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Trout industry pioneers: Founders of Idaho Trout Company pioneer thriving Idaho trout industry, company now one of most successful in the nation

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

During one of Idaho’s coldest winters on record, Earl Hardy and Alfred Iverson hatched the Rainbow Trout Farms’ first trout eggs in a tent on an icy river north of Buhl, Idaho. 

More than 80 years later, Earl and Alfred are considered pioneers of the thriving rainbow trout industry in the state of Idaho. Their company, Rainbow Trout Farms, was the stepping stone for today’s Idaho Trout Company – made up of several sister companies including Rim View Trout, Rainbow Trout Farms and Clear Lakes Trout Farm.

Altogether, the processing company boasts six state-of-the-art facilities sprinkled along southern Idaho’s Snake River Canyon, as well as the largest selection of available fresh and frozen trout in the industry.  

Idaho Trout Company

Established on March 2, 1959, the Idaho Trout Company oversees several aquaculture farms and two processing facilities. 

According to the company’s website, “The aquifer-generated, clear, refreshing spring water in the area makes for an ideal location for raising rainbow trout.”

The website notes in 1964, when increased production outgrew the original processing plant, a new plant was built in Filer, Idaho. 

“With the addition of machines specifically designed for rainbow trout, as well as modern renovations, the current processing capacity of the plant is 30,000 pounds per day,” reads the website.

In 1966, the Idaho Trout Company built a second plant at Clear Lakes Trout Farm north of Buhl, Idaho that is larger than the first. 

Today, both plants are fully automated and market fresh and frozen, Idaho-raised rainbow trout across the U.S. and Canada. 


One of the most important goals of the Idaho Trout Company is sustainability.

In fact, according to their website, the company is dedicated to providing wholesome, high-quality, sustainable, fresh and frozen farm-raised rainbow trout.

“Farmed rainbow trout is considered ‘Best Choice’ for sustainability by the Monterey Bay Aquarium sustainability ratings,” states the company’s website. “Idaho trout are raised in the fresh, pristine spring water of the Snake River Aquifer. No energy, other than gravity, moves the water through the hatcheries – water is never pumped or re-circulated.” 

Recycling is also company policy. The Idaho Trout Company recycles cardboard from processing plants as well as wood and metal from farming operations. They also purchase packaging and office supplies containing recycled content. 

“Trout byproducts from the processing plants are converted into fish oil and natural, organic fertilizer products. This recycling process eliminates nearly all waste,” reads the website. “Likewise, unusable fish from the farms are also converted into oil and fertilizer.”

Composting has become an expanding part of the production of the Idaho Trout Company’s natural dry fertilizer products as well. 

“Conservation is essential, not only for the environment, but also for the success of the Idaho Trout Company,” states the website. “We are proud to be good stewards of our environment and our natural resources. We work to leave our planet better for our grandchildren and their grandchildren than when we found it.” 

Available products

The Idaho Trout Company offers one of the largest selections of fresh and frozen trout in the industry.

In fact, customers have the opportunity to choose from traditional white-meat rainbow trout, red-meat rainbow trout and golden-skinned, red-meat rainbow trout. 

Products available include trout that is dressed, boned, boned with the head off, boned with the pin bone removed, boned with the head off and the pin bone removed, natural filet, natural filet with the pin bone removed, skinless filet, butterfly filet and butterfly filet with the pin bone removed.

For more information, visit

Hannah Bugas is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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