The biological clock never ceases ticking, and all living things die. But that clock can be frozen, and decay ceased indefinitely. The implications to fish conservation are large.
Williams Creek National Fish Hatchery, situated amid the ponderosa pine-studded hills of the White Mountains of eastern Arizona, harbors gold: the only captive Apache trout brood stock in existence.
This hatchery, one of 70 other national fish hatcheries, turns 80 years old this year. It’s a product of the New Deal era – a hatchery built on Apache lands under the auspices of the White Mountain Apache Tribe for the express purpose of raising trout for fishing. Trout fishing, then as now, helps fuel a rural and tourism-based economy in the White Mountains.
Putting a road across a stream in Alaska is a lot like going on an adventure. Survival of road and traveler alike hinges on careful planning and weighing risks.
A rare trout makes its home in the upper reaches of the Gila River of New Mexico and Arizona. The Gila trout (Oncorhynchus gilae) is native only to small headwater streams where it was landlocked thousands of years ago from sea-run Oncorhynchus species.
The status of Gila trout improved from ‘endangered’ to ‘threatened’ in 2006, but they are still in a precarious situation.
For many, it was Saturday, June 9, at Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery, Texas. A first-ever event took place that involved 40 attendees and several hundred catfish.
The event was a pilot as one of Take Me Fishing’s First Catch Centers, bringing fishing and boating experiences and learning opportunities to new areas.
Attendees rotated through stations where they learned about fish habitat, knot tying, equipment rigging, fishing laws and ethics, and of course, they got to go fishing.
Jeff Conway, Inks Dam project leader said, "It was an amazing event and can you imagine, that the first fish you ever caught was a 3 pound catfish!"
George Brugnoli, Friends of the Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery, Chairman of the Fishing Sub-Committee said they were enthusiastic as they prepared for the event and ecstatic afterward. "Our instructors did a great job, support by the hatchery staff was exceptional and the joyful smiles on participant’s faces was more than sufficient reward. We look forward to making the next program even better."
Micheal Scherer, Fishing's Future commented, “This was one of the best “FIRST TIMER” EVENTS that I have attended with the First Catch pilot program. I DID NOTHING and that shows me they are ready to take this project on."
If you missed out on this First Catch Center event at Inks, another event is scheduled to take place in October.
Fish hatcheries across the country are taking a hands-on approach to recovering imperiled species that aren’t fish. Besides the snakes, here are a few non-fish species growing up alongside fish in hatcheries.
What's the best way to celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week (NFBW)? We think the best way is to get out on the water and enjoy a day of fishing and/or boating. Even better, introduce someone new to one of America's favorite outdoor pastimes.
Learn more about:
Which National Fish Hatcheries Have Public Fishing Access
Let's Go Fishing, Catch the Fun!
Fishing on National Wildlife Refuges
Find an Event
States with free fishing days
How to fish
The Genoa National Fish Hatchery's new Great River Road Interpretative Center held a ribbon cutting ceremony on June 1. The center focuses on the history and natural resources of the Upper Mississippi River, highlighting education of aquatic wildlife and the Battle of Bad Axe, the final battle of the Black Hawk War fought in 1832, which occurred just south of the hatchery.
The project is unique in that it was partially funded by a National Scenic Byways grant, which makes Genoa the first national fish hatchery to be awarded Department of Transportation, Federal Highway - National Scenic Byways funds.
It’s Great Outdoors Month, and the Fish and Aquatic Conservation Program would like to celebrate Denise Clay, Fish Biologist and Outreach Coordinator at the Lower Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, who was the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s recipient of the 2018 Legends Award established by the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. The Legends Award recognizes outstanding Federal employees for their contributions towards enhancing our Nation's outdoor recreation programs, connecting people – especially children – and the outdoors, through innovative programs and partnerships. Denise has shown tremendous passion for connecting people of all ages and backgrounds with nature. She has worked tirelessly to develop partnerships with others to help reach more youth and conduct conservation for the Great Lakes region. At last count she has worked with 50 different organizations to bring science and the outdoors to youth.
In 2017 Denise coordinated 43 programs, engaging with over 28,000 people in the western New York. One program Denise brought to a new level is Students, Nature, and Photography (SNAP!), reaching 1,270 students from grades 3-12. Students from Buffalo’s Riverside Academy recently featured their photography and inspiration in an art exhibit at Buffalo State College. For many, this was the first time they had been out in the woods, and they loved it.
If you are looking for a place to take mom fishing over Mother’s Day weekend, think about a National Fish Hatchery. Many of our hatcheries provide fishing opportunities and might be just a short drive away. While visiting you can relax, have a picnic, view fish and wildlife, take a tour, and maybe enjoy a walking, hiking or biking trail.
To see what is available at a hatchery near you, please visit their website or call ahead. Not all hatcheries will offer the same opportunities. A few examples include:
Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery
Dale Hollow hatchery, just off State Highway 53, has a nice creek located below it which is stocked every Friday with rainbow trout. The adjacent Obey River, known for its excellent rainbow and trout fishing, also is stocked with rainbow trout but in April, brown trout only. The hatchery offers a paved path along the creek, wheelchair accessible public fishing area, nature viewing, hatchery tours, and public restrooms. The adjoining Corps of Engineers campground provides full hook-ups for campers and easy access to both the Obey River and hatchery creek. There is also an annual Kids’ Fishing Rodeo, lots of fun for mom and kids.
Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery
Within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, the hatchery releases 1 million Spring Chinook in April and 4.5 million Fall Chinook in July. The fish make their way from the hatchery to the Columbia River by way of Drano Lake with access on adjacent hatchery property. A wheelchair accessible fishing ramp and platform provides enhanced fishing opportunities and a boat ramp provides easy access for launching into Drano Lake, where you can fish for Chinook, coho and steelhead. Public restrooms, picnic tables, wildlife viewing and an interpretative center are available.
Harrison Lake National Fish Hatchery
Charles City, Virginia
Harrison Lake provides anglers with a peaceful setting to try their luck on a variety of fish species: largemouth bass, black crappie, chain pickerel, bluegill, redear sunfish, warmouth, flier, and bowfin. There is a gravel boat ramp and a wheelchair accessible pier provided free of charge. The use of gasoline motors is not allowed unless they are 5-hp or less. Other recreational opportunities on the hatchery include hiking along two wooded nature trails, birding, wildlife watching, and picnic tables overlooking the lake. The hatchery sits on 444 acres and is adjacent to the Virginia Capital Trail, a 52-mile biking/hiking trail.Find a hatchery near you!
Lake sturgeon were presumed extirpated from most of the Great Lakes until recently. Scientists from the Shedd Aquarium and the Service’s Northeast Fishery Center and Lower Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office are using marine-animal monitoring technology and satellites to study their behavior and movement in Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and the Niagara River. Because sturgeon can reach over 7 feet in length and weigh more than 200 pounds, scientists are using technology ocean researchers use to collect information on dolphins, sharks and turtles. The collaboration that began in 2014 marks the first time Great Lakes sturgeon were studied using this technology known as pop-off satellite tags; learn about their results in the Journal of Great Lakes Research. Because sturgeon don’t reproduce until they are 10 to 20 years old, it will take them decades to recover after their numbers were so low 40 years ago. Over the past 4 years, Lower Great Lakes and Northeast Fishery Center have observed more sturgeon and documented spawning. In the coming year, they will look for juveniles to document evidence of new generations of sturgeon.