These are juvenile brook trout in a side channel of the Tye River, approximately 200 yards downstream from Crabtree Falls. Native Virginia Brook trout spawn in late Fall, and take two to four months to hatch depending upon water temperature. After hatching, larval trout acquire food from their yolk sacs for a few weeks before becoming true free-swimming fry, like the ones in the video. They typically station themselves in a side current off the main stream flow facing upstream awaiting food to wash by. These young trout voraciously feed on aquatic insect larvae micro-crustaceans, and the occasional fish larvae. The Tye River has an excellent population of wild brook trout and the fry were abundant.
April is the month most native freshwater fishes become active and signals the beginning of our collecting season. This year we have only a few freshwater needs for the live collection: juvenile Lepomis spp., bowfin, a flathead catfish, a blue catfish, banded sunfish and some bluespotted sunfish that were captive bred by Nick Little at the National Aquarium in DC.