GIANTS CUP TROUT HATCHERY
Giants Cup Hatchery specialises in the production of live angling trout. With a breeding programme based on the wild gene pool that has existed in the Umzimkulu headwaters since 1922, the farm hatches out up to a million fish per year, and supplies angling fish throughout Kwazulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape Southern Drakensberg. The farm supplies more than 90% of the live fish for angling in its area of operation.
As a by-product, the hatchery also produces a couple of tons per month of table products. All fish, except for cold-smoked products, are supplied fresh and vacuum packed for added shelf life. Table products include:
whole rounds • deboned rounds • fillets • hot oak-smoked • cold oak-smoked.
Why Wild-spawn Trout?
Giants Cup Hatchery™ is the only facility in Southern Africa that specialises in producing stocking trout specifically for angling.It all began in 1987. In that year, we trapped wild fish from the Umzimkulwna for raising in the hatchery. As the fish grew, each time they were graded, the fastest growing 1% of the fish were selected out and raised separately. Two years later, at sexual maturity, these fish were crossed back to the wild fish. Their progeny - once again raised in the hatchery, were once again selected for speedy growth. The best of these fish - in terms of size and configuration ( basal muscle, strong fins, broad tail, etc), become part of the breeding program. Every winter, the wild fish are trapped in the Umzimkulwana river just above the Giants Cup Lake. The wild hens are fertilised with "selected" cock fish - and the wild cock fish are used to fertilise the "selected" hens. Every generation, thus, has one wild parent and one parent from the hatchery selected stock - which in turn had one wild and one selected parent. By breeding back to the wild population every generation, we ensure that the genetic selection proccess that has taken place in over 100 generations of natural spawning in the Umzimkulwana river, is retained. Coupled with this, crossing with the selected, biggest, fastest growing fish in the hatchery, combines the genetic potential for attaining huge size ( such as is present in Kamloops, Shastus & Clarki lewisi strains) together with all the subtle behavioural and physical attributes of a truly wild population.This results in a crop of trout that combine those characteristics that have favoured survival - specifically in the conditions that are found in our climate, together with the genetic potential for exceptional growth. Their physical characteristic and the lack of generations of hatchery conditioning make them a superb angling fish. By holding the fish at low carrying densities, in earth ponds, the stress factors present in most hatchery populations are avoided. This results in a live stocking fish of exceptional quality, with all its fins intact. There is no finer stocking trout available anywhere!