Winthrop National Fish Hatchery
Pacific Region

Visit Us!

The Hatchery now open

The hatchery has had significant renovations over the last year or so. The largest addition is a completely new holding facility for adult salmon and spawning building including a visitor viewing room to observe spawning operations and a salmon viewing window (below water level). Other modifications include a new pumphouse and pump to upgrade the main water supply to the adult holding facility; new entrance bridge to handle heavy trucks; rehabilitation of the hatchery electrical system, and a new computer based alarm system including security cameras.

The Yakama Nation also constructed an "isolation building" on the hatchery property for reconditioning wild summer steelhead adults that have already spawned once (kelts). This particular building will not be open to the public since it is critical to keep the fish quiet and calm during their reconditioning period. These important fish will be reconditioned through the summer months and returned to the Methow River near Pateros in the fall so they can have a chance at spawning again in the Methow Basin the following spring. The goal of this program is to increase the number of wild spawners in the Methow Basin by 10%. Many challenges exist in this program including the capture of kelts in the river system and determining the best fish culture techniques for reconditioning the fish at the facility.

Winthrop National Fish Hatchery, located along the Methow River, is a scenic place to have a picnic, watch wildlife, and learn about the salmon life cycle.  There are many activities to enjoy throughout the year, including a tour of the hatchery, feeding trout in the fishing pond, or attending our kids fishing day. It may surprise you to find that visiting a hatchery may be exciting, informative and beautiful. Below are some ideas to help you plan your trip.

Tour of the Hatchery

Staff at Winthrop National Fish Hatchery feeding fish - Photo: USFWS
Staff feeding fish at Winthrop NFH.

Visitors are always welcome to tour our beautiful hatchery in the north Cascade Mountains.

Our visitor center hours are from 8:00am to 4:00pm each day. The hatchery is closed on Christmas day. Public tours are self-guided. You can talk to our hatchery staff to learn more about what they do, learn about fish species raised, and see thousands of young salmon in raceways and ponds.

We are pleased to offer guided tours for larger groups who call at least two weeks in advance. Please call 509-996-2424 or email us with your request. Please include a date, time, number of people expected, and general age of participants (5th grade, family reunion, College biology students, retirement facility, etc.).  Tours are selected on a first come, first served basis.

Pets must be on a leash.

Kids Fishing Day

A boy holding his fish in a net at the Winthrop National Fish Hatchery Kids Fishing Day event - Photo: USFWS
A boy holding a fish in a net that he caught at the kids fishing day event.

Every summer we host the very popular Kids Fishing Day . This event is held on the second Saturday in June. Across the country, fishing day events celebrate National Boating and Fishing Week with opportunities for young anglers to catch fish and learn about one of America's favorite recreational past times. Families come to the hatchery between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm to enjoy fishing for rainbow trout and learn about nature. We set up a Passport to Fishing program where kids visit individual learning stations teaching them about fish habitat, fishing and boating safety, and more. Bring your own pole if you have one, or borrow one of the rod and reel sets we have available. Fishing Day has a one fish limit for each young child. Call us at 509-996-2424 for more information.

A local girls' soccer team will provide a concession, so you may enjoy a picnic lunch while supporting a local non-profit with your family.

Take a Nature Walk and Observe Wildlife

Duck swimming in the trout pond at Winthrop National Fish Hatchery - Photo: USFWS
Duck in the trout pond at Winthrop NFH.
Walk along Methow River, around the pond, or throughout the grounds of the hatchery. Here you can enjoy bird watching, wildlife viewing, and scenic landscapes of the Cascade Mountains. Take a walk along the river’s edge and watch for fish swimming in the river.

Other Area Sites

Check in with the Forest Service’s Methow Valley Ranger Station in town and get maps of trails and roads to tour. Several campgrounds are available in the area including Pearrygin Lake State Park. Swim or enjoy water sports in the Methow River, Patterson Lake, and Pearrygin Lake.  Enjoy fresh summertime fruit from local fruit stands along Hwy 20. Check out the fishing opportunities and regulations at the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife website.

Link up on the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce for more information.


Chinook Salmon - Photo: USFWS
Chinook Salmon

Coho Salmon - Photo: NMFS Northwest Fisheries Science Center
Coho Salmon
NMFS Northwest Fisheries Science Center
Steelhead Trout- Photo: USFWS
Steelhead Trout
Rainbow Trout - Photo: USFWS
Rainbow Trout
Pacific Lamprey - Photo: USFWS
Pacific Lamprey
Bull Trout - Photo: USFWS
Bull Trout
Aquatic Invasive Species Zebra Mussels - Photo: USGS
Aquatic Invasive
Species (AIS)
Zebra Mussels

Last updated: March 25, 2013
Winthrop National Fish Hatchery
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