SHERIDAN - Fall spawning operations at the Story Fish Hatchery near Sheridan recently concluded with another banner year of egg collection at the facility.
During the past few months, hatchery workers collected three million eggs from lake trout, brook trout, and brown trout. This year's spawning operation resulted in about 1.1 million lake trout, and 300,000 splake, one million brook trout, 350,000 brown trout, and 250,000 tiger trout eggs.
This is the first year brown trout have been spawned at the hatchery. According to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the recent addition of brown trout to the facility has come at just the right time. For years, brown trout eggs have been collected from fish captured in Soda Lake near Pinedale, and in most years the Soda Lake Fish have provided enough eggs to meet the needs of Wyoming's hatchery system. This year, very few spawning brown trout were captured at Soda Lake, and it looked like there was going to be a shortage of eggs. However, when personnel at the hatchery checked their three-year-old brown trout, they found many mature females that were ready to spawn, and these fish provided the eggs the department needed.
With the brown trout at Story maturing to spawning age, WGFD personnel obtained enough eggs to produce tiger trout eggs for the first time ever. A tiger trout is a cross between a female brown trout and a male brook trout. The WGFD has been stocking tiger trout in a limited number of places across the state for the past seven years. In the past, Utah provided tiger trout eggs for the Wyoming hatchery system. Now the Story Hatchery can produce the eggs that the department requires to meet fish stocking needs. Where tiger trout have been stocked, they have become a much sought after sport fish.
Personnel at the hatchery also create another hybrid called splake. This fish is a cross between a male brook trout and a female lake trout. Splake grow larger than brook trout and are an aggressive predator that can help to trim down stunted brook trout populations and improve the fishery. Anglers also like to catch this tasty and hard fighting fish.After Wyoming's needs are met, extra lake trout, splake, brook trout, and brown trout eggs are traded to other states for fish species not raised in Wyoming's hatchery system such as walleye, bass, and catfish. This year, eggs from the Story Hatchery operations will be shipped to New Jersey, Tennessee, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Idaho.
(Contact: Warren Mischke (307) 672-7418)