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Does Sepp breed his own trout?

 
Jeff Sayler
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Does anybody know if sepp holzer breeds his trout in his ponds? I've been doing quite a bit of research on trout farming, and from what I have read trout will not spawn in a pond, they have to have flowing water for that. So does anybody know how Sepp gets around this?
 
Emily Brown
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Sepp's ponds are interconnected and there is a lot of water flowing between them.
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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Sepp 1st pond at the top of the "hll" is fed by a spring. When that pond fills up it then flows to the next pond, etc, etc.

I am assuming that you dont have a spring to feed your series of ponds, in that case a pump+pipe combo could be used to close the loop.
You probably need a well to maintain the water level and a good filter pond as the "last" pond.
 
Jeff Sayler
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So, Sepp has managed to imitate the trouts natural habitat so well that they spawn naturally? Do you know this to be true or are you assuming based on the fact that his ponds are connected?

I actually do have a natural spring and a natural stream. My thought is to divert the spring, and a part of the stream when necessary, to feed the ponds. I've also thought of using a pump to recirculate part of the water from the bottom pond back to the top.

I'd really like more details about the ponds at the krameterhof if anybody knows anything more.
 
S Bengi
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Yeah he pretty much slows the spring water down, let it accumulate nutrients, flora and fauna aka grow fish food and the fish pretty much just prosper.

here is a richsoil article on sepp. http://www.richsoil.com/sepp-holzer/sepp-holzer-permaculture.jsp
 
Adam Klaus
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I cant speak to Sepp's setup, but I do have a friend that gets trout to reproduce in his springfed pond seteup.

He has consructed a small gravel streambed where natural spring water flows into the pond. The trout are able to swim up this stream, and spawn in the flowing spring water. This water is immaculately clean, cold, and oxygenated. It flows out of the ground, through a small area of wild watercress and cascading rocks, and then through a 20 foot section of pea sized gravel before it enters the pond. He does nothing more, and the rainbow trout are able to naturally reproduce.

I would love to imitate this, but my flaw is that my water source is from surface water, and so it is too warm and turbid for spawning, despite being more than adequate for rainbow trout to grow in. The key is the quality of the spring water, and then setting up an adequate streambed for the trouts' spawning requirements. His flow is pretty good too, I am guessing about 100+ gallons per minute. Nice spring!
 
James Colbert
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This is another reason land with lots of hills and valleys is so useful in a Permaculture setting. You can go in and create swales and water catchment spaces which will rehydrate the land and create natural springs and streams. Then you can create natural spaces for exotic plants and animals like trout to breed and proliferate naturally. geoff lawton does something similar with swales and trees. First you put in a bunch of hardy trees that you don't even get a "crop" from. Then you plant hardy crops, and finally you plant exotics as the previously established species protect, shelter, and nurse more sensitive species.
 
Jeff Sayler
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Thank you Adam Klaus! That is exactly the kind of info I was looking for. I think I should be able to construct something like that. I know my stream water is suitable for spawning trout because the wild trout run up it every march and april to spawn. I've already been making small modifications to the stream to offer more cover and calm water for the young trout.

I'd still love to know how Sepp does it, if anybody has any more info please fill me in.

Adam, if you could get pictures of your friends pond and artificial stream bed that would be AMAZING!
 
Adam Klaus
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Jeff,
Sorry no pics, friend lives an hour plus away and I cant get away from the farm at all this time of year. But.....

I did just come across this thread, seems packed with good info and photos of folks trying to get their trout to naturally spawn
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=286222#Post286222

And on a related note, do you know anything about Rainbow Trout spawning? I had two large fish wash up dead on shore last week, their vents (is that what you call it?) quite engorged. I didnt disect them, just tossed them to the chickens, but then later thought, could have they been large females with eggs? Did they die because there wasnt suitable spawning habitiat? Really just wondering, the more I think about it. Any thoughts would be welcome.

Enjoy the link, good luck with your trout. I just planted another 105 yesterday to rejuvinate my fishery for the year. Happy times at feeding hour, quite the pond party!
 
Miles Flansburg
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Adam, they wouldn't have been salmon would they ?
 
Adam Klaus
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Hi Miles,
No definitely not salmon. Rainbow trout for sure, from a quality hatchery here in Western Colorado.
I wish they were salmon! Goodness me, the trout are tasty eating but certainly no salmon.
Stoked to be able to raise trout here though, it is an achievement I never imagined possible. Then one day I found a live rainbow trapped in my gated irrigation pipe, and a lightbulb lit up in my head. Our water is trout quality, amazing!
One huge pond later, I am happily farming fish.
 
Miles Flansburg
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Nice, I am hoping to dig out a few ponds at my place in Wyoming. We have a couple of springs. Would be nice to have a little fishing hole all to myself.
Do the fish just show up through the canals or do you have to stock them?

 
Adam Klaus
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I stock the trout. Lots of fish hatcheries around the state so availability is no problem. The place I buy from even has a little portable 100 gallon tank, with an oxygen tank and an aeration stone. Load it in the bed of the pickup truck, fill it with fish and water, and drive back to the farm. Works great.

Feed efficiency is incredible with trout, so I do not begrudge purchasing a sack of feed pellets each year. Feed to gain ratio is nearly 1:1! Additionally I try to manage the pond for maximum production of natural forage feed so that I hope I am feeding maybe half the trout's diet in pellets. I could feed no pellets with much much fewer fish, but it is a good expenditure IMHO. I figure the increase in fertilizer value from irrigating out of the trout pond likely pays back the cost.

The food for the table is excellent. Unlike most farm raised trout, our fish naturally have richly colored flesh, indicating that they are eating lots of aquatic insects. Still lots of room for habitat improvement, but so far stoked on the system.
 
Jeff Sayler
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Sounds like you've got a nice system goin, Adam. As far as the dead trout go, it's impossible to know for sure without a necropsy. Seems a bit late for spawning, but I'm basing that on when I've observed trout running the rivers around here. The trout were running up my stream in march, but timing could be very different where you are. I've definitely observed similar symptoms with aquarium fish, it can be caused by many things, impaction would be my first guess, second would be severe bacterial infection. I've never experienced egg binding in fish but I suppose it's a possibility.
 
Jeff Sayler
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The distended vent might have nothing to do with the cause of death. It's quite possible that they died and then gasses building up in their body cavities caused bloating and vent bulging. Sorry, I'm really not much help I'm afraid. If you find more, definitely preform a necropsy. Should be pretty obvious if they are egg bound, or impacted. One thing that comes to mind is mycobacterium marinum, also known as piscine tuberculosis, it is a zoonotic pathogen, so wearing gloves would be advisable. I don't know how prevalent piscine tb is in cold water species, but in tropical aquarium's it's not uncommon.
 
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