I have to say, this had to be one of the most interesting field trips I've been on yet!
The hatchery is run by the government and is used to stock lakes and ponds around the province to help create sustainable fishing. They mostly raise triploid rainbow trout.
Triploid (three chromosomes) rainbow trout are unable to reproduce, thus making it so they can't breed with native fish or become an invasive problem. To "sterilize" the fish and turn them into triploid fish, they are subject the eggs to a high pressure treatment.
We started off in the "egg" room. All of the shelves behind our tour guide contain little trays that are filled with fertilized fish eggs. They have fresh (cold!) water circulating through the trays to keep the eggs healthy. Someone has to go through each tray, every day, to pick out the dead eggs to keep them healthy. I think each tray contains somewhere between 5000-10000 eggs!
Then we moved into the fry area. (Baby fish are called fry) Each of these tubs contains up to 10000 fry. Everything is kept at specific temperatures (3-10 degrees celcius) to keep the fish healthy and growing.
Look at them all!
Once they get big enough, they move the fish into larger holding tanks where they live and grow big enough to be released. They're usually released when they're about a year old. One of these large tanks contains about 24000 fish.
We even got to feed the fish. I have to admit, we all reverted back to about 5th grade as we laughed and throughly enjoyed feeding the fish! They really get in a frenzy for the food.
Don't worry, they aren't crammed tightly into a small tank, they just like to crowd the areas where they know they'll get fed!
We even got to tour through the basement workings of the fish hatchery, the plumbing and cooling system is amazing!