Fishing Report: William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery is integral for keeping lakes and streams stocked with catchable fish all around the state.
The hatchery is one of only two state sport fish hatcheries in Alaska with the other being the Ruth Burnett Sport Fish Hatchery in Fairbanks. At the William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery, their main goal is to raise fish so anglers from around the state can have an opportunity to catch fish for years to come, but that isn’t the only goal.
“It’s also an effort to reduce fishing pressure on wild stocked fisheries,” said ADFG Statewide Communications Coordinator Sports Fish Division Ryan Ragan. “The number of fish that we stock here on an annual basis from this facility alone is over 4 million fish and those fish, they can go basically all over the state.”
Not only does the hatchery stock lakes and help keep populations balanced, it also offers a place for people to learn about Alaskan fish species such as king salmon, Arctic char and rainbow trout that are being raised on site.
“We are seeing a lot of people from out of state which is great and our visitor numbers have been really high,” Hatchery Technician Grace Woyte said.
The visitor corridor is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday free of charge. There are QR codes throughout the corridor that act as a self-guided tour or you can book a guided tour by visiting this link.
A walk down the corridor gives you a taste of everything that goes on at the Hatchery from the incubation rooms where the eggs are incubated, to the tanks where the fish go from fry to full-grown catchable and stockable fish.
The incubation rooms can hold up to 4 million eggs, 80% of which will be hatched. According to Woyte, in the wild only about 2% of fish eggs make it to that stage.
“You know there’s that old saying it takes a village but I mean it truly is this facility is run by some amazing people who are all real passionate about what they do and to be a part of that is a really great inspiring thing,” Ragan said.
Ship Creek runs right outside of the hatchery and you can spot king salmon that will soon swim up a fish ladder to the raceways outside of the hatchery where they will be spawned by the staff.
One of the more interesting things is that the staff manipulates the light around the tanks of rainbow trout to make them think it is later in the year than it actually is. They do this so they are ready to spawn before the salmon, making it easier to focus on one fish species at a time.
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