This time of the year we do not see a lot of trout on our menu’s. I went to go investigate. Through the Huguenot Tunnel all the way to Fizantakraal, nestled beautifully between the Du Toits Kloof mountains.
With the most spectacular views next to the trout raceways we inspect the facility. What struck me at first was the amount of fish in the raceways, or rather the freedom to move around. Often I have this picture with the fish tucked in fin to fin in a race way with hardly enough water to swim. Farming fish has got some pro’s and cons. What is the ratio of feed to final weight, what feed is used? Where is the feed from. But this is for another post.
All the water used at this facility come straight out of the mountain and flow through the trout facility and then back into the stream.
So what is the deal, the trout eggs get milked or rather harvested this time of the year, a process that needs to be gentle with the trout as the eggs get massaged gently out of the fish. The fish is then returned unharmed back into the ponds. This is seasonal and happens normally May to June every year as it is farm these eggs need to be kept for the nursery and for the years production as well as for the sale of trout roe.
I was given an opportunity to harvest roe from one fish, which looks a lot easier than what it really is. Tendency is to be very gentle with the fish, this does not exactly pay off, the trout is strong and requires a very form grip without harming the fish. Holding the fish in my left hand and securing the grip against my leg, I gently message the belly with my right hand, until the roe runs freely into a bucket. It is not uncommon that one fish can yield up to 700g of roe. The roe is cured lightly after the milking process and we head home to sample our own.
So until the end of the month when all colour has returned we can put trout back on the menu.
There is also a lodge if you need to breakaway from city living nestled in the valley. Sleeps eight people with all necessary luxuries. You will need these after a day out in the cold mountains.