This history was compiled from annual reports of the Creston National Fish Hatchery by Wade Fredenberg, Fish Production Coordinator. Items in quotation marks are directly from the annual reports, with slight editing in a few cases for clarity or brevity.
The site for Creston National Fish hatchery was selected in 1935 by officials of the National Park Service (NPS) after consultation with the various authorities on fish propagation and extensive study and investigation of other possible alternative sites. In December of 1935 on option was taken on the Jessup Mill Property for the NPS by "interested friends of the agency." Legislation authorizing the purchase was initiated in Congress on Sept. 26, 1936 and on January 17, 1939 the deed was transferred from the Dakota and Great Northern Townsite Company ( a subsidiary of the Great Northern Railway) to the National Park Service.
Over the course of over a half-century the hatchery program has gone through several "eras" of change. From 1940-1954 the primary program was Yellowstone cutthroat trout broodstock development and production, with early emphasis on the stocking of waters in Glacier National Park. The Yellowstone cutthroat gave way to rainbow trout production in 1955, a program still in existence today. For a brief period (1967-1971) the primary emphasis shifted to broodstock development and production of native westslope cutthroat trout, but the program was not highly successful and was short-lived. In 1972, the emphasis shifted back to rainbow trout, and from 1972- 1992 the primary program was fish production for stocking on Montana's seven Indian Reservations. For a decade, between 1983 and 1992, the station was also involved in the maintenance of various broodstocks and the production of Eagle Lake rainbow trout eggs for export to other hatcheries. In 1993, another era was ushered in with the advent on mitigation for Hungry Horse Dam and the rearing of kokanee salmon for Flathead Lake.
In compiling this history I have attempted to glean a few of the more memorable "nuggets" form the pages of the annual reports, as well as provide the reader an insight to the evolving state of fisheries and fish hatchery management at the time. Any omissions or errors are my own.
Wade Fredenberg 7/17/1997
Last updated: June 28, 2012