Quilcene National Fish Hatchery
Pacific Region

History of Quilcene NFH

Quilcene NFH was authorized by 35 Stat. 589 on June 29, 1909 of Commerce and Labor to establish "two or more fish cultural stations on Puget Sound, or its tributaries in the State of Washington, for the propagation of salmon and other food fishes”. The Act contains no specific language concerning the species the station was to rear or the specific waters to be stocked by the hatchery.

Originally constructed in 1911, Quilcene NFH has been expanded and improved many times. A century of continuous operation many species of fish have been raised at Quilcene NFH, including coho, chum, pink, Chinook, and sockeye salmon; and brook, cutthroat and rainbow trout. These fish were distributed into streams and rivers flowing into Hood Canal and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Early methods of fish culture were primitive. Hatchery workers would hang parts of horse or cow carcasses over the fish pond. Flies would lay eggs in the decaying flesh and the maggots would fall off into the water, feeding the fish.

Later, fish food was made right at the fish hatchery by grinding up fish carcasses and beef liver, adding salt and vitamins. Today, commercial fish food manufacturers prepare specialized products for different species and sizes of fish from fry to adult broodstock, loading the pellets with nutrients to ensure healthy fish stocks and a high survival rate. The food's quality is monitored both by the manufacturer and by U.S. Fish & Wildlife nutritionists.

The “Focus Report” shows a summary of the fish returns at Quilcene NFH. For information, look under "Hatcheries/Supplementation/Techniques"


Last updated: August 15, 2011
Quilcene National Fish Hatchery
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