Landowners looking to stock their ponds and dugouts with rainbow trout will now be able to purchase them in Manitoba.
Watersong Farms, near Warren, recently was licensed to import trout fingerlings to sell to the public, said owner Rudy Reimer.
Watersong Farms is an intensive aquaculture operation raising and selling steelhead trout (which are essentially the same as rainbow trout).
Reimer said an organization called Manitoba Rainbow Trout Association used to import tens of thousands of fingerling trout each year for hobby farmers and landowners, but stopped due to tightening regulations.
Provincial fish hatcheries do not appear to sell fingerling trout to the public.
Watersong Farms began to get calls asking if they sold the young fish.
“We used to get calls every spring. Probably a hundred phone calls,” Reimer said.
Reimer said they’re required to have a live handler’s permit, have the fish checked for health before they’re brought into Manitoba, track where the fish are sold to, and get descriptions of the ponds and dugouts into which they’ll be stocked.
According to provincial information, trout must be stocked into a body of water that doesn’t have an inlet or outlet, which prevents fish from escaping.
Reimer said they’ll be providing a sterile variety of female rainbow trout so if they escape, they won’t reproduce.