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Neosho Hatchery Donates Trout to Iowa


Tuesday, 10,000 Missouri fish set off for a new home. But instead of using the waterway, they took to the roadway. KSMU's Benjamin Fry talked to the people transporting the fish and files this report.

In Neosho, Missouri, rainbow trout were loaded into a massive tank on the back of a truck as workers prepared them for an 11 hour exodus to the Hawkeye State.

They're headed to Iowa because recent flooding has damaged hatcheries there.

So, the Neosho Fish Hatchery decided to help out.

David Hendrix is the manager at this hatchery.

"What we're doing now is disinfecting their distribution unit, we disinfect with chlorine initially, and that's what we're doing right now and then afterwards we rinse the truck real well as well as the tank and we bring them over to our filling station which we fill up with fresh water."

Then, the fish are manually loaded into the tank with the help of a net.

Afterward, the truck, tank, and its passengers set off, heading north.

Their destination—Big Springs Hatchery in Elkader, Iowa.

Brian Malaise is one of the truck's two drivers.

He says Big Springs and another hatchery lost fish to rising water.

"We lost about a total of about 120,000 catchable sized trout and the majority of our fingerlings for next year."

Big Springs Hatchery has since been repaired.

Special care has to be taken to keep the trout comfortable during the long haul.

The water in the tank is oxygenated and was lowered to around 40 degrees so the fish don't overheat.

For Malaise, 90 degree temperatures outside the truck mean no long pit stops.

"Once we get the fish on the trucks basically we won't stop until we get back to Iowa until, other than getting gas, until we can get them back into the water in the hatchery."

Neosho Hatchery, which had a surplus of fish, donated 35 percent of its total yield.

Hendrix says they're fortunate to be able to help out.

"Because only by the grace of God it could have been us. You know with all the different storms and everything that's been going on and we've had our share of storms down here in southwest Missouri, so we're just so glad to be able to help."

These fish will eventually end up in ponds in 16 Iowa counties.

For KSMU news, I'm Benjamin Fry.