Each fall, staff from New York State’s Catskill and Randolph hatcheries conduct the annual fall egg collections for domestic trout stocks. Both facilities use light control to get the fish to spawn earlier in the year than they would naturally. (In the wild, brown trout and brook trout normally don’t spawn until November.). This allows fish culturists to get an earlier start in rearing the next year class of trout to be stocked.
Randolph Hatchery takes nearly 5.5 million eggs from brown, brook and rainbow trout. Rainbow trout normally spawn in the spring, but the rainbows at Randolph are fall spawners. This year a new strain, the Arlee strain, will be used because it’s shown to have a better success rate than the previously used Wytheville strain. Eggs are transferred to DEC’s Van Hornesville Hatchery from the Erwin National Hatchery in Tennessee where they are hatched and raised to yearlings, then transferred to Randolph to be used as broodstock (breeder fish).
Also happening this fall, Catskill Hatchery will collect approximately two million brown trout eggs. These eggs are then shipped to other fish hatcheries across New York State to meet production needs for the NYS fish hatchery system. Surplus eggs are also shipped to other state hatcheries such as Vermont, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Minnesota, along with several county hatcheries in New York when available.
Photo of Arlee strain rainbow trout provided by DEC.