The landscape of Nilgiris district is adorned by beautiful mountains (Queen of hills) valleys (Dale) and plains. The highest peakof South India, Doddabetta (2660 m above MSL) is located here at the junction of Western and Eastern Ghats. The average annual rainfall is about 125cm and the atmospheric temperature ranges between 00C to 260 C. Water resources are mainly in the form of streams and small rivers connected to reservoirs. Based on water sources, there are 12 hydroelectric power projects existing in this district with a total installed capacity of around 831.4 MW. The native fisheries resources (endemic species) of the district include Minnows,Danio and Puntius species. However, when the area gained importance as a summer resort to the colonial rulers, some of the District Administrators took keen interest in the development of cold-water fisheries and introduced the exotic fish species such as mirror carp, leather carp, scale carp, doctor fish and rainbow trout.

The Evolution of Trout Fishery

In the nineteenth century, the European settlers attempted to introduce trout in the pristine, crystal clear water flowing through the coldwater streams of Nilgiris district. In 1863 Dr.Francis Day imported eyed ova of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchusmykiss) but the attempt failed as the eyed ova were received in very bad condition. Further from 1866 to 1906, several attempts were made to bring eyed ova of trout from various countries, but the efforts were not fruitful. In the year 1906, the then Governor of the state sought the services of Mr.Henry Charlton Wilson, the pisciculture expert who later initiated the development of trout fishery in Nilgiris on a scientific basis. He surveyed the entire districtand finally selected Avalanche stream (32km away fromOoty) as the best suited place for a trout hatchery. The hatchery at Avalanche is located 2036 meters above MSL and it was constructed in the year 1907.The first batch of eyed ova were brought from New Zealand and hatched out successfully. Later the trout seeds were introduced in all the coldwater streams flowing in higher altitudes. Further, other consignments of eyed ova were brought from Kashmir in 1920 (7000 nos.) and 1960 (20,000 nos.), and from Srilanka in 1945 (25,000 nos.), successfully hatched and introduced. After the commissioning of hydroelectric power projects in this district the course of water streams has changed drastically, negatively affecting the trout fishery. At present, trout fishery has lost its original significance and needs a systematic revamp for sustainable development.

Avalanche Trout Hatchery & Farm

Since, rainbow trout is an excellent game fish for sport fishery, trout fisheries in Nilgiris were managed by the ‘The Nilgiris Game Association’ until 1958. Afterward the state fisheries department has taken over the management of trout fisheries.The hatchery at Avalanche is fully utilized for hatching eyed ova of rainbow trout every year to replenish and rehabilitate the natural stock of trout in the upper reaches of the trout streams. The “Government Wilson trout farm” is utilized for rearing trout fry, fingerlings, advanced fingerlings and brooders. During the year 2011-12 NFDB have funded Rs 30,00,000/- for trout hatchery repair and renovation work. The renovation were taken up by the PWD Udahagamandalam at a cost of Rs 29,14,560/- and completed the work only during May 2015.

The breeding season of rainbow trout starts in October and extends upto February of subsequent year. During this period male and female brood fish are collected from the wild and stripping is carried out at the hatchery premises. First ripe male and female trout breeders were selected.The ova from the female are first stripped in a dry basin and over them the miltis stripped to effect fertilization. Fresh water is poured over the fertilized eggs and washed number of times.

The unfertilized ova are removed and the fertilized eggs called Green eggs are loaded on the grills and placed in to hatching boxes. The water is allowed to pass over the hatching boxes. The fertilized eggs take 4 weeks to hatch out. The hatchlings and swim up fry has been maintained in the hatching boxes where artificial feeding has been provided till 60th days of incubation in the hatching boxes. Afterwards further rearing takes place in the raceway nursery tanks. Finally, the trout seeds has been harvested and ranched in the suitable upstream trout waters.

Duration for conversion* into different stages
Sl.No Stages from Stages to Period
1 Green Eggs Eyed ova 10days
2 Eyed ova Alevin 10-20 days
3 Alevin Fry 20-28days
4 Fry Fingerlings 28-60 days
5 Fingerlings Advanced Fingerlings 60-150days

* Different stages of conversion is mainly depends upon the stream water temperature, normally at Avalanche the temperature ranges between -50c to 180c.

