Frequently Asked Questions About Hatching Fish In The SF Bay Area

What do I need to do to get eggs again this year?
This is easy-peasy – every year you need to apply for a new permit. The application form has changed a bit this year. Fill this out and submit either to your sponsor or to CDFW at the address listed on the back. Most sponsors want to help teachers by collecting and tracking the permits.

I can’t remember who my sponsor is or if I even have one –what do I do?
Almost all teachers in the Bay Area program have a sponsor who is active in supporting the classroom project. Check your permit from last year and you will find the name of your sponsor (the organization) and your coach (the individual). If you can’t find this, email Ethan and he will look it up for you.

I already took the training, do I need to do it again?
Teachers are always welcome to attend a training workshop as a refresher (usually at no cost), however, this is not required. As long as you have hatched fish within the past 3 years and complied with all the terms of your permit (including returning it at the end of the season) you do not need to be retrained.

When should I plan on the eggs arriving and releasing the fish?
Rainbow Trout eggs are scheduled for delivery the week of February 23rd, 2015. If you allow about one week incubation in the classroom, the eggs should hatch around March 1st. We recommend release 4-5 weeks after hatch (the week of March 30th or April 6th) and you must release no longer than 6 weeks after hatch.

Steelhead eggs pick-up dates from Warm Springs Hatchery are posted on the website. We recommend release 4-5 weeks afterwards and you must release no longer than 6 weeks after hatch.

Steelhead eggs from MBSTEP are less predictable and we do not know those dates at this time.

Why do some teachers hatch rainbow trout and other teachers hatch steelhead trout?
We are fortunate in the Bay Area to be able to provide steelhead and rainbow trout eggs to schools, depending on where the school is located. It is important to remember that all teachers in the Bay Area hatch trout – steelhead are anadromous and go the ocean while rainbow are the same fish but remain in lakes.

Teachers in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties receive a strain of locally spawned steelhead that can be released into local streams (but NOT lakes).

Teachers in Santa Cruz and Santa Clara County are given a strain of steelhead eggs from the San Lorenzo River system and these fish must ONLY be released into this watershed (thus the reason Santa Clara teachers must haul their eggs over the hill and are not able to release locally).

Teachers in most of the Bay Area receive a common strain of rainbow trout that can be released into most (but not all) lakes. These fish CANNOT be released into local streams.
All fish much be released in accordance with your 772 permit – there are no exceptions.

I heard there is a new teacher resource packet – how do I get one?
Yes – we have created a new packet full of great info and ideas for you. These will be distributed to teachers through your sponsor. Be sure to ask!

I also hear there is a new “educational activity” which is like a board game on the life cycle of rainbow trout – how do I get a copy?
Again, these will be distributed through your sponsor. Ed Huff (the same person who created the posters and multi-media shows) worked with CDFW staff to create a really fun educational activity for students. Students move their fish around the board in a race to the redd.

We were unable to get steelhead eggs last year– what should we expect this year?
The drought played havoc with classes that hatch steelhead last year. We were unable to provide steelhead eggs for teachers that normally receive them from the MBSTEP program (Santa Cruz and Santa Clara Counties) or from Warm Springs Hatchery (Sonoma and Mendocino Counties).

Most teachers in the Warm Springs program opted to hatch and release rainbow trout as an alternative and this worked out well. Teachers in the MBSTEP program were not given the option of rainbow trout, so they sat the year out.
While I hope steelhead eggs will be available this year, I will again make a contingency plan to provide rainbow trout eggs for all teachers.

I have a co-worker who wants to be in the program – what should I do?
Some of the training workshops for this year are already full but there are some spaces open in select areas. Here are some links:

Teachers in the East Bay (includes Tracy and Vallejo)
Teachers in Marin, San Francisco, or the Peninsula (includes Napa)
Teachers in Sonoma County
Teachers in Santa Cruz and Santa Clara Counties

I love the program and want to do more with my students; where can I find new ideas and resources?
There are tons of great materials, curriculum, lists of books and other resources available for you on our website and on the TIC Blog.

I go to the website and it gives me a warning; what is happening? is a mirror site that redirects you to Both links take you to the same place. Unfortunately was hacked and while the site is clean, some computers with certain browsers receive a warning and we have been unable to determine the cause of the warning. You may use either link as they both go to the same place. We are still working on solving the problem and thank you for your patience.

I never received a copy of the “WILD About Trout” multi-media shows – can I get a copy?
Absolutely! The 5 slideshows are available in English and Spanish, are correlated to standards, connected to the posters you should have received, and are available to you at no-cost. Just ask your sponsor or send me an email.

I have some cool curriculum and ideas – is there a way I can share with other teachers?
GREAT.  You can post these to the TIC Facebook page or send them to Ethan and ask for them to be posted to the TIC Blog.

Is there a way I can stay in touch with other teachers who also hatch fish?
The easiest way is to “like” the TIC Facebook page – this keeps you in touch with other teachers and coaches. Sometimes if you have a question or problem, this is the fastest way to get a response.

I really appreciate the help of my sponsor and coach – is there something I can do to thank them?             
Coaches provide valuable support – helping with the permitting, delivering eggs, setting up the aquarium, talking to your students, troubleshooting problems and so much more. They do this because they want to share their love of streams and fish with your students. In general, they love getting letters and cards from students. You may want to ask if you can attend a club meeting to share your class’ experience hatching fish.

About Ethan Rotman

Ethan Rotman (Bayareatic) manages and coordinates programs that hatch fish in classrooms for the San Francisco Bay Area. He also chairs the committee that manages these programs throughout the state. Ethan has worked with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for over 20 years.
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