Jordan River National Fish Hatchery…Come Experience it For Yourself!
BY ROGER GORDON, JORDAN RIVER NFH
River NFH. Credit: USFWS
Curious travelers within Michigan’s Northwestern Lower Peninsula just may be lucky enough to find one of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s least known assets. Located in a quiet corner of rural Antrim County, Michigan, Jordan River National Fish Hatchery (NFH) is composed of 116 acres or forested uplands nestled deep in the river valley of the beautiful Jordan River. Surrounded by thousands of acres of State forests and bordering the clear cold waters of its namesake stream, Jordan River NFH has long been a four season destination of nature enthusiast of all kinds. Authorized for creation in 1961 as part of a multi-faceted approach to restoration of lake trout in the Great Lakes, Jordan River NFH first began releasing fish in 1965. Over the past 47 years the hatchery has produced in excess of 140 million lake trout for restoration in lakes Superior, Huron and Michigan. With an annual production of over three million fingerling and yearling trout, Jordan River is the largest National Fish Hatchery in the Midwest, with production exceeding 166,500 pounds per year.
at Jordan River NFH. Credit: USFWS
a hard time just hoisting their own catch!
While producing millions of lake trout for restoration in the Great Lakes is the main focus of the facility, it is not the only thing that visitors can experience during their visit. Jordan River NFH is home of a very active citizen Friends Group. This group assists station personnel with a wide variety of day to day tasks, activities, and programs. By far the most popular with the public is the “Baby Brookies” children’s fishing program. This activity, sponsored by Friends donations, grants, and cooperator assistance, produces 5,000 trophy sized brook trout to be used in children’s fishing activities throughout the State of Michigan. Currently the program services more than six off station outreach events supporting Youth in the Great Outdoors initiatives. Area primary and secondary school students assist station personnel and Friends volunteers with culture (raising) of these highly sought after fish on the station for up to three years, before donating the brook trout to cooperating non-profit groups for use in children’s fishing events. This popular program annually provides thousands of youth and their families the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors in a free, safe, and rewarding fashion.
the natural beauty of the North Country Trail
and Hatchery Explorer Trails. Credit: USFWS
Another popular offering at Jordan River NFH is our close proximity to the nationally known North Country Trail. This trail, which meanders across the northern tier of states from North Dakota to New York hosts thousands of hikers annually. Through the close relationship of the hatchery’s Friends organization and the Jordan Valley Chapter of the North Country Trail Association, hatchery sponsored volunteers maintain over three miles of picturesque trail adjacent to the hatchery. For those less adventurous visitors the hatchery maintains .7 miles of hiking trails on the facility grounds. These accessible trails offer a four season experience to visitors with spring ephemeral flowers, summer birding opportunities, fall hunting and fishing access, and winter snowshoeing.
So if your reason to visit is to learn more about fishery restoration projects on the Great Lakes, see and feed the “Baby Brookies”, or enjoy the multi-use facilities that the Jordan River NFH provides, we are sure you will have a great time in our beautiful valley.
climb the Hatchery Overlook Trail at Jordan River NFH! Credit: USFWS