Public invited to tour Waterville State Fish Hatchery

Open house scheduled for afternoon of May 9

The Department of Natural Resources invites the public to tour the Waterville State Fish Hatchery ahead of the Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener.

The open house will take place Thursday, May 9 from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. at the hatchery located at 50317 Fish Hatchery Road in Waterville.

Staff will give tours of the facility and show incubating fish eggs and young fish at various growth stages. There will also be displays that feature sampling gear, nets, work boats and a live fish display. Attendees can also learn about the process of raising fish, from the netting of spawning fish to the rearing ponds.

“We are looking forward to having people come visit and experience the hatchery,” said Waterville area fisheries supervisor Craig Soupir. “Whether someone is an angler or not, there is always something interesting to see and learn.

“We produce several different fish species and various sizes of fish,” said Soupir. “Visitors will get to see some of those fish rearing activities first hand and we hope people will ask lots of questions so that we can make their visit a memorable and personal experience.”

Snacks and refreshments will be available for guests.

Opened in 1954, the hatchery is the state’s largest cool water facility. It incubates and raises various sizes of walleye, northern pike, muskellunge and channel catfish for the state’s fish stocking program.

Each year at Waterville, a total of 40 million walleye fry, 1.5 million northern pike fry, and 300,000 muskellunge fry are hatched. Larger sizes of fish raised at Waterville include 200,000 walleye small fingerlings (1 – 2 inch), 25,000 walleye large fingerlings (3 – 6 inch), 60,000 muskellunge small fingerlings (3 – 4 inch), 10,000 muskellunge large fingerlings (10 – 12 inch), and 20,000 catfish fingerlings (3 – 4 inch).

The DNR’s hatchery program is critical to our fisheries, especially in southern Minnesota. Without the hatcheries, many southern Minnesota lakes would be without the walleye and northern pike species that so many anglers prize.

The hatchery is located 2 miles west of Waterville off of Le Sueur County Road 14 at 50317 Fish Hatchery Road. For more information on the Waterville area fisheries office, or call the office during regular business hours at 507-362-4223.