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About the Hatchery

Located in Cook, Washington

Hatchery History...
The Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery was a pioneer in the fledgling science of salmon propagation when it began rearing salmon in 1896. During the past 122 years, the facility and propagation methods have changed dramatically and research is on-going. Today, more than 9.4 million young salmon are released into the river or transferred to other sites for release each year. The Little White Salmon River provides a cold, clean source of river water in which salmon are incubated and raised for 6 to 18 months.

Spring and Upriver Bright fall Chinook salmon produced at the Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery contribute significantly to the salmon population harvested by sport and tribal fisheries in the Columbia River, particularly in Drano Lake. The Visitor Center provides a "fish-eye" view in its underwater viewing room and a full view of spawning operations which run August through November. The Visitor Center also includes informative videos and displays on the hatchery system and local area history. There is an abundance of wildlife viewing, particularly during spawning season as eagles, gulls and bear feed on the dead salmon. Chinook can be seen spawning in the river below the hatchery, particularly in the fall. 

Reimbursable funds from other agencies account for the majority of Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery's operational budget with most of these funds coming from NOAA - Fisheries Mitchell Act appropriation. These funds reimburse the operating agencies (in this case the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) for fish production to mitigate for fish losses associated with the operation of hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River. Remaining reimbursable funds are for fish reared for specific programs such as the Bonneville Power Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers John Day mitigation program. Additional funds are received from the Service's deferred maintenance account to help correct maintenance deficiencies at both Little White and Willard NFH.


Last Updated: August 2, 2018
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