Thursday, April 5, 2012

Trout Farming In Virginia

My guide through the mountain roads of Virginia, Sandra of Roanoke, used to come to the hatchery as a child on family excursions.

They looked at the fish spawning and growing in the various tanks. We did the same, bypassing the building which was closed and uninviting, going where the fish operations themselves were wide open and unsupervised, a lovely anachronism in the 21st century when everything is locked and terrorists lurk everywhere.

However while the tanks are open to a wandering public there are rules:

I liked the note at the bottom about small children. I had no idea spotted trout are carnivores. It makes them sound like piraƱha.

The life of a trout growing up in a long rectangular cement box seems rather dull to me, but against all the odds these bored fish seem to thrive:

Apparently the fish raising operations are paid for in part by angling enthusiasts and outdoor organizations to keep the streams populated. They seem to be doing a good job.

In the summer months a quarter dropped in the right place will yield a handful of fish food to entertain the troops.

These are spectacular places, vast spacious empty forests covering the sides of rolling hills.

Made more appealing it seems by the addition of fish.

All this work, all this paraphernalia to raise fish to be dropped at a suitable date into the streams so people can catch them and kill them and eat them.

Fortunately the raw material flows by in abundance. Paint Bank, a strange name for an unusual place. I have now seen fish farming with mine own eyes.

Paint Bank Trout Hatchery

Further up the road the community has a general store with gasoline and the swinging bridge restaurant, not yet open when we drove by but we stopped in to check out the rustic wood interior with a reputation for good food, including local buffalo meat. Across the street is the Depot Lodge with a train caboose offering sleeping accommodations. Paint Bank, a weird name with much to see.
Paint Bank Link

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