MANCHESTER, Iowa (AP) - The waters at Manchester Fish Hatchery tend to stir when people walk by.
The trout raised at the hatchery have spent their entire lives receiving food from humans. So when someone walks by, they tend to get excited.
Dan Rosauer, hatchery biologist at Manchester Fish Hatchery, recently threw handfuls of food into the trout pools. The water came alive as thousands of fish thrashed about to snatch up whatever they could.
It was feeding time.
A few hours later at Swiss Valley Nature Center in Dubuque, a different type of feeding time occurred when Rosauer arrived with a truck filled with hundreds of trout.
About a dozen fishermen stood eagerly by the stream, waiting for Rosauer to empty the tanks of fish into the water.
“You need to get here when they’re stocking the streams,” said Jim Meyer, 61, a veteran trout fisherman of 40 years. “If you’re not there when they dump them out, then there won’t be much left in the next few days.”
Manchester’s first official trout stocking of the year was April 7. Rosauer said many fishermen were excited to see fish fill the streams again.
“We post some of the stocking dates online, so all of the fishermen are usually there when we show up,” Rosauer said. “They know that’s their best chance of catching them.”
The Manchester Fish Hatchery is one of three hatcheries in the state responsible for the stocking of Iowa’s streams with trout, the Telegraph Herald (https://bit.ly/2nBe0ou ) reported.
All three of the hatcheries raise a combination of rainbow, brook and brown trout.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources website states the hatchery produces more than 600,000 fish every year. It takes about a year and a half to raise them to a size suitable for release.
“We’re essentially raising most of the trout that people will catch,” Rosauer said. “We want to fill up the streams for people to go out and enjoy the resources.”
The Manchester Fish Hatchery is the only hatchery in the state that actually hatches trout from eggs. Those fish then are raised until they grow to two to three inches. Then, they are sent to one of the other two hatcheries to develop.
Rosauer said that is a particular honor he holds over the employees of the other hatcheries.
“We are the only true hatchery,” Rosauer said. “All the fish come from here, so we always say we’re the most important.”
Rosauer said the trout in the streams tend to thin out in the winter when the hatchery isn’t restocking them.
However, Dan Thoma, who has been fishing for trout for the past 15 years, said he has caught hundreds of trout in the winter.
“The streams managed to stay stocked throughout the winter,” Thoma said. “Now that they’re being filled up again, we’ll start seeing more people coming out to catch some.”
While some of the streams are self-sustaining, many require consistent stocking to keep trout populations up, Rosauer said.
Keeping those populations steady is essential to the hobby of trout fishing throughout the state. Rosauer said he is a trout fisherman, so he understands the need to make sure that everyone in Iowa has something to catch when they cast their lines.
“We want people to go out and catch these fish,” Rosauer said. “It’s something that I do, and something that I know people all over the state enjoy doing.”
Information from: Telegraph Herald, https://www.thonline.com
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