and Where to Visit...
Fish hatcheries are generally located in beautiful locations; the Willard
National Fish Hatchery is no exception. Visitors can enjoy a picnic at a peaceful
spot along the river; watch birds that include
ducks, geese, osprey, and eagles; and see salmon returning to the place of their
birth--in this case, to the hatcheries where they began their life two to five
For more details about activities at the hatcheries or to schedule a group tour,
please call the hatchery at 509-538-2305 or the Columbia Gorge Information and
Education Office at 509-493-2934.
As the weather warms up and wildflowers brighten the Gorge, spring
Chinook salmon return up the Columbia River, entering the Wind
River on their journey back to the Carson National Fish Hatchery.
Others swim up the Little White Salmon River through Drano
Lake to the Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery. Anglers
flock to the mouth of the Wind River and to Drano Lake to try
their luck at catching the 15 to 20 pound fish. All state fishing
regulations apply; check with the Washington State Department
of Fish and Wildlife for latest season information (360-902-2500
for latest updates or 306-902-2200 for general information).
During the summer, the hatcheries are good places to enjoy the park-like
settings and see wildlife along the nearby rivers. Picnic facilities
are available, and there are public restrooms and parking for cars
and recreational vehicles. There
are young salmon in raceways year-round at this facility.
As the summer ends in late August and early September, tule fall
Chinook salmon begin returning to Spring Creek Hatchery. Visitors
can pick up a brochure at the parking area and take a self-guided
tour through the hatchery or arrange group tours in advance. Each
September, on the second or third Saturday, Spring Creek holds an
Open House during which visitors can take hatchery tours, watch adult
salmon being spawned in the state-of-the-art spawning facility, enjoy
refreshments, and have fun with special activities for children.
Call the hatchery at 509-493-1730 for details.
The strong Gorge winds and sometimes-harsh weather provide a dramatic
setting for a visit to the hatcheries. January through early
April, millions of fall Chinook salmon are marked with an adipose
fin clip and coded wire tags before being released into the rivers
leading to the Pacific Ocean. Visitors are welcome to watch the
tagging inside the comfort of the trailers that are moved to
each hatchery during tagging season. Winters are also the best
time to watch the eagles soaring in the wind and at river's edge,
feeding on salmon carcasses returned to the river after the spawning