Peterstown, West Virginia
Man holding fishing rod

Professional Trout Farming & Pond Maintenance

Our trout farming experts follow a rigorous program to produce the highest quality fish in a sustainable way. Our ponds are well aerated, which is one of the top ways to maintain a healthy pond. We feed our fish the highest quality feed on a tight schedule that is adjusted for water temperature. Our strict fish management system and attention to detail ensure that our fish stock stays hearty and full of energy so that they’re ready for transport to your own location or to provide a feisty fishing experience on site.

The Natural Trout Lifespan

Rock Creek in Peterstown, WV

Reproduction

Trout deposit their eggs in nests known as redds, which are constructed in river gravels. The female trout, or hen, builds the nest during the cold months when the water is rich in oxygen. The hen seeks loose gravel with a steady flow of water, avoiding silt and preferring gravel particles, where she digs a hole by turning on her side and flexing her body.

The hen attracts the attention of males, who compete for position to fertilize the eggs as soon as they are laid. The process of digging and chasing can last for hours or even days. Eventually, the hen releases some of her eggs and the male trout releases his sperm or milt over the eggs. The hen moves forward and digs again to cover the fertilized eggs with gravel.

In rivers with clear water, trout redds are easily recognizable as clean gravel patches, often forming mounds with a hollow downstream. The number of eggs laid depends on the size of the hen trout but typically ranges around 800 eggs.

Baby trout swimming in stainless steel tank at a West Virginia fishery

Hatching to Parr

The time it takes for the eggs to hatch varies depending on the water temperature. At a temperature of 46°F, the eggs will hatch in 60 days, while at 40.5°F, they will take 97 days. The hatching success rate varies greatly depending on water and gravel quality, ranging from 4% to over 80%. Newly hatched trout are called alevins, and they remain in the gravel, nourishing themselves from the remaining yolk for 14 to 30 days.

Once the yolk is consumed, the alevins transform into fry, emerge from the gravel, and start feeding on tiny insects in the water. Mortality rates are high during this vulnerable stage. The fry are only a few centimeters long and require abundant food sources.

A trout under a year old is known as a parr, and exhibit the traits of a trout but have distinct parr marking along their sides, which they lose as they mature. As they grow, parr can tolerate deeper and faster water, establish their own territories, and move downstream with the flow rather than swimming against it.

Man holding rainbow trout from Rock Springs farm in West Virginia

Adult Trout & Lifespan

Adult brown trout that remain in rivers display territorial behavior, defending their preferred areas known as “lies.” These trout typically have a feeding lie, often situated where the river current carries food, enabling them to face upstream and capture drifting invertebrates with minimal energy expenditure. They also establish one or more resting lies where they are safer from predators, such as undercuts banks, tree roots, rocks, or logs.

Larger trout frequently occupy pools in the river, especially when resting and during warmer weather.

school of trout