You may not know there are many salmon fish hatcheries throughout Washington State. Fish hatcheries here and across the country help manage and restore America’s fish populations. Supporting a variety of fish species and issues, including habitat conservation, endangered species recovery, tribal fishing rights, and recreation opportunities for anglers.
The National Fish Hatchery System (NFHS) is comprised of a network of 71 NFHS Hatcheries, ten of which are located in Washington State. The national hatcheries are focused on raising threatened species for restoration and recovery programs, as well as providing fish to benefit Tribes, federal water projects, scientific research, and other goals.
In Washington State, fish hatcheries typically raise freshwater trout, steelhead, and Pacific salmon, Coho (aka silver salmon), Chinook (King salmon), and Chum (“dog” salmon). Admission and self-guided tours at most hatcheries are free.
Be sure to check your destination website before you head out. Many sites are still closed and/or operating on short staff as off spring 2022. Hours may vary depending on staffing.
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King County fish hatcheries
Issaquah Salmon Hatchery
Nestled in the beautiful mountains of Issaquah, a quick drive up I-90 from Seattle, the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery makes a great getaway. Opened in 1936, this hatchery has been essential to restoring salmon to the area. Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery (FISH) have cultivated educational opportunities here. Not only will you see fish, you’ll also learn about how they impact the Puget Sound region. Chinook and Coho salmon species are raised here. The hatchery also highlights native plants, wetlands, and the Indigenous people of the area.
Issaquah Salmon Hatchery also participates in the annual Salmon Days Festival in October hosted by the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce. This two-day event every autumn celebrates the start of the spawning season. Games, a parade, carnival, concerts, food, and more are part of this fun family-friendly event.
Guided tours are available for $5 per person on weekends during the fall spawning season. Pre-registration is required at https://www.issaquahfish.org/2021-guided-tours/.
- Location: 125 W Sunset Way Issaquah, WA 98027
- Hours: Open weekends in the fall for guided tours only
- Parking: Free parking is available in two lots. Additional parking across the street next door to the library.
- Website: https://www.issaquahfish.org/
The Puyallup Fish Hatchery
The 80-acre setting of the Puyallup Fish Hatchery is a park-like destination a few blocks from the Puyallup fairgrounds. It’s a beautiful spot to visit, offering lots of open space and walking trails to enjoy. The Puyallup Hatchery opened in 1949 to supply trout to area lakes. Recently they’ve begun raising Coho and Chinook salmon. Local school children also take part in learning opportunities here.
An annual Salmon Homecoming is held each October. During the festival, enjoy events, educational programs, and opportunities to explore the watershed. Find out more about the current salmon numbers and local events on their Facebook page at Puyallup Historical Hatchery Foundation
- Location: 1416 14th Street SW.
- Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 am-5 pm
- Website: http://www.cityofpuyallup.org/1204/Fish-Hatchery
Other Western Washington fish hatcheries
The Stillaguamish Tribe operates the Harvey Creek Hatchery and the Brenner Creek Hatchery. Brenner Creek opened in 1923 as a private hatchery. Now members of the Stillaguamish tribe operate the hatcheries to raise Chinook salmon for release into the south fork of the river. Harvey Creek opened in 1977 and raises Coho, Chinook, and Chum salmon species. These fish are released into the north fork of the river. Both locations tag fish for easier tracking.
- Hours: Visitation by request
- Website: https://www.stillaguamish.com/natural-resources/fisheries-program/
Marblemount Fish Hatchery
While a smaller location, the Marblemount Fish Hatchery nestled in the beautiful Cascade mountains is worth a visit. There is a hiking trail to the river where you can watch salmon swim. It’s also an excellent spot for bird watching. Picnic tables and lots of walking trails make this a great getaway for a day trip.
- Hours: Spring 2022- Currently closed to the public
- Website: http://wildlifeviewingareas.com/viewing-area/marblemount-fish-hatchery/
Makah National Fish Hatchery
The Makah Fish Hatchery on the northwestern tip of the Washington peninsula raises Coho, Chinook, Chum, and Steelhead salmon species. Over 2 million fish per year come from this location alone! This is enough fish to supply local rivers and lakes as well as the annual catch by the Makah Tribe.
- Hours: Not listed
- Website: https://www.fws.gov/fish-hatchery/makah
Quinault National Fish Hatchery
Located 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean, the Quinault Fish Hatchery is a unique destination. Located near Olympic National Park, it’s one of the only hatcheries located in a rainforest. The hatchery is off of Cook Creek on Quinault tribal lands. Over 3 million fish are raised here annually. The fish are released into coastal streams in the surrounding area.
- Hours: Daily 8 am to 4 pm
- Website: https://www.fws.gov/Quinaultnfh/
Tumwater Falls Hatchery
Located at Brewery Park at Tumwater Falls (former site of the Olympia Brewing Company) the Tumwater Falls Hatchery recently underwent updates. these included larger rearing ponds, an extended fish ladder, and expanding production to more than 3 million Chinook salmon annually. Park visitors can come face-to-face with salmon through new fish-viewing windows in the holding ponds and ladder.
The hatchery exists to increase the number of Chinook, an important food source for southern resident Orca whales, as well as salmon to support commercial, recreational, and treaty fishing.
