WYOMING – Fish think growing up in the coldest and cleanest mountain waters beats the human conveniences of smooth roads and cell phone service, and we can’t disagree. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department hatchery locations were chosen because of one main reason – water.
“Trout need a good, clean spring water source,” said Guy Campbell, Game and Fish culture supervisor. “Spring water sources, like the ones where our hatcheries are located, are a reliable water source that generally don’t carry pathogens that are harmful to fish health.”
Being a headwaters state with good mountain snowpacks means Wyoming is an excellent place for growing trout. The melt-off is often referred to as “recharging the spring.”
“The number of fish you can raise is primarily based on the amount of water you have. Lots of clean, fresh water helps hatcheries meet the quotas and stocking plans for fish each year,” he said.
There are other reasons for these off-the-beaten-path locations.
Water temperature for trout makes a difference, too. Water temperatures in hatcheries and rearing stations are a cool 46 to 60 degrees. This makes a big difference in a place like Story Hatchery, the only location in the United States with a captive broodstock of genetically pure golden trout. Golden trout flourish there because of the unique water temperature profile that closely mimics the seasonal water temperatures they would normally find in high mountain lakes.
In fact, all native trout grow up well in places similar to their typical ranges. For example, Auburn Hatchery raises a Snake River cutthroat brood stock and Daniel Hatchery is home to a Colorado River cutthroat, both of which have similar environments to their home ranges.
Another great benefit? Visitors can stop by all the hatcheries while traveling through the Cowboy State. Hatchery visits guarantee amazing scenery and a healthy serving of knowledge. Hatchery staff welcomes visitors who want to tour hatcheries.
Daniel Hatchery (with fishing access) is located at 239 Pape County Road, Daniel, Wyoming 83115. For more information, call 307 859-8252. Located 15 miles northwest of Pinedale on U.S. 191, and 2.4 miles west on Sublette County Road 23-150 (Pape Road).
With two springs supplying approximately 2 million gallons of water a day to the hatchery at an average temperature of 46° F, the Daniel facility performs the important function of incubating and rearing various species of trout which include; brook, brown, cutthroat, golden and lake trout as well as splake, tiger trout and kokanee salmon. Colorado River CutthroatThe Daniel Fish Hatchery participates in the statewide high mountain lake stocking program, Kokanee salmon and Golden trout programs. In addition to incubation and rearing, the Daniel Hatchery provides spawning, egg incubation, and rearing for one of Wyoming's native populations of cutthroat trout, the Colorado River cutthroat. Offspring from these broods are used for restoration efforts as well as for stocking in fishing waters throughout the state. Although it can vary from year to year, the hatchery produces approximately 500,000-750,000 fish annually.
Another function provided by the hatchery is due to Daniels' cold water. Hatchery personnel are able to hold back, or slow, the growth of fish. They use this technique to provide small fish for helicopter, horse packing, backpacking and ATV stocking. Three dedicated Department personnel are stationed at the Daniel Hatchery and are responsible for the egg care, incubation, fish rearing, stocking, maintenance and operation of the facility, on a year-round basis.
One natural spring and one pumped well source provide a constant supply of cold water needed for a successful fish hatchery. Water flowing from the spring fluctuates from a low of 250 gallons per minute (gpm) in March to a high of 600 gpm in July. Water from the pumped well source provides 1400 gpm. During these peak months these sources provide approximately 2.0 million gallons of water a day at an average temperature of 46°F. After passing over the fish, the water is released to Forty Rod Creek.
Hatchery locations and details about their history are on the Game and Fish website.