Fish Biology

Fish Biology & Cycle of Life

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There are three varieties of trout most commonly found in Central New York. The brook or speckled trout is New York’s official State fish, and the only native trout in these waters. The brown trout has long been a popular game fish all over the world and was brought over from Europe in the 1880s. The rainbow trout was introduced into New York waters in the 1870s from the Pacific Coast.*

Trout are fairly primitive fish, with small scales and soft-rayed fins. Most species build nests, called redds. Using their tails to fan the bottom, female trout create a depression in clean gravel or cobble sites in streams. When the nest is ready, the eggs are deposited, quickly fertilized, and covered under a layer of gravel. Both adults then move on, leaving the eggs to develop on their own. After the trout eggs hatch, the young fish (called alevins) remain in the gravel for about one week before emerging to feed.**

Trout are usually found in cool (50–60 °F), clear streams and lakes. These habitats ideally contain a wide variety of organisms. Young trout eat small items, such as plankton, crustaceans and insects. Older trout eat snails, salamanders, frogs, snakes, small mammals and fish, as well as smaller food items.*

Carpenter’s Brook is one of only four county run hatcheries in the state and has been in continuous operation since 1938. This hatchery produces 100,000 Brook, Brown and Rainbow Trout annually, and stocks over 100 miles of streams and 10,000 acres of impoundments with 100% of the D.E.C. recommendations for these waters.

*Source: NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Website
**Source: The Conservationist Magazine, March/April 1991

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