When Should I Plan My Release?

Release day is a fun and special event with your class. Now is a good time to begin planning your release day especially if you require buses, extra funding, or are looking to have a local naturalist present at your event.The information below should help you plan.


While your permit allows you to keep the fish up to 8 weeks from the day of egg delivery, we recommend releasing fish soon after they “button up” (absorb the yolk sac). This generally occurs within 4-6 weeks of hatch.

The risk of mortality  increases the longer you keep the fish in your tank. While only 1-2% of classes in the Bay Area experience “total tank failure” each year, it is really unfun if it is your class. We cannot always figure out what went wrong in each case, but the two most common factors are that the fish are being feed and they have been held longer than 6 weeks.

If you are hatching rainbow trout (which most of you are):

Assume you will receive your eggs the first few days of March, 2017. That means they should be in the lake NO LATER than April 28 2017. I would recommend you look at a release date of much earlier – 5 to 6 weeks after delivery.


If you are hatching Steelhead trout, you have three options for egg pick up:

  • February 8, 2017 (final date fry must be released – April 5, 2017)
  • March 15, 2017 (final date fry must be released – May 10, 2017)
  • April 5, 2017 (final date fry must be released – May 31, 2017)

Again, we recommend releasing at least 2 weeks prior to final release date.


We hope this helps you plan your release day activities.

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.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s