Although open to the public, we are a working trout farm producing hundreds of thousands of trout a year. Here is a little information on what we do, how we do it and what stands us apart form other Trout Farms.
What we do
We produce three types of trout - Brown, Blue and Rainbow - which we sell to fisheries, fish farms, angling clubs; and private lakes, reservoirs and rivers throughout the country. We also supply a number of pubs and restaurants in the Cotswolds, attend local Farmers Markets and have our own fishery on-site which is hugely popular in the summer. Our customers can buy our trout at varying stages of their life cycle – as eggs, fry (baby fish) or fully grown fish.
How we look after our Trout
All our fish are produced ‘in house’ – grown from eggs on the farm using our own line of brood stock. This gives us full control of their health and wellbeing throughout every stage of their life.
Our fish food is sustainably sourced, and perfectly balanced to provide the trout with an optimum diet. It produces a great tasting flesh with a beautiful pink colour. The purity of our spring waters removes any earthiness, and enhances their delicate flavour.
Our fish are grown slowly to produce a leaner more muscular body composition, and are a great source of Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids which help prevent heart disease, cancer and arthritis.
The pristine, oxygenated springs of the River Coln provide the perfect conditions for growing trout. We keep the density of fish in our lakes purposefully low to prevent overcrowding and to promote a naturally spacious, mineral-rich environment.
We use the traditional method of ‘grading’ our fish by hand to ensure the very best quality for our customers. This stands us apart from other Fish farms who nowadays use machines to do this.
The trout are observed and cared for by a dedicated team of trained staff 24 hours a day. The farmers have all been here for decades and care passionately about the welfare of the fish.
We transport our trout in oxygenated tanks which are never over-crowded so they arrive in perfect condition.
We have our own Smokery on site. Our trout are smoked daily by traditional methods using only salt and hardwood chips. We use three different techniques - hot smoking, cold smoking and light smoking.
The hot (or 'dark') smoked trout has a rich, intense flavour. The trout are skinned and filleted before the process begins giving them more exposure to the heat of the smoking and creating its deep orange colour.
The ‘lightly smoked’ is moist and subtle in taste. Smoked as a whole fish with its skin on, for 9 hours, gives it it’s pale colour.
The ‘cold smoked’ is a beautiful, delicate alternative to salmon. The process is a lot slower and more intricate, taking up to 24 hours using a ‘dry cure’ technique.
All our smoking is done by hand, in small batches, to ensure the highest quality.
The Hatchery at Bibury Trout Farm was redesigned in the early 1980’s to fulfil the needs of the farm. It is fed from the world famous Bibury Spring which is of excellent quality and remains at a constant temperature of 10°c.
The Hatchery produces 1 million eggs a year. The brood fish are all grown on site and are constantly monitored for Health as only the highest quality are chosen for spawning which takes place between October and December. This involves the eggs and milt being removed from the fish and fertilized externally. Each female will produce between 3000 and 4000 eggs. We use a ratio of 1 male to 3 females to ensure a high fertilisation rate.
The eggs are incubated in zuga jars or trays and after 16 days the eyes of the developing embryo are visible. The eggs hatch after 32 days and are nourished by their yolk sack for another 2 and a half weeks before they are fed for the first time. The early days of first feeding are very important for the trout’s development so they are fed around the clock.
At this stage the fry can eat a staggering 3.8% of their body weight per day. After 3-4 weeks the fry are moved outside where by April/May they can reach 5 grams. By July, the fry will weigh 10-20 grams and their feed requirements will have dropped to 2.3% body weight per day. As fingerlings it is at this point, they are moved out to their new home on the farm. They are transported in oxygenated tanks.