Welcome to Carson National Fish Hatchery! Constructed in 1938 by the Civilian Conservation Corp, we raise and release 1.52 million spring Chinook salmon each year to mitigate fishery losses due to hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River. Furthermore, we belong to a Complex of hatcheries along the Columbia River Gorge that partners with Tribes to contribute over 22.5 million salmon per year to mitigate fishery losses, restore fish populations, and provide Tribes with an important cultural resource - now that's a lot of fish.

Find out below how you can discover more about us, our work, visit our facility, get involved, and stay up to date on what's happening at the hatchery.
spring Chinook salmon adults
Adult Fish Returns

1,635 adult spring Chinook salmon have returned to the hatchery as of July 10, 2024.

About Us

The hatchery is located in a heavily forested valley within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest at the confluence of Tyee Creek and the Wind River. The hatchery sits on 20 acres of developed river-bottom at river mile 18 on the Wind River, which enters the Columbia River 155 miles upstream from the Pacific Ocean and 10 miles upstream of Bonneville Dam.

What We Do

Hatchery goals include conserving the Columbia River spring Chinook salmon upstream of Bonneville Dam. Our annual production goal is 1.52 million spring Chinook salmon. It also provides 250,000 spring Chinook eggs to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Lyons Ferry Fish Hatchery for the Touche River Program and up to 400,000 spring Chinook eggs to the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation Walla Walla Fish Hatchery Production Program for reintroduction into the Walla Walla River.

Our Organization

Juvenile Northern Pike in aquarium at Gavins Point National Fish Hatchery, South Dakota
The Fish and Aquatic Conservation program leads aquatic conservation efforts for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. We are committed to tackling the nation’s highest priority aquatic conservation and recreational challenges to conserve, restore, and enhance fisheries for future generations.

Our Species

We raise spring Chinook salmon! Chinook are the largest species, averaging 18-24 pounds. Chinook have small black spots on the back, dorsal fin, and tail fin. The gums at the base of the teeth are gray. Spring Chinook are smaller, slimmer, and not as brightly colored when spawning as fall Chinook. Spring Chinook salmon return in the spring of the year; but we hold them in our adult holding ponds until they are spawned in August. You can see adults in the holding ponds April - August.

Projects and Research

Carson National Fish Hatchery works in coalition with the Umatilla Indian Reservation to restore spring Chinook salmon populations above the Columbia River's McNary Dam. Every year, we load 250,000 young spring Chinook salmon into trucks and transport them to the South Fork Walla Walla River for release.

Visit Us

Where We're Located

Carson National Fish Hatchery is located about an hour and a half from the metro Portland/Vancouver area just north of the small town of Carson, Washington. We are in the heart of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, offering a multitude of outdoor recreational activities.

When To See The Fish

Our fish ladder opens in early May, offering great viewing of adult spring Chinook salmon May through August. Our other banks of raceways have juvenile salmon all year. We're open to the public Monday through Friday from 8:00 am - 3:30 pm. Tour groups of all size are welcome, please call the Hatchery at (509) 427-5905 if you like to schedule a tour. Fish hatcheries are generally located in beautiful locations and the Carson National Fish Hatchery is no exception. Come in for a visit and learn about salmon!

Get Involved

Whether you want to further conservation, learn more about nature or share your love of the outdoors, you’ve come to the right place. National fish hatcheries provide many opportunities for you to help your community and fish and wildlife by doing what you love. National fish hatcheries partner with volunteers, youth groups, landowners, neighbors and residents of both urban and rural communities to make a lasting difference. There are opportunities for everyone to get involved!

We enjoy having volunteers at our hatchery! We offer both daily and long-term opportunities. The hatcheries provide local individuals the opportunity to volunteer by assisting hatchery staff with special events, fish production, and light maintenance activities. All volunteers compliment our hatchery programs and offer valuable support. To volunteer, contact cheri_anderson@fws.gov, or call Cheri at (509) 493-1730.

Location and Contact Information