Fish Hatchery Guided Tour
Something fishy is happening in Anchorage. In fact, it happens every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. (9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturdays). The William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery, located at 941 N. Reeve Boulevard, offers free fish hatchery tours to give you a peek into the life of chinook and coho salmon, Arctic char and rainbow trout.
Annually, over six million sport fish are cared for and released from the local facility. With 100 tanks, there’s a lot to see at this impressive facility. Tours are led by hatchery staff, and you’ll get the chance to follow the Ship Creek footpath to see exactly how the hatchery works. Prefer a self-guided approach? No reservations are necessary—simply stop by daily from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
One Fish, Two Fish
Overseen by the state’s Fish and Wildlife Department, the hatchery is relatively new. It opened in 2011, and the recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) is fully enclosed and kitted out with cutting-edge technology. Water conservation is a top priority, as is managing heating demands. The fingerlings are fish between one and two inches in length, while the smolts are 3 – 5 inches, and the catchables are 7 – 12 inches. They’re released into the Kodiak, Kenai, Seward, Homer, Anchorage, Talkeetna and Mat-Su areas.
Sport fishing in Alaska is big business, contributing more than $20 million per year to the state’s economy. At the hatchery, minimal stress is put on the fish as they’re encouraged from tank to tank. Releases take place from May – October, with “stocking runs” sometimes taking over 24 hours.
Come see this fishy business and learn more about one of Alaska’s biggest industries.