SHERIDAN - This past summer the crew at the Story Fish Hatchery completed very successful spawning operations for one of Wyoming's more unique species, the golden trout. This was the third year of collecting golden trout eggs at the Story Hatchery.
The golden trout brood stock at Story is the only source of golden trout eggs in the Wyoming Game and Fish Department's hatchery system. Golden trout in Wyoming are generally located in high-country alpine lakes where natural reproduction is limited. In the past, the state's wild spawning crew went into wilderness lakes to capture fish and collect eggs for the hatchery system. Due to the unpredictable spawning period of golden trout and the wild areas where the fish are found, egg collection from golden trout was difficult and sometimes produced very few eggs. As many sportsmen enjoy the challenge of angling for these elusive and colorful fish, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department wanted to develop a reliable source of golden trout eggs.
The Story Hatchery seemed like a logical location to develop a golden trout brood stock of adult fish, as the water temperatures at the hatchery mimic what the golden trout have adapted to in the wild. However, a successful captive golden trout brood stock had never been developed before. Many other states have tried and for various reasons have had poor fish survival and poor egg production from the adults. After the results from the past two years, the Story Hatchery can say they passed the test and have the only successful captive golden trout brood stock in the nation.
Story hatchery superintendent Steve Diekema says, "Our goal was to ship 60,000 eyed eggs to hatcheries in Wyoming. We spawned 383 females and collected over 136,000 eggs in 2011. We were able to ship 60,000 eyed eggs to the Daniel and Ten Sleep fish hatcheries. These eggs will be hatched out and the fish stocked in wilderness areas in 2012. This will be the first time in 17 years that the fish culture section will meet golden trout fish stocking requests."
Diekema adds, "We are very happy with the results of the 2011 golden trout spawning operation. Many lakes were not stocked in the past or stocked with limited numbers of fish, due to no fish being available."
These eggs are extremely valuable nationally as other mountain west states like to stock golden trout as well, but they also have a hard time finding a reliable source of eggs. After Wyoming's needs are met, extra golden trout eggs are traded to other states for species not raised in Wyoming's hatchery system such as walleye, bass, and catfish. This year, an unexpected surplus of 41,000 eggs was shipped to Idaho to assist them with their golden trout stocking operations in wilderness lakes.
In addition to the golden trout, the Story Fish Hatchery is also home to brown, lake, rainbow, and brook trout brood stocks. The hatchery reopened for public visitation last summer following a major construction project to house all the brood stocks, revamp the water supplies, and provide a new spawning area and egg incubation area. Funding for the project was provided by the 2005 Wyoming legislature.
(Contact: Warren Mischke (307) 672-7418)