New visitation rules will be in place this spring at Grove Trout Rearing Station in Antelope County for the safety of the trout being raised there.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is balancing its obligation to raise quality, healthy trout with its commitment to education and visitation at the popular facility.
Although most visitors have followed the facility’s rules, some have not, causing stress to fish that compromises their health and increases mortality. Treating the trout has led to an increased cost of production. Repairs also had to be made to fish production sites.
To keep the rearing station open to visitors, the following changes have been made:
- Fencing will restrict visitors from sensitive fish production sites. Signs will denote these restricted “bio-secure” areas.
- Visitors will have access to one large production pond near the visitor information area. Parking space is limited.
- Visitors are prohibited from feeding the fish. All fish feeders have been removed, and visitors are not permitted to feed fish food from home. This will be strictly enforced to reduce stress on trout and ensure they have proper diets.
- School group visits must be scheduled by calling the facility at 402-893-5468. The facility is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. seven days a week.
“Game and Parks and the staff at the facility appreciate the public for its cooperation and understanding,” said Joe Cassidy, Grove Trout Rearing Station fish production manager.
Trout at the rearing station already have been put to the test the past two years. In both 2022 and 2021, the facility had to close to visitors temporarily during the summer due to warming water temperatures, which puts added stress on the trout, resulting in disease. Warm water holds less oxygen, which is crucial to trout production.
While warmer water can be a stressor on trout in the summer, visitation, if not managed properly, can worsen the stress.
Grove, which produces and stocks more than 100,000 trout a year, is one of five fish-production facilities in the state managed by the Game and Parks. Learn more at OutdoorNebraska.gov/hatcheries.