Story and photos by RODNEY D. BOAM
Raising warm water fish in the cool, clear waters of Southeast Idaho may seem far-fetched until someone discovers the tilapia farming operation of Dutchboy Farms in Niter. John Lambregts, an aqua-culturist and owner of Dutchboy Farms, raises tilapia that are originally from the warm waters in Thailand. These fish are commonly believed to be the same species as the few fish in the bible that Jesus used to feed 5,000 people with five loaves bread.
Raising tilapia in the crystal clear waters in Idaho is an anomaly. The fish is considered an invasive species; they cannot survive in water below 70 degrees.
But if one could find a warm spring that runs at 85°F year-round, it would be a good match for the beefy fish that is growing in popularity on American dinner plates.
Sometimes referred to as aquatic chicken, they have large scales, are more meaty than trout and don’t have the fishy taste trout is known for. They also are not predators, but feed on algae and other aquatic plants.
Lambregts, who holds a Master’s degree in ag economics from Texas A&M, also owns a couple of trout farms in the Pocatello area.
This story is sponsored by Riverdale Resort.
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