Trout in the Classroom

February 2, 2018

-- Ms. Lisa Cotter

Last year, Mr. Hanson and his students experienced the Trout in the Classroom. This year, the Trout in the Classroom equipment is being used by Mr. Risinger and his students.  Fortunately, Ms. Cotter and her students are also able to experience Trout in the Classroom due to the equipment being privately funded by numerous wonderful people including Linda Miller (former Lexington resident), Theresa Stuart (Lexington), Bruce Hayden (Omaha), Ed and Lee Brogie (Wayne), and Katti Renik (Wisconsin) through project I submitted in November 2017.

[ ]   The tank is insulated with foam to control the temperature and to shield the eggs and alevins from the light.  On the left is the chiller unit and it is set at 52 °F; as water circulates through the tank and pump unit - the temperature will fluctuate from 50 - 54 °F. [picture above right]

The trout eggs were fertilized on December 20, 2017.  The eggs showed eyes on January 3, 2018. On January 8, 2018, 6,042 trout eggs [picture to the left] were shipped from Ennis National Fish Hatchery in Ennis, Montana to Nebraska Game and Parks in Lincoln, Nebraska.  The viable eggs are red/pink, while the white/yellow eggs on the surface are dead. Originally, the eggs were scheduled to arrive at Lexington Middle School on January 11th; however, due to the snow storm, shipping was delayed and the eggs did not arrive until January 16th.  The journey from the fertilization to the classroom is interesting. For more information [,, ]

Due to the delay in shipping, the hatch date could not be determined.  We were very surprised when the trout eggs began to hatch into alevins on January 21, 2018 [picture on left].  During the 1-6 week alevin stage, the yolk sac provides nourishment until absorbed into the belly.  On January 29th, there were  more alevins and they are noticeably larger [picture on right].

The trout water is tested several times a week to ensure the water is at safe levels for the developing trout to survive.  My students learned about the nitrogen cycle so they would better understand the water testing.  Students in my classes have begun to test the pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels.

As the trout grow, the alevins will develop into fry, fingerlings, and finally into adults.  The surviving trout from Ms. Cotter and Mr. Risinger’s tanks will be delivered to a Nebraska State Park to stock a stream or lake for anglers to catch and eat!