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Although most hatchery lands and outdoor spaces have remained open for the public to enjoy, we ask that you do the following if you visit one of our facilities:

  • • Check local conditions on this website and call ahead for current information. Operations vary based on local public health conditions.
  • Face masks are required in all federal buildings and on all federal lands.
  • • Maintain a safe distance between yourself and other groups.
  • • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
  • • Most importantly, stay home if you feel sick.

Learn more about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Coronavirus Response.

Carson National Fish Hatchery is currently closed to the public. Please call the hatchery directly at 509-427-5905 for further information.

hatchery highlights and Features

  • Fishing at your Fingertips!

    adult salmon jumping

    All you need to know for fishing can be found on the new Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's Mobile Fishing app. Fish Washington puts up-to-the-minute fishing regulations at your fingertips!

  • Hatchery Release...


    We released our spring Chinook salmon into the Wind River on April 10, 2020. Despite closures due to COVID-19 you can still enjoy a drive in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

  • Learn About Our Hatcheries...

    The Gorge facilities were highlighted in a recent Outdoor GPS segment. Take a look here to learn more about National Fish Hatcheries and where salmon come from!

what's happening at the hatchery

What's Hatchin'...

Please recreate responsibly, maintain social distance and wear a mask!

**If you have a wildlife issue please contact the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife at (509) 575-2740; or their Dispatch at (509) 283-7803.

Winter is a season of transition at Carson NFH. The eggs we collected last August have hatched and are now “buttoned up” which means that their yolk sac has been absorbed and the fry are ready for stocking. At this stage, the fry look like tiny versions of their adult counterparts and are ready for external feeding. This marks the start of fry season. We stock the young fry into raceways in January and take care of them by feeding them, picking morts (dead fry) and cleaning their raceways until they are big enough for marking in May.

Meanwhile we also have the 1.4 million salmon from Brood Year 2019 to take care of. These fish are one year older and are now starting to smolt in preparation of their journey to the ocean and life in salt water. This process occurs over several months. It starts during the winter, so they are ready to head to the sea when we release them into the Wind River in early April. There, they will try to avoid predators as they feed and grow until they return to the hatchery as adults two years later.

Recent Carson NFH Fish Returns

As of September 01, 2020, 743 adult Spring Chinook Salmon have returned to the hatchery.

Ten-Year Return/Release Information

Last Updated: February 18, 2021

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These fish were raised at Quilcene National Fish Hatchery. While we don't raise coho salmon at Carson NFH, the egg-to-fry hatch for our spring Chinook salmon is similar. Credit: Florian Graner

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