Pure Trout

Debbie Allen, “Trail Boss” of the Field Reporting Institute, shows off her magnificent catch Oct. 10 at Westover Farms. A first-time fly fisher, Allen reeled in the trout after coaching by Tom Schlueter. Photo by Amanda Bromwich.

Editor’s Choice: Another Report from the October Trip:

In a tree-covered valley splotched with autumnal tones of russet red, blanched orange and dying green, a placid stream winds a gentle course. The stream is a pure nurturing zone for rainbow trout. Marty McMillen, co-manager of Westover Farms, knows the advantages of this.

“They come back each year with a clean bill of health,” McMillen said. “There’s no medication in our fish, and we don’t feed them any unnatural chemicals.”

In such a rainbow trout hatchery, farmers avoid the use of formalin, an embalming fluid designed to protect the fish from contamination. Westover Farms avoids formalin by way of other factors inherent to the hatchery. After the trout farm receives its egg supply from Crystal Lake Fisheries, the farmers make a concerted effort not to introduce trout from other hatcheries into their waters.

“I won’t allow that to happen,” McMillen said. “If you don’t bring fish in from another place, you don’t need to have to use an embalming fluid.”

In addition to raising only their fish, Westover Farms uses only its own water, which wells up through a network of natural springs. After a two-minute skirt up the winding stream, the river broadens to accommodate a floating island. This is the location of Westover Springs.

“This is where every bit of our water comes from,” McMillen said.

–Leif Kothe

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