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Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

February 2001

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These salmon eggs will be mixed with milt. Fertilized eggs form fry that are stocked or raised in hatcheries. © Robert Queen

Visit a hatchery

Ready for an egg-strordinary experience?

These salmon eggs will be mixed with milt. Fertilized eggs form fry that are stocked or raised in hatcheries. © Robert Queen

Theresa Stabo


Wisconsin's fish hatcheries

More and more, teachers and after-school fishing clubs are learning that a trip to a hatchery can be a fun part of their aquatic studies. Moreover, we're making the hatcheries more fun to visit.

State fish hatcheries provide unique opportunities to see lots of fish at all stages in their life cycles, to learn where the fish are going, and to appreciate the limited role stocking plays in keeping fish populations healthy and productive.

Table of Contents

The Root River Steelhead Facility in Racine and the C.D. "Buzz" Besadny Anadromous Fisheries Facility in Kewaunee are egg collection facilities. Windows into streams allow visitors to watch fish spawning runs. At the Besadny Facility, naturalist Julie Hein-Frank developed a study guide so teachers can prepare students for their field trip. Hein-Frank meets the group at the facility, gives them a tour to explain how egg collection works, then takes them to the adjacent stream to scoop up invertebrates. Students get their hands wet conducting water quality tests. After the field experience, teachers get follow-up lessons back in the classroom.

Education was part of the renovation plan at the Spooner Hatchery, and when it reopened as the Gov. Tommy G. Thompson Hatchery in 1996, visitors were dazzled by a 24-foot mural created by artist Ruth King, a DNR nonpoint source pollution specialist. Other exhibits offer fishing tips, provide lessons on fish anatomy, and explain the hatchery workings. The Yellow River Flowage, which is a short walk from the front door, is part of a shoreline demonstration project. Shell Lake Elementary, Spooner Elementary and others in the community helped plant native shrubs and grasses.

As Madison bulges at its boundaries, the grounds at the Nevin Hatchery in Fitchburg will be increasingly important as an educational site and as urban green space.

All of our state hatcheries and egg collection sites are open for visitations. Visiting hours vary, but most are open at least weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for visits. Hatchery visits are more interesting during certain times of the year. Call ahead to plan your visit during a peak season and reserve time when a staff member can meet your group.

Theresa Stabo is the state's aquatic resources education director.


Wisconsin's fish hatcheries

Broodstock are adult fish that are kept at a hatchery so that their eggs (roe) and sperm (milt) can be collected to produce fertilized eggs for production needs.

At a spawning facility you can see eggs collected from fish.

At a fish hatchery you can see eggs hatch and fish of various stages of their life cycle at the right time of year.

At a rearing station you can see fish being raised, which were transferred to them from other hatcheries.

All state fish hatcheries are open for visitation. Call ahead to be sure that the hatchery you are interested in is at a point in its stocking schedule that there is something interesting to see.

Art Oehmcke Hatchery

  • Species: muskellunge, walleye, lake trout and suckers
  • Operations: hatching and rearing
  • Located at 8770 Hwy. H., two miles east of Woodruff, Oneida Co.
  • Telephone: (715) 358-9215

Bayfield Hatchery

  • Species: brook trout, brown trout, lake trout, steelhead (rainbow) , splake (brook trout/lake trout cross); coho and chinook salmon
  • Operations: broodstock, hatching and rearing
  • Located at 141 S. Third St., between Washburn and Bayfield, Bayfield Co.
  • Telephone: (715) 779-4021

Brule Rearing Station

  • Species: brook, brown and rainbow trout; and steelhead
  • Operations: rearing and spawning
  • Located at 13847 E. Hatchery Rd., south of Brule, Douglas Co.
  • Telephone: (715) 372-4820

Governor Tommy G. Thompson Hatchery

  • Species: muskellunge, walleye, northern pike and suckers
  • Operations: hatching and rearing
  • Located at 951 W. Maple St., on the west side of Spooner, Washburn Co.
  • Telephone: (715) 635-4147

Kettle Moraine Springs Hatchery

  • Species: steelhead (rainbow) trout and coho salmon
  • Operations: hatching and rearing
  • Located at N1929 Trout Spring Rd., in Adell near Cascade, Sheboygan Co.
  • Telephone: (920) 528-8825

Lake Mills Hatchery

  • Species: coho salmon; northern pike and walleye
  • Operations: hatching and rearing
  • Located at 302 S. Main St. in Lake Mills, Jefferson Co.
  • Telephone: (920) 648-8012

Lakewood Rearing Station

  • Species: brook and rainbow trout
  • Operations: rearing
  • Located at 14865 Hatchery Lane in Lakewood, Oconto Co.
  • Telephone: (715) 276-6066

Langlade Rearing Station

  • Species: brown trout
  • Operations: rearing
  • Located at Q1269 Fish Hatchery Rd., in White Lake east of the Wolf River, Langlade Co.
  • Telephone: (715) 882-8757

Nevin Hatchery

  • Species: brook, brown and rainbow trout
  • Operations: broodstock, hatching and rearing
  • Located at 3911 Fish Hatchery Rd., in Fitchburg, Dane Co.
  • Telephone: (608) 275-3246

Osceola Hatchery

  • Species: rainbow trout
  • Operation: broodstock, hatching and rearing
  • Located at 2517 90th Ave., in Osceola, Polk Co.
  • Telephone: (715) 294-2525

St. Croix Falls Hatchery

  • Species: brook and brown trout
  • Operations: broodstock, hatching and rearing
  • Located at 230 River St., in St. Croix Falls, Polk Co.
  • Telephone: (715) 483-3535

Thunder River Rearing Station

  • Species: spring/summer - brown trout; fall/winter - coho salmon
  • Operations: rearing
  • Located at W13562 Hatchery Rd., west of Crivitz, Marinette Co.
  • Telephone: (715) 757-3541

Westfield Hatchery

  • Species: chinook and coho salmon
  • Operations: Hatching and rearing
  • Located at 220 W. Pioneer Park Rd., in Westfield, Marquette County
  • Telephone: (608) 296-2343

Wild Rose Hatchery

  • Species: brown trout and chinook salmon; muskellunge, hybrid muskellunge, suckers, northern pike, walleye and lake sturgeon
  • Operations: broodstock, hatching and rearing
  • Located on Hwy. 22 N., in Wild Rose, Waushara Co.
  • Telephone: (920) 622-3527

Wisconsin's egg-taking sites

Strawberry Creek Spawning Facility

  • Species: chinook salmon
  • Located on Strawberry Lane off Hwy. U in Sturgeon Bay, Door Co.
  • Telephone: (920) 746-2860

C.D. Besadny Anadromous Fisheries Facility

  • Species: steelhead and brown trout, coho and chinook salmon
  • Located at 3884 Ransom Moore Lane, in Kewaunee, Kewaunee Co.
  • Telephone: (920) 388-1025

Root River Steelhead Facility

  • Species: steelhead (rainbow) trout, coho and chinook salmon
  • Located at 2399 Dominick Dr., in Racine, Racine Co.
  • Telephone: (262) 884-2300