. These young muskies are then transferred to raceways where a majority are fed carp fry, followed by fat-head minnows as they get larger. Some muskie will be trained to feed on a formulated diet and then switched to fathead minnows. By fall, at about 10 inches in length (advanced fingerlings), the muskies will be ready for stocking in selected Ohio reservoirs.
What is raised continued