Fish hatcheries draw me in like a moth to flame.
If I see one anywhere and there’s an opportunity, I stop by for a visit.
Having done much work with Sea Center Texas, a Texas Parks & Wildlife Department hatchery, I have a deep knowledge of what goes into producing fish that anglers get to enjoy down the line (literally).
Last week when I flew into Jackson Hole from the “Bighorn Bash” ceremony of the National Bighorn Sheep Center in Dubois, I planned to check out the city of Jackson before I flew out.
I saw the Jackson National Fish Hatchery on the way into town.
I was greeted by Paul Rousseau, Head of Fish Hatchery Tours and learned about their amazing work with the native Snake River Cutthroats.
Since getting deeply into flyfishing in 2019, I have done several media projects with the Western Native Trout Initiative and took an interest in cutthroats so this was a fun look at a variety I have not yet caught.
I have caught Yellowstone, and West Slope and a Greenback Cutthroat/Rainbow hybrid called a “Cutbo” but have a long way to go before catching them all.
Trout management is complex with so many different stockings with brown trout from Germany, rainbows’s range extended massively by stocking and ditto for brook trout.
I love the stocking of all of those species but it is important to give native trout equal love.
Any project centered on native cutthroats has my support so this was great to see.
Paul is a great educator and gave me during the limited time I had a great overview of the hatchery.
Plus, I found out they have a pond filled with cutthroats for public fishing opportunities and of course this was the one trip due to time constraints I did not bring a fly rod.
I won’t make that mistake again!
They are also doing some cutting-edge work on the tiny and endangered Kendall Warms Springs Dace that took a big hit with weather conditions in recent years.
They live in thermal pools and in temperatures that would kill trout.
I got to see some four-day-old Dace in a beaker.
If your’e in the Jackson area, stop by. It’s open year-round and don’t forget there’s a fishing pond.
Anglers can keep one fish per day but of course catch-and-release is the best option.
Education and fishing is a wonderful combo in my world so this place gets a big thumbs up.
I will definitely do a deeper article on their cutthroat work in the spring and maybe a podcast as well.
They are doing great work.
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