September 27, 2020

Stocking trucks are rolling!

Submitted - 2006-04-18
More quality trout here... Stocking trucks are rolling!
By Robert Fawcett, Supervisor of Hatcheries

New Hampshire Fish and Game's Fish Culturists and Conservation Officers are filling the gaps in the natural production capacity for trout -- with literally 200 to 250 tons of hatchery-raised trout (that's a million+ fish!) ready for stocking into the state's waterbodies.
hatchery construction project

New Hampshire's fish culturists face new situations every year, but this year has been extra challenging. We underwent pipe consolidation projects; and installation of 24-hour composite sampler vaults, valves, and buildings at Powder Mill and New Hampton hatcheries for monitoring of discharge water. We are always looking for better ways to prevent loss of fish by controlling predators and disease, and keeping water quality suitable.

Faithful readers of this fishing report know that water temperature is one of the most important factors for fish. There's not much snow to melt and fill the lakes and streams this year, so low water levels are quickly warming up -- which means that stocking trucks have been rolling for several weeks now.

Whether you fish in waters open to fishing year-round or you prefer trout ponds which traditionally open on the fourth Saturday in April (this year, April 22), the Inland Fisheries Division staff have been working to provide you with an excellent angling opportunity. The pre-season stocking of ponds is efficient, because fish and water can be emptied into waterbodies through chutes, with less stress to the fish than having to net the fish a second time (from hatchery pool into stocking truck, then truck into waterbody).

A fish culturist's mission is to produce fish of the right species, size and timing to fill the gaps in the natural eco-cycle, to contribute to management goals for a wide variety of users, and restoration of self-sustaining native fish populations. If a waterbody has plenty of natural habitat capacity to meet all phases of a fish species' life cycle, then fish populations are self-sustaining and don't need to be supplemented with hatchery-reared fish. But where there are gaps in that natural habitat capacity, hatchery resources can fill the gap. "Room and board" provided by the hatchery stand in for natural habitat and food organisms. Hatchery staff nurture fish eggs through the fry and fingerling stages, until they're large enough to be released and survive in lakes, ponds and rivers. This helps the cycle complete itself, and allows New Hampshire's fisheries to remain productive.

The 2006 Spring Stocking Plan:

* 445,855 brook trout yearlings: 255,025 to streams, 190,830 to lakes and ponds.
* 15,615 two-year-old brook trout: 5,740 to streams, 9,875 to lakes and ponds.
* 1,760 "three-year-plus" brook trout (surplus brood fish): 630 to streams, 1,130 to lakes and ponds.
* 277,440 rainbow trout yearlings: 110,785 to streams, 166,655 to lakes and ponds.
* 129,600 brown trout yearlings: 88,940 to streams, 40,660 to lakes and ponds.
* 5,000 tiger trout. Tigers are a cross between a brook trout and a brown trout, and have the potential to keep growing to a trophy size if not hooked and cooked at a young age.

The brook trout are between 11 and 12 inches, the rainbows are 12 to 14, and the brown trout are between 10 and 11. There will definitely be some nice big rainbow trout surprises in the Southwest region again this year. Look for four-pounders, and maybe even larger, because some of the fish in the pond have evaded the seine for a number of years.

Your local hatchery workers do a great job producing and distributing the large put-and-take trout you will have the opportunity to catch this spring. There's a lot going on behind the scenes to keep New Hampshire's fisheries healthy -- and anglers happy. This report was provided by NH Fish and Game Department in Concord, NH. Follow this link for more specific information on the reports or the area -