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Care of Fingerlings

Many trout producers begin their production cycle by stocking
fingerling trout. Care of fingerling trout is a critical stage in
the life of the trout. Inadequate feeding and care of fingerlings
can affect the performance of the trout throughout their life
cycle, which can affect the profitability of the farm.

Table 1 – Recommended feeding rates for
small rainbow trout

Fish Size Amount of Feed
Sample Length Feed Feedings % body weight per day
(#/lb) (inches) Size per Day 55 – 65 OF

2500 – 2000 1.0 – 1.1 starter 8 6.1 – 9.0
2000 – 8000 1.1 – 1.5 #1 8 5.2 – 7.5
800 – 250 1.5 – 2.2 #2 6 5.1 – 7.2
250 – 100 2.2 – 2.9 #3 4 4.2 – 6.1
100 – 30 2.9 – 4.3 #4 3 3.2 – 4.9
65 – 30* 3.4 – 4.3 3/32 pellet 3

* if 3/32 inch pellet is available
from: SRAC Publication 220 – Handling
Eggs and Fry

If trout fingerlings are not fed often enough or fed appropriate
amounts, fin- nipping will occur as the fish compete for feed. The
tip of the dorsal fin will appear white due to erosion of the fin.
This will be apparent when you first approach the trout and see the
many white-tipped dorsal fins. If fin-nipping occurs, check the
feed chart and water temperature to ensure adequate feed is being
fed. If the amount of feed is sufficient, increase the number of
times the trout are fed. If the situation persists, submit the fish
for diagnostic evaluation.

Troughs or tanks holding the fingerlings should be cleaned daily
to remove excess feed and waste. Most hatchery workers do this
first in the morning to reduce stress since the trout haven’t been
fed for 12 hours or so. The tanks are allowed to refill and the
trout are given time to recover before the first feed is

Grading fingerlings before being stocked in grow-out ponds or
raceways has become widely accepted as good management. Grading
will reduce fish size variation which will affect conversions and
trout performance in general.

Securing a healthy start for fingerling trout is the first step
in being profitable in the trout industry. Fingerling producers
should take pride in producing a quality product which will help
trout producers meet their production goals.

Written By

Photo of John Dorner, IVJohn Dorner, IVArea Agent, Information Management (828) 290-9876 john_dorner@ncsu.eduMadison County, North Carolina
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