The Kootenay Trout Hatchery celebrated it’s 50th anniversary with a family day this past weekend out in Bull River.
It’s a long time coming from humble beginnings when the facility first opened in 1966, back when it was under the operation of the provincial government.
Now, the Kootenay Trout Hatchery is part of a network of facilities across the province that support sport fishing with lake-stocking program that includes species such as rainbow and brook trout, kokanee salmon and sturgeon.
That network became its own private organization in 2003, rebranding itself as the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. and continuing it’s mission to work alongside the provincial government to build and maintain fish stocks in lakes across the Kootenay region.
Since 1966, the Kootenay Trout Hatchery has undergone change, both in staffing and in facility expansion.
The team has grown over the years, starting with a staff of seven employees that now boasts a crew of 16 at it’s production and tourist peak in the summer.
The Kootenay Trout Hatchery has also changed from it’s beginnings as a state-of-the-art facility with the additions of expanded and covered raceways in 1987 to the construction of a sturgeon building in 1998 to the creation of a Learn to Fish pond in 2007.
Most recently, half of the raceways were replaced with circular tanks, which are designed to constantly move waste out of the system, reducing the time required to clean the tanks.
With better access to feed throughout the tank, fish are better able to convert food to body mass, reducing variance in fish size. The result is more consistent, better conditioned, healthier fish released into rivers and lakes.