The New York State Department of Conservation runs twelve fish hatcheries, or fish culture stations, across the state. In turn, these hatcheries raise and stock fish into more than 1,200 public waters.
Hatchery programs help improve recreational fishing and restore native fish populations. Doing their part to keep fishing in the Adirondacks a real experience for anglers today and in years to come!
The Adirondack Fish Hatchery is located at 103 Fish Hatchery Road in Saranac Inn. A quick 12-mile drive from downtown Saranac Lake, visitors are welcome to take free self-guided tours from April 1 to November 30, daily from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
There are a total of 16 ponds at this station. Each tank is about 30’ in diameter and holds 8,000 gallons of water. Four of the tanks house the brood stock — the fish used to produce the eggs for the next year’s stock, while the other 12 tanks hold the fingerlings that will be released in the spring.
On our visit, ponds 1-6 and 11-16 contained the approximately 22,000 yearlings that will be stocked out as 6-inch fingerlings. These tiny fish were in the roped-off section, and I am guessing nearly impossible to see at their current size. The salmon in ponds 7-10 were the 'brood stock' fish. Each hatchery specializes in one or more species. This station specializes in Landlocked Atlantic Salmon. At the hatchery, under carefully controlled conditions, the salmon are prepped to take on life in the wild.
Since I travel with two young children I am always looking for the 'hands-on' experience. A way for them to interact. So, a question I had was can you feed the fish? You sure can! Just make sure to pack some quarters. There is a pellet dispenser with plastic cups to fill. After a food pellet or two ripples through the water, it doesn't take long to see the salmon.
We found pond 9 to be the hot spot - not only the largest but the most active. They are really beautiful to watch; eloquent yet skittish, you realize it's a special opportunity to see them this close.
The Next Adventure
Nearby is the Cavu Cafe. Located within the Adirondack Regional Airport, this cafe is cool and casual - you are able watch planes take-off and land right from your table. The menu is traditional and the food is delicious.
Were you expecting a fish sandwich? I opted for a homemade black bean burger with coleslaw on top, rough cut and perfectly salted french fries, a classic hearty pickle, and an unsweetened ice tea with lemon. With chicken tenders and fresh chocolate chip cookies, it's also kid approved. Just what we needed before we head off onto our next adventure.