William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – The William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery is essential to keeping lakes and streams filled with catchable fish throughout the state.

The hatchery is one of only two state sport fish hatcheries in Alaska, 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 that anglers across the state can have the opportunity to catch fish for years to come, but that’s not the only objective.

“It’s also an effort to reduce fishing pressure on wild fisheries,” said Ryan Ragan, statewide communications coordinator for the ADFG Sports Fish Division. “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 pretty much anywhere in the state.”

Not only does the hatchery stock lakes and help maintain balanced populations, it also provides a place where people can learn about Alaskan fish species such as king salmon, arctic char and rainbow trout which are farmed on site.

“We see a lot of people from out of state which is great and our visitor numbers have been really high,” said Grace Woyte, hatchery technician.

The visitor corridor is open free of charge from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday to Friday. There are QR codes all over the hall that act as a self-guided tour or you can book a guided tour by visiting this link.

A walk down the hall gives you a taste of everything that happens at the hatchery, from the hatching rooms where eggs are incubated, to the tanks where fish grow from fry to catchable and storable adult fish.

Incubation chambers can hold up to 4 million eggs, 80% of which will hatch. According to Woyte, in nature only about 2% of fish eggs reach this stage.

“You know there’s this old adage that it takes a village, but I mean it’s really this establishment that’s run by amazing people who are all really passionate about what they do and be a part of it. is a very good and inspiring thing,” Ragan said.

Ship Creek passes just outside the hatchery and you can spot king salmon soon coming up a fish ladder to the gutters outside the hatchery where they will be spawned by staff.

One of the coolest things is that the staff manipulate the light around the rainbow trout tanks to make them think it’s later in the year than it really is. They do this to be ready to spawn before the salmon, which makes it easier to focus on one species of fish at a time.

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