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A Look Behind the Scenes at Bennett Spring's Fish Hatchery

LEBANON, Mo. -- Bennett Spring State Park is a popular place to fish and on Friday, Fish Hatchery Manager Mike Mitchell gave a behind-the-scenes look at how the Spring’s hatchery works.
Bennett Spring State Park is a popular place to fish and on Friday, Fish Hatchery Manager Mike Mitchell gave a behind-the-scenes look at how the Spring’s hatchery works.

The Missouri Department of Conservation's Bennett Spring hatchery raises trout that eventually are released into Missouri waterways.

“Here at the hatchery, we spawn them usually every fall,” says Mitchell. “We take the eggs from the females and the milk from the males and we mix them then we put them downstairs into the egg jars.”

Once those eggs hatch they go into aluminum troughs and stay there until the fish grow in size to about an inch-and-a-half to two inches.

“Once they're done there they go to blue tanks,” Mitchell says. “Then they'll stay in the blue tanks until they're about three-and-half inches long and then they'll go outside. Several different quality control measures that we do right before they're stocked one of those what you saw today our grading process. We basically go through every month take samples. We go through the pools with a box appropriate to that size grade the larger ones out and hopefully keep the smaller ones in.”

The larger fish will go into Bennett Spring State Trout Park.

“We stock about 350-400,000 rainbow trout in the park every year from March 1 through October 31 on the hatchery,” says Mitchell. “But, especially in the spring time, we'll have basically 7-800,000 trout sitting here. The reason for that is you'll have the current year's production 2014 but you'll also have 2015 productions on site and making their way up into the proper growth cycle. So they can be distributed next year during the proper months.”

Mitchell says he hopes people will take advantage of what the hatchery and Bennett Spring has to offer.

“We just hope that people will come out and enjoy the activities that we do and benefit from our work here,” he says. “I mean that's the whole point in producing trout for the state of Missouri is so Missourians can enjoy it and have a good time fishing.”

The hatchery also supplies 75,000 rainbow trout to the Niangua River annually and over 15,000 fish to the winter Kansas City urban fishing area from November to April.





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