Eggs that are delivered to the Niagara Springs facility from Oxbow and Pahsimeroi hatcheries are placed in incubators in an indoor nursery area. Spring water supplies the 21, upwelling incubators.
Vats and incubators provide the nursery with an additional 1,260 cubic feet of hatching and early rearing space.
Young remain in the incubators until they reach the fry stage at which point they are transferred to fiberglass tanks.
Click here for an explanation and pictures of the early stages of development.
When they become large enough to be self-maintaining the trout are transferred outdoors to the "raceways" - large, concrete ponds.
Niagara Springs Outdoor Raceways Stop #3
The constant temperature of the fresh spring water provides a stable environment for rearing hatchling - an average of 400,000 pounds of steelhead smolts are produced each year. The fish are fed a special, high-nutrient diet, bacterial and viral levels are carefully monitored and controlled, and strict sterile protocols are adhered to.
Once reaching the smolt stage, steelhead are removed from the raceways using a vacum system and placed in tank trucks.They are then transported back to their original hatchery (Oxbow or Pahsimeroi), or "natal stream" (where the eggs were originally harvested) and released.