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Trout Management Feeding And Turning Out Of Yearlings

As I pointed out to my readers in Chapter VIII., the young trout have

after August passed the critical period of their existence, and may be

considered safe and hardy. Naturally, as they get older, they require

more food, but this need not be given so frequently as the fish grow

older. While it was necessary to feed the fry at least four times a day,

it will be found quite sufficient if the fish in August are fed only

wice during the twenty-four hours. I must here again impress upon my

reader the importance of feeding the trout upon as natural a food as

possible. Their future well-being depends upon this, much more than is

generally realized even by fish culturists. Of course, trout fed

entirely upon soft food may turn out all right, particularly if they are

turned out as very young yearlings, but it is better not to leave

anything to chance and make sure of being on the safe side.

As was the case with the fry during the whole of the earlier part of

their lives, the yearlings will divide into two more or less separate

packs, though the fish may have been separated several times before in

order to divide those which kept at the head from those which kept at

the lower end of the pond. Those trout at the lower end must be coaxed

to the upper end as much as possible, care being taken when feeding that

all the fish get a fair share of food. Should any of the fish remain

obstinately at the lower end, and those at the upper end outgrow them to

a marked extent, the smaller ones must be again separated from the


When, in September or October, the little fish have grown active and

strong, they may be turned out into the water they are to occupy for the

rest of their lives. There is really no reason why, if they are

well-grown and strong, they should not be turned out in August if the

water they have to be taken to is quite close to the rearing ponds, but

if they have to be carried any distance, it is better to keep them in

the rearing ponds for a few weeks longer, till the weather gets cool

enough to make it quite safe to allow for a possible delay in the


The turning out of the fish requires some little care. I have seen fish

which had been sent by rail, poured out with the water contained in the

cans, in as hurried a manner as possible. Though of course it is

important to get the fish out of the cans used for transport as soon as

is compatible with safety; still, undue haste in this operation is

likely to do much harm. Young fish of any kind require delicate

handling, and young trout particularly. The cans should, when possible,

be partly emptied, and some water from that into which they are to be

turned put into the can. This is of course not necessary if the rearing

ponds are supplied from the same source as the water into which the fish

are turned. The cans should then be partially immersed in the water, and

the edges brought gradually below the surface. This allows the fish to

swim out of the cans of their own accord, and the few which will not go

out may be forced to do so by gently turning the can upside down.

It is a very good thing to give each of the fish a dose of salt before

turning them out, particularly if they have travelled any distance. This

is easily managed by catching the fish, a few at a time, in a

landing-net from the travelling can, and then, instead of putting them

straight into the water, putting them into a bucket of salt and water

for a short time. Sea water is of course better if it is available. This

does away with any risk of their developing fungus on the spots which

have very likely got bruised during the journey.

The yearlings are best taken from the rearing ponds by netting them. A

net which is more than broad enough to go across the rearing pond is

necessary. Too many should not be taken out at a time in each haul of

the net, as they are thus more likely to be injured or dropped on the

ground. The amateur should not forget, that though the little fish will

stand a good deal of moving about as long as they are in water, they are

likely to be killed, or at least severely injured, by a shock,

particularly if that shock is sustained while they are out of the water

for a second or two during their being moved from one place to another.

If the amateur intends to keep any of his yearlings longer than

December, he will have to make a larger pond. This pond need not be a

long, narrow one like those in which the fry were kept. Though the fish

of course still require a sufficient supply of well-aerated water, a

larger pond without the same marked current through it will do perfectly

well. They must be well fed, and if any grow markedly bigger than the

rest these should be separated. If they are not well supplied with food

they are very likely to try and eat each other, that is to say, the

largest will try to eat the smallest.