The Hatchery raises fish for 18 months and stocks a 7 inch ‘yearling’ lake trout. The goals of the current management plans are to produce 160,000 fish for Lake Erie, and 500,000 fish for Lake Ontario. The Lake Committees are currently working on revisions to their management plans, and it is expected that Allegheny will be asked to produce even more fish for stocking purposes.
The overall goal of the production program is to restore lake trout to the lower Great Lakes. By ‘restore’ we want to see wild reproduction in the lakes that will lead to ‘self-sustaining’ populations of fish. Self sustaining means that we will no longer have to supplement the fishery with fish produced at a hatchery.
During the year you will be able to see fish at various stages of development. Egg take begins in October of each year, and at that time you will be able to see 8 month old fish in the raceways.
The eggs will hatch beginning in late December, and about 30 – 45 days past hatching they will be moved out of their incubation trays to the grow out tanks inside the hatchery room. At this stage the ‘fry’ still have a large yolk sac that provides the fish with nutrients for development. Once that yolk sac is absorbed the fish will be fed a ‘starter’ diet of fish food. The fry will stay inside for up to 5 more months before being transferred to the outside raceways.
Once outside the fish will be fed a healthy diet of commercially produced dry fish pellets. These pellets contain a number of ingredients, including vitamins and minerals, needed for healthy growth. The fish are sampled monthly to check their growth and feed rates (pounds of food per raceway per day) are adjusted accordingly.
All images by FWS unless otherwise noted