This is a very complicated answer and anyone who gives you a short answer is probably not a farmer. The nutritional needs of all animals vary greatly depending on the life stage of that animal. Fish are no exception. What we feed our baby fish is very different than what we feed our five-pound steelhead.
We take great pride in using the most sustainable feeds available for commercial production. We select feeds that produce the most vigorous, hearty and highest quality fish with all of the health benefits our end consumers expect. Specifically, high levels of Omega 3’s.
We require the feed companies we buy from to be responsible stewards of the environment when it comes to sourcing ingredients. Every feed company we use issues an annual sustainability and transparency report that we evaluate to ensure this promise. We also conduct periodic feed trials at our research facility to compare various feeds and feed companies to ensure that the diets we are using meet the standards we expect.
In the early life stages of a trout’s life the fish require high amounts of digestible proteins. The specific ingredients of our diets are property of the fish feed producing companies. However, the essential micronutrients that was once found in fishmeal only, are now sourced from alternative raw materials, thus reducing the requirement for fishmeal without impacting fish conversion rates or health and human nutritional values.
As our trout and steelhead get older their digestible protein requirements change along with the diets, allowing for the use of more vegetable protein sources. All of these diets, including our starter feeds are natural with the exception of a small percentage of dietary supplements and other essential nutrients that are synthetic. Basically, our version of a vitamin.
Included in our feeds is a micronutrient called astaxanthin. This is the ingredient that gives our fish the red flesh you see when you cut open the fish or see it plated at your favorite restaurant. It is the same ingredient that gives shrimp and lobster their red pigmentation. Recent studies have linked astaxanthin to significant health benefits in humans as an anti-oxidant that helps remove free-radicals.
We get this questions from fishermen all the time. The simple answer is: it varies. There is no specific pattern to the feed schedule, therefore, there is not a specific time during the day that the fish you are trying to hook is going to be hungry. Just fish all day and you should get a bite!
We cannot give out any stocking information to the public or press. If you would like to know when a lake is being stocked please contact the specific lake manager.
It is not our policy to give tours. We do not have staffing available for this because our facilities are spread out all over northern California. If you are in the area and want to see a steelhead and salmon rearing facility we recommend visiting Coleman National Fish Hatchery. This facility is close by, located just outside of Anderson, CA and is a great place to take the family, particularly during the fall Chinook salmon run. They are open to the public with self-guided tours every day of the week. For more information visit their web site at www.fws.gov/coleman.