How Georgia DNR “Makes” Brown Trout

How Georgia DNR “Makes” Brown Trout

Hi! My name’s John Lee Thomson, and I’m the hatchery
manager here at Lake Burton Fish Hatchery. We’re here at Lake Burton today, and I’m going
to tell you a little bit about the brown trout element in our Georgia trout program. All the brown trout in our Georgia trout stocking
program originate from a trout hatchery, actually, in Walhalla, South Carolina. There’s a cooperative effort between Georgia
and South Carolina to work together, and in the last week of October, they begin to check
their fish to see if they’re ready to spawn. They’ll call us up, we’ll go over there and
help them with a spawning effort all day. It takes about all day to spawn about 900,000
eggs. That’s 600,000 for South Carolina, and 300,000
for Georgia DNR. The goal of the program is to bring home 300,000
eggs, but we’re just farmers, and some years you have good years and bad. This year was excellent; we brought home close
to 500,000 eggs. Those eggs are then brought back to Lake Burton
Fish Hatchery where they’re placed in incubators for about 30 days while they develop. When they’ve reached the next stage of development,
it’s called “eyed-up,” and you can actually see the fish’s eyes in the eggs. They appear as two dark spots and are very
clear. Those fish will then go through a machine,
be sorted between eggs that didn’t get fertilized and eggs that are viable. The viable eggs are then put in upwelling
jars where they actually hatch. We pour those eggs and sac fry into a sifter
and sift out the sac fry. They’ll pass through the sifter and into the
trough, and then the eggs that have yet to hatch will go back into the upwelling jar. It usually takes 2-3 days for all of our eggs
to hatch. In an effort not to have all of our eggs in
one basket if, for one reason or another, we had an unsuccessful hatch here at Lake
Burton, we also receive 75,000 two-inch fish from Walhalla in the spring. All those brown trout make up the 100,000
brown trout portion of our Georgia trout stocking program. That’s only a small percentage of the amount
of trout that are stocked in Georgia. We receive 900,000 trout eggs from the USFWS,
and 500,000 trout fingerlings from the USFWS. It’s all of these sources that help us and
allow us to stock a million trout in Georgia. These fish are targeted on public land where
anyone can go fishing. All you need is a Georgia fishing license
and a trout stamp, so go fish Georgia!

3 thoughts on “How Georgia DNR “Makes” Brown Trout

  1. I appreciate the time it takes for yall to make these videos. Lets the sportsman see what all goes on behind the vale. Would love to see some videos on Ossabaw & Sapelo island operations.

  2. Well if y’all are putting that many fish in then where are they? I go fishing fresh water rivers and creeks but only far and turtles. I don’t trout fish but it looks like I’m gonna have to start because everything else doesn’t have no fish. Year after year same thing.

  3. I’d like to know what the numbers are on rainbow vs Brook vs brown trout we stock a year. Thanks for the info and the hard work fellas!!!

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