DEP Fish Hatchery
Spend The Day At The DEP Fish Hatchery
The Burlington Trout Hatchery was established in 1923. Its annual production is from 80,000 to 90,000 pounds of 9 to 12 inch brown and rainbow trout. Forty-five thousand brook trout in the 6 to 8 inch class are also raised annually for stocking in smaller streams.
Other activities include the rearing of Farmington River brown trout for distribution into area streams. About 200,000 land-locked sock-eye salmon (kokanee) fry are raised for stocking in suitable lakes in Connecticut. Spawn for these salmon are taken from mature fish netted from West Hill and Lakeville Lakes. An excellent sock-eye salmon fishery has been established in a number of lakes.
The hatchery which is located at 34 Belden Road and is open to the public from 8:00 A.M. to 3:30 P.M., seven days a week, for self-guided tours. Individuals and groups are invited to visit, unannounced, to observe trout in various stages of growth and learn what is involved in raising them. Groups of 5 or more people should contact the hatchery manager at least one week in advance if they wish to arrange for a guided tour.
What you can expect to see when visting the Burlington hatchery:
- Hatchery House - This building contains the incubation area where eggs are held at a constant temperature until hatching. The newly hatched fish are then placed in the building’s raceways for rearing under special conditions to the fingerling stage.
- Nursery Pools - The fingerlings are then moved to the nursery pools and raceways area where they are raised until they are about 4 inches long.
- The Rome Strain of Brown Trout Ponds - This is a disease resistant variety of brown trout.
- Breeder Pools - These pools contain breeding stock of Seeforellen Browns, which supply eggs for the hatchery. An average, large, mature female trout will supply 1,500 to 2,000 eggs.
- Rearing Pools - This area contains the rearing pools for Brown Trout, which will be distributed into Connecticut public access lakes and streams.
- Production Ponds - These pools and ponds are used for growing the various trout species to a suitable size for stocking in Connecticut’s lakes, ponds, rivers and streams.
- Nature Trail - North of the four large production ponds is a short nature trail that returns to the visitor parking area. The various trees, plants, and flowers are identified by a label that gives you a brief life history of each species.
Maps of the hatchery are available in the office in the hatchery house.
More about Connecticut's Trout Hatchery System
Run by the Department of Environmental Protection, the Burlington Trout Hatchery is part of the State of Connecticut’s trout hatchery system, which is as old as the century and as new as modern fish culture techniques allow. The State of Connecticut’s trout hatchery system exists in order to provide or supplement recreational fishing in our ponds and streams.
While warm-water species like bass, pickerel, bullheads, perch and others abound in many of our waters, to a large number of anglers nothing beats fishing for trout. Since the natural production of trout cannot even remotely match fishing pressure, stocking is necessary.
Stocking is one important phase of the fisheries management program of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Work is also done in fish habitat restoration, manipulation of fish populations, and the provision of access areas. This allows the DEP to meet its obligation of providing quality recreational fishing to a growing number of anglers.
Connecticut’s two trout hatcheries are located in Burlington and Quinnebaug Valley. Each hatchery is staffed by a manager and a crew of trained and experienced fish culturists. Emphasis at the hatcheries is on the rearing and distribution of 9 to 12 inch fish.
Survival and growth of trout in a hatchery is much greater than the survival and growth in the wild because the environment in the hatchery is more constant, there is very little predation or competition, and the trout can be treated for disease.