The 15-acre site is a very popular destination that includes walking and hiking trails, waterfalls, lots of wildlife, and easy access.
- Location: 114 Deschutes Way SW Tumwater, WA 98501
- Hours: Not listed
- Website: https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/management/hatcheries/facilities?county=45
Columbia River Gorge fish hatcheries
Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery
Established in 1901, Spring Creek is one of the first fish hatcheries in Washington State. The current location opened in 1972 with the help of the Army Corp of Engineers. Over 10 million salmon are released here annually. Visitors can come to explore the grounds and beautiful surroundings.
Note- The facility has been closing due to vandalism on nights and weekends. Verify hours before you go. Currently, only the salmon ladder and holding ponds are open for viewing. They provide excellent updates on availability on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/springcreeknfh
- Location: 61552 State Road 14 Underwood, WA 98651
- Hours: Monday-Friday, 7:30am – 4:00pm
- Website: https://fws.gov/fish-hatchery/spring-creek
Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery
Established in 1896, this is the oldest hatchery on the Columbia River. It has been instrumental in returning salmon to the area. Visitors are often treated to the sight of bald eagles fishing and sometimes nesting in the area. The area is also undergoing restoration of native oak trees, which in turn attract native plants and animals.
Their Facebook page provides updates on what current salmon numbers are like as well as any closures or schedule changes: https://www.facebook.com/LittleWhiteSalmonNFH/
- Location: 56961 WA-14, Cook, WA 98605
- Hours: Open daily from 7:30am – 4:00pm
- Website: https://www.fws.gov/fish-hatchery/little-white-salmon/visit-us/activities/hunting
Carson National Fish Hatchery
Carson National Fish Hatchery is a crucial hatchery for the Columbia River as well as for the Walla Walla River Basin. Over 3 million salmon are released annually from this location. The Carson Hatchery also provides educational opportunities for children and adults, including a free fishing day for kids every year.
Their Facebook page provides updates on what current salmon numbers are like as well as any closures or schedule changes: https://www.facebook.com/CarsonNationalFishHatchery/
- Location: 14041 Wind River Highway Carson, WA 98610
- Hours: Open daily from 7:30am – 4:00pm
- Website: https://fws.gov/fish-hatchery/carson
Willard National Fish Hatchery
An essential hatchery in the restoration of the Columbia Basin, this hatchery releases over one million Chinook salmon per year. Salmon are released into wild waters as well as Tribal lands. Located in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, visitors can also enjoy hiking and bird watching.
- Location: 5501B Cook-Underwood Road Cook, WA 98605
- Hours: Open daily from 7:30am – 3:30pm
- Website: https://fws.gov/fish-hatchery/willard
Eastern Washington fish hatcheries
Spokane Tribal Hatchery
The Spokane Tribal Hatchery raises the land-locked kokanee salmon (a type of sockeye). These salmon are released into area lakes. The Spokane Hatchery is a key part of the restoration and conservation efforts to bring back salmon to the eastern region of Washington State. Rainbow trout are also raised here and released into tribal lakes. Annual fishing derbies and a variety of educational and community events are held at the Spokane Hatchery.
- Location: 5629 Hatchery Rd, Ford, WA 99013. The entrance is located approximately one mile south on the Martha Boardman Road
- Hours: Open daily from 8:00am – 3:00pm
- Website: https://spokanetribe.com/resources/dnr/air-quality/fisheries-and-water-resource-division/spokane-tribal-hatchery/
Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery
Located along the beautiful Icicle creek, the Leavenworth area is a stunning location. Established in 1938, the hatchery was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places. At the Leavenworth Hatchery, you can see Chinook salmon. The hatchery also offers a variety of additional outdoor recreational activities. Check out the on-site nature tour, snowshoeing, and gardens. Each fall the two-day Wenatchee River Salmon Festival at the hatchery celebrates the fall return of the salmon.
- Location: 12790 Fish Hatchery Rd Leavenworth, WA 98826
- Hours: Open daily from 8:00am- 4:00pm
- Website: https://www.fws.gov/leavenworthfisheriescomplex/LeavenworthNFH/IndexLNFH.cfm
Winthrop National Fish Hatchery
Salmon coming to the Winthrop hatchery travel over 500 miles on their way to and from the ocean. The hatchery raises steelhead, Chinook, and Cho salmon for release into area locations. The surrounding area is beautiful to explore, including a hiking and biking trail.
- Location: 453 Twin Lakes Rd, Winthrop, WA 98862
- Hours: Open daily from 8:00am – 3:30pm
- Website: https://fws.gov/fish-hatchery/winthrop
Entiat National Fish Hatchery
The Entiat hatchery is a 37-acre location that has undergone a lot of change in its 80-year history. The hatchery plays a vital role in salmon management for the surrounding area. Reconstructed in the 70s, today the hatchery supports modern technologies. Photographers love this area with wide sweeping views and lots of wildlife.
- Location: 6970 Fish Hatcher Dr, Entiat, WA 98822
- Hours not listed
- Website: https://www.fws.gov/leavenworthfisheriescomplex/EntiatNFH/IndexENFH.cfm