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
Take a Nature Walk and Observe Wildlife
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.