long water runway of trout

The hatchery’s new raceway.

The Burton Trout Hatchery is one of three state-operated trout hatcheries that helps produce over one million fish each year for stocking in public waters, and it recently completed a major two-year-long renovation that will ultimately provide tremendous value to anglers and others, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.

“We are so excited to get this renovated facility open so we can get back to the business of raising quality trout to better serve the angling public,” said trout program coordinator John Lee Thomson.

The hatchery, originally built around 1938, was in need of renovation due to crumbling hatchery raceway walls, lack of climate-controlled facilities to house trout food, insufficient equipment storage space and dilapidated offices. Additionally, one of the most critical issues – drought ­– was able to be addressed. In extreme drought years, fish would have to be moved to another facility or even stocked prematurely, impacting both the stocking program and trout anglers.

Renovations include a new trout production building, office building, residence, warehouse, and a climate-controlled feed storage building, an oxygen injection system, new dam/water intake and repaving the parking area and boat ramp. In addition, new technology was incorporated into the design allowing nearly 100 percent of the water flowing from the circular tanks to be cleaned and reused in downstream raceways, further enhancing Burton’s new drought-resistant operating system.

Funding for the hatchery renovation was derived from bond funds, trout license plate sales funds and Sport Fish Restoration Fund monies.

Anglers support the operation of the hatchery through their fishing license purchase and through the Sport Fish Restoration Fund by paying taxes on items like fishing equipment and boat fuel. Those tax dollars get returned to Georgia based, in part, on how many fishing licenses are sold. Licenses are available at: www.gooutdoorsgeorgia.com).

For more information about freshwater fish hatcheries in Georgia, visit GeorgiaWildlife.com/allhatcheries.

Photos: courtesy Georgia WRD