Since 1871 the National Fish Hatchery System has worked to restore aquatic species that are important to the health of our aquatic systems. This country-wide network of national fish hatcheries works with states and tribes to conserve, restore and enhance the fish and aquatic resources of America for future generations.
Quilcene National Fish Hatchery lies in a narrow valley on the east side of Washington's Olympic Peninsula. Operational since 1911, the hatchery rears and releases Coho Salmon to fulfill Tribal Trust Responsibilities and to enhance the local sport and commercial fishery. This hatchery is co-managed by the Port Gamble S' Klallam, Jamestown S, Klallam, Skokomish, Lower Elwha Klallam, and Suquamish Tribes.
What We Do
Quilcene National Fish Hatchery releases approximately 400,000 young coho salmon into the Big Quilcene River annually. This facility also provides approximately 200,000 coho salmon fry to the Skokomish tribal net pen in Quilcene Bay, and 600,000 developing eggs for the Port Gamble S'Klallam net pen program annually. The process of spawning adults, incubating eggs, rearing fry, marking and tagging fry, and releasing millions of fish each year requires dedicated year-round work from our hatchery staff, hatchery evaluation team, and fish health veterinarians. Please visit our Fish Production Cycle Page for a more detailed description of the work we do.
Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch): We release on station about 400,000 coho smolts (1.5 yr old ocean ready juveniles) into the Big Quilcene River every April. We also provide approximately 200,000 pre-smolts to the Skokomish tribal net pen in Quilcene Bay, and 450,000 developing eggs for the Port Gamble S'Klallam net pen program annually. Our coho salmon typically spend 1.5 years in the ocean before they migrate back to the hatchery (natal stream) starting in August. The adult fish are held in the raceways (concrete ponds) until the eggs in the females are mature enough for spawning (beginning of October).
Located in the beautiful Olympic Peninsula, Quilcene National Fish Hatchery is a popular tourist destination in the area. Our visitor room provides helpful and interesting information about our hatchery operations, the fish we rear, and their cultural relevancy.
There are no designated trails on the property, but you're welcome to walk around the facility to see the visitor center room fish ponds, fish ladder, fish weir, and the Big Quilcene river. We are open to self guided visitation on weekdays between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. We also offer limited guided tours which require appointments and are based on staff availability. Call (360) 765-3334 to schedule.
A public parking lot and fishing access trail are adjacent to the hatchery and downriver of the hatchery fish weir (concrete fish barrier).