OVERVIEW
 LOCATION

Rainbow Trout Hatchery and Fish-Out Pond (Hedley's Trout Farm) is located in the heartland of Ontario's West Coast. It is nestled in the rolling hills of the Wawanosh Valley, Huron County, midway between the towns of Wingham and the Lake Huron port of Goderich. The area is blessed with rich flora and scenery. The Maitland, Nine Mile, Bayfield Rivers and their cold water tributary make for some of this area's renowned Spring and Fall fishing.

SCOPE

We operate a fish farm and our aim is to produce top quality trout whether it be for stocking other peoples ponds, our own year-round fee fishing pond or selling fresh trout to stores and restaurants and our fresh trout door trade. 

BROODSTOCK, EGGS & FINGERLINGS

Some thirty five years ago, when we developed our business plan and name, our intention were to have brood stock. That was not to be. As the farm developed, it became obvious that having a small genetic pool of brood stock could lead to some undesirable genetic traits.

S.W. Ontario has many trout hatcheries that have spent considerable time and monies on developing superior disease free eggs and fingerlings. It would seem senseless for the smaller grower (farmer) not to take advantage of these proven expertises in both fish health and genetics. Furthermore, by not having broodstock - more water can be diverted toward the grow-out part of a business.

GROW-OUT

Eggs taken from fall spawning rainbow are fertilized and hatched in the winter. Once hatched, the small trout (alevins or sac-fry) with yolk sack are transferred from the hatching trays to fiberglass tanks. After the yolk sac is absorbed, the trout are called fry. Upon reaching 2", the fry are are moved to concrete raceways and are called fingerlings. In 12 months these trout will be 10" to 14" in length and 1/2 to 1 pound in weight and are called table stock.

At this stage the calendar indicates spring - the best time of year to stock ponds.

Pond Stocking

Early spring stocking ensures that the receiving water temperature is close to the water temperature that the trout were raised in. It is important that trout be slowly acclimatize to a new water temperature. A sudden change of 4 degrees C. may be enough to kill the fish. Cool water enables the trout to heal better from the effects of physical handling and the stress of being moved to a new body of water with a different chemical content. Cold water contains (and will hold) much more oxygen than warm water. Most trout fatalities in ponds are caused by oxygen starvation due to warm water and/or algae or "winter kill".

Over the years, we have specialized in pond stocking. Pond stocking is now about one/third of our business. We recommend that the average pond in this area be planted with catchable size trout. Dugout ponds with very little outflow should have most of the trout caught out before the weather turns extremely hot as there is always the chance of oxygen depletion. Of course, those ponds with a good outflow of spring water will have more options and may be stocked throughout the year. We provide free consultation to those people wishing to stock their ponds with our rainbow trout. A satisfied customer will be a repeat customer!

PROCESSING

The next one/third of the trout raised are sold directly from our door as table food.  Our customers know that they are getting the best possible quality fish at the right price. Since our trout are raised with clear cool spring water that flows through concrete tanks and are fed the best of commercial trout feed, formulated to enhance their natural flavour, we guarantee - no 'off' flavour. Our trout are as ‘pollution free' as humanly possible; for example, we never medicate their feed.
We do not sell smoked trout because of processing regulations. See: Our Aim

The remaining one/third of our produce is sold through our fee fishing pond which is covered in the next page.

ENVIRONMENT

Over the past decade the Ontario Aquaculture Association has worked closely with the OMNR, OMAFRA, and the OMEE to develop regulations that are workable and protect the environment. Regulations and policies are now in place to control fish escapements and the treatment of effluent from aquaculture facilities. In 1986, this farm went through the lengthy and costly (but worthwhile) process of obtaining a Certificate of Approval -[Sewage] from the Ministry of Environment and Energy.

SYNOPSIS

A reprint from AQUACULTURE in ONTARIO, 1986 Queen's Printer for Ontario

Raising fish may, at first glance, seem simple, especially in Ontario which appears to have abundant supplies of water suitable for aquaculture. However, most of the water supplies in Ontario are not ideal, and raising fish can be complicated and, sometimes, unprofitable. Aquaculture does offer opportunities to those who are willing to investigate the business, determine what the constraints may be and develop strategies to overcome them. It must be approached as any business must be; with sufficient research, development of expertise, and financial input.

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last updated Nov. 16, 2008