Rainbow trout seed production and stocking details for the last five years are as follows:
Sl. No Period Eyed ova produced (Nos.) Trout Fingerlings stocked (Nos.)
1 2013-2014 1,03,300 69,500
2 2014-2015 1,01,100 71,600
3 2015-2016 56,230 38,250
4 2016-2017 29,750 19,300
5 2017-2018 82000 63300

Trout Waters

  • Upper Bhavani
  • Avalanche
  • Emerald
  • Mukurthi
  • Parson’s Valley

Trout Breeder collection streams

  • Lakady
  • Deverbetta
  • Thalakuntha
  • Avalanche

Carp Fisheries Activities in Nilgiris District

The Common carp (CyprinusCarpio) and its three main varieties such as mirror carp(Cyprinuscarpio var. specularis),scale carp(CyprinusCarpio var. communis) and Leather carp(CyprinusCarpio var. nudus) were brought from Ceylon in 1939 and introduced in Nilgiris. These carps are now well acclimatized in Nilgirisand now constitute the major fish landings. The fishing is done on share basis giving 50% share to the fishermen and the remaining 50% fish sold to the public based on the rates fixed by the Department.

Carp Waters

Carp water means only carps are present in this water. The details of carp water in Nilgiris District are as follows:

  1. Ooty Lake
  2. Sandynalla Reservoir
  3. Glenmorgan Reservoir
  4. Pykara
  5. Kundha Reservoir
  6. R. Bazaar Reservoir
  7. Maravakandy Reservoir
  8. Moyar Reservoir
  9. Masanagudi lake
  10. Wellington lake

Carp seed stocking and Exploitation

Common carp fish seeds are stocked and exploited by the Fisheries Department in the following hydel reservoirs.

  1. Sandynalla Reservoir
  2. Glenmorgan Reservoir
  3. Kundha Reservoir
  4. R. Bazaar Reservoir
  5. Maravakandy Reservoir
  6. Moyar Reservoir
  7. Pykara Reservoir
  8. Masanagudi lake
  9. Wellington lake

Licensing Procedure

Fishing licence is issued by the Department only for carp fishing in carp waters and the prescribed licence fee details are as follows:-

  1. Annual Licence Rs.600/-
  2. Six Months Licence Rs.300/-
  3. Monthly Licence Rs.150/-
  4. Weekly Licence Rs.75/-
  5. Daily Licence Rs.20/- (For Sandinalla Reservoir Rs 15/-)

The Forest Department has imposed a ban for entry into areas of upstream trout waters and trout breeding grounds, Since the area comes under Tiger Reserve Forest. Due to this issue licence for trout angling is not issued by the Fisheries Department.

Natural seed collection

During southwest monsoon, the natural breeding of common carp occurs in the sandinella dam. The natural carp seeds are collected and stocked in the carp waters and also supplied to the private farmers.

Fish Aquarium

The Department is also maintained Fish Aquarium which is located in the Assistant Director of Fisheries office complex adjacent to the Central Bus stand, Ooty. The aquarium exhibits 29 tanks and 20 species of fresh water ornamental fishes, which are suitable to the Ooty weather condition. The Aquarium is opened throughout the week. The working time is between 10.00 AM – 5.45 PM. Adult has to give an entry fee of Rs 10/-, while children can get entry at Rs 5/-as fees prescribed by the Director of Fisheries.The following fishes are maintained in aquarium

  1. white veiltail goldfish (Carassius auratus)
  2. black tetra (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi)
  3. rosy barb (Puntius conchonius)
  4. Doctor fish ( Tinc tinca)
  5. Koi carp (Cyprinus carpio var koi)
  6. Nilgiris danio (Danio neilgherriensis)
  7. Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella)
  8. Guppy (Poecilia reticulata)
  9. ‎Albino Buenos Aires Tetra Fish (Hyphessobrycon anisitsi)
  10. Common carp (Cyprinus carpio)
  11. Tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus)
  12. Pacu fish (Piaractus brachypomus)
  13. Zebra fish (Brachydanio rerio)
  14. ‎Red jewel cichlids (Hemichromis bimaculatus)
  15. Sword tail (Xiphophorus hellerii)
  16. snow white cichlids (Pseudotropheus socolofi)
  17. Maingano Cichlid (Melanochromis Maingano),
  18. Electric Blue (Sciaenochromis fryeri)
  19. Common gold fish (Carassius auratus)
  20. Kissing Gourami, (Helostoma temminkii)

Contact Details:-

Assistant Director of Fisheries,

Office of Assistant Director of Fisheries,

Near Central Busstand,

Udhagamandalam – 643001.

Telephone No:- 0423-2443946

Email:- adfudagai[at]gmail[dot]com