Clearwater Fish Hatchery
Sunday, February 14, 2016
The Clearwater Fish Hatchery and its four satellite facilities comprise the largest hatchery complex constructed by the Army Corp of Engineers under the Lower Snake River Compensation Plan. Construction began in 1986 with the Red River satellite facility and ended in 1991 with the completion of the main Clearwater Hatchery in Ahsahka, Idaho.
The main Clearwater Hatchery is located at Ahsahka, Idaho approximately 45 miles east of Lewiston, Idaho on highway 12. When you arrive at Orofino on highway 12, turn left across the bridge entering town, immediately turn left on highway 7 and travel approximately 4.5 miles, cross the bridge over the North fork of the Clearwater River and take an immediate left across the railroad tracks and into the entry of the Clearwater Hatchery.
The Red River facility is located near the Red River Ranger station approximately 15 miles east of Elk City, Idaho.
The Crooked River facility is located approximately 44 miles east of Grangeville, Idaho on highway 14. Crooked River fish trap is located approximately ¼ mile upstream of the mouth of Crooked River.
The Powell facility may be seen by driving on state highway 12 to approximately milepost 163.5 and then turning south on the Elk Summit road and travel two miles to the entryway sign of the Powell fish trap. The Lower Snake River Compensation Plan is a federal mitigation program created to provide mitigation for fish losses caused by the construction of the four lower Snake River dams. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game operates the hatchery with funding provided through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and Lower Snake River Compensation Plan office.
The Clearwater Hatchery receives its water through a uniquely designed pipeline. Two pipelines pass through 25 feet of solid concrete in the middle of the Dworshak Dam. Water is carried 1.8 miles downstream where energy is dissipated through a hydroelectric plant. The water then continues through the two separate pipelines delivering water of two different temperatures to the rearing facility. The delivery of two separate water temperatures allows Clearwater Hatchery to raise spring chinook salmon and summer steelhead trout at optimum rearing temperatures.
The main hatchery consists of two separate incubation facilities, 24 outdoor raceways for steelhead rearing, 11 outdoor raceways for chinook rearing, an adult holding and spawning area, residences for seven permanent employees, and an administration building and dormitory.
There are structures for adult trapping, holding and spawning at Red River, Crooked River and Powell satellite faculties. Each of these also have rearing and acclimation ponds for chinook salmon and steelhead.
The main Clearwater Hatchery and visitor center is open year round from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time daily. The satellite facilities are open for visitation from mid-May through October 1 while attendants are on the station. Group tours can be arranged by telephoning (208) 476-3331. Adult chinook salmon can be viewed at the main hatcheries and satellite facilities from early June through late August.
Our rainbow trout redistribution program stocks approximately 100,000 fish at 28 different sites in the Clearwater region throughout the summer for public fishing. Several of the sites are ponds that provide excellent fishing opportunities of families with children. A good example of this type of fishing water is Karolyn's Pond located at our Red River salmon trap near the Red River Ranger Station. Be sure to check out the Clearwater fish stocking and Family Fishing Waters sections of the IDFG website for recent fish stocking dates and other fishing opportunities.
Species that have been reared at Clearwater Hatchery are spring and summer Chinook salmon, summer steelhead, west slope cutthroