Sean Brady didn’t exactly set out to own a trout hatchery when he was in the midst of purchasing a house near Thornbury, ON. He was on his way to view the house when the realtor mentioned another property for sale nearby. Sean agreed to check the property out. He found an abandoned trout hatchery fed by cold, crystal clear spring water. Sean, together with business partner Bruce Green, decided to fix it up and re-open the hatchery in 2009, after being given some trout stock by neighbouring farms.
How does the hatchery work?
The source of the hatchery’s cold spring water (about 7-9 degrees Celsius) comes down from cloud formation, filters down through the limestone, and then travels below the forest floor, picking up minerals, enzymes and nutrients along the way. The trout feed on fairy shrimps (which gives their flesh the signature pink hue), mosquitoes, midges and minnows. They are supplemented with a feed mix made up of plant protein, a combination of flax, soy and corn. There’s no need to use any kind of added growth hormones or antibiotics because the inland spring water is largely self-correcting – gravity does most of the work to keep the water properly oxygenated to prevent bacteria growth! They also use sponges to collect debris from storm water.
Here you can see some young trout, swirling around in the nursery section of the hatchery. Believe it or not, these trout are already many months old at this point:
Catching and processing Kolapore Trout
Trout are very slow growing (even slower because of the cold water), only being harvested once they reach about three years of age. Sean and his staff take lots of care to ensure the fish aren’t over crowded – they never would add in so many that they go over the natural water column of the hatchery.
They are caught with dip nets and processed at a nearby processing plant. Because they are so carefully tended, they have a beautiful firm flesh and absolutely fantastic flavour. The hatchery produces very little waste, and the fish excrement that is produced gets collected and harvested for fertilizer.
Shelf life and packaging
Fresh, they have a shelf life of 10 days from packaging. Right now, we have these available on a slightly altered schedule, so you’ll need to contact your sales rep directly to order. The fresh trout fillets are sourced from both Sean’s hatchery, as well as two other private hatcheries and two First Nations fish farms. All the locations grow and care for their trout using agreed upon standards set out by Kolapore Springs.We will also be carrying their delicious smoked trout, which is sourced from a wider network of Ontario trout farms.
Thank you to Sean for giving us a tour of Kolapore Springs and providing all the information!
Written By: Genrys Goodchild