Clearwater Trout Hatchery hosted an open house on Friday, Oct. 18, to help Freshwater Fish Society of B.C. celebrate its 10th anniversary.
“British Columbia has one of the best fisheries programs in the world,” said hatchery manager Mark Green. “People come from all over Canada, the United States and elsewhere to fish in B.C.”
The society’s five hatcheries produce about eight to 10 million fish per year to stock the province’s rivers and lakes.
The local facility now produces more fish than any of the other five, said Green.
He noted that the Vancouver Island Trout Hatchery produces more by weight, because its production includes more catchable fish.
Clearwater Trout Hatchery presently produces about 2.5 million rainbow trout per year, 1 million kokanee, and about 250,000 eastern brook trout.
It also raises a small number of lake trout from Moberly Lake near Chetwynd.
The Moberly Lake project started after it was found there were only about 300-350 adults left in the lake. The plan is to do three stockings of 14,000 fish weighing 50 gram each in 2012, 2014 and 2016.
The hatchery has seven permanent staff plus three more temporary workers in the spring.
This fall they stocked 91 lakes with 500,000 rainbow. They started in September near Dease Lake and Prince George, then worked their way south to Kamloops, Merritt and the Shuswap. They did their final release last Thursday.
The fall release was all rainbow trout. In the spring they also release kokanee and eastern brook trout.
Workers from Clearwater were at Kootenay and Arrow lakes this fall, collecting kokanee eggs. These will be incubated, raised and released in the spring.
Starting next week, staff members will begin moving their yearling fish outside, in preparation for release next spring.
One innovation recently introduced is a bubbler that puts removes carbon dioxide and adds oxygen to the water after use, allowing it to be recycled.
This has reduced their water use by 70 per cent, resulting in big energy and water savings.
“It allows us to increase production with the same or less water,” Green said.
Below: (L-r) Fish culturist Dave Ek shows Norm Labelle and Barb Ferguson one of the fish tanks at Clearwater Trout Hatchery during an open house held Oct. 18.