Fish Factories

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Published on: Nov. 2, 2005

Last revision: Nov. 22, 2010

and transport them from place to place among the facility’s 36 raceways.

The hatchery is fueled by cold water taken from 140 feet down in Table Rock Lake at the rate of 10,000 gallons a minute. Well water is mixed in to obtain optimum temperatures. Ultraviolet systems help control bacterial diseases that, left uncontrolled, could kill all the fish.

This care results in a good product. Civiello said that Shepherd of the Hills expects 80 percent of the eggs they fertilize to hatch and about 85 percent of the fry to grow to a releasable size.

The fish are stocked at rates and locations requested by fisheries management biologists. The five separate hatcheries work as a unit to fulfill trout requests around the state. For example, Shepherd of the Hills might supply eggs or fish to Montauk or Bennett Springs, and Roaring River might temporarily store fish from another hatchery.

“It’s possible,” said Kevin Richards, chief of the Ozark unit fisheries field operations, “for an angler at a trout park to take a fish that has spent time at three or even four hatcheries. That’s how well the hatcheries work together as a system.”

Conservation Department hatchery trucks make hundreds of delivery runs each year throughout the state. Just to stock a half million fish in Taneycomo each year requires more than 180 trips. Fish are probably the most fragile when they are in the hatchery trucks. To get the fish to their destinations in good shape, hatchery personnel have to take into account the distance, the temperature, the capacity of the truck and the amount of oxygen in the water. A miscalculation could easily kill the entire load.

Although most of the trout end up at trout parks and Lake Taneycomo, some of them are distributed to urban lakes in the fall to provide close-to-home fishing opportunities for city residents.

Thanks to our cold-water hatcheries, trout fishing is already great in Missouri, but it will soon be better.

The Conservation Department’s “A Plan for Missouri Trout Fishing” calls for maintenance and improvement projects that will enable the state’s cold-water hatchery system to meet present and future demand for trout, provide a buffer against possible losses during the production process and allow an increase in the average size of trout stocked. More than 40 new infrastructure improvements will begin this winter and will continue for several years.

Warm-water hatcheries

The Conservation Department maintains five warm-water hatcheries. Like the cold-water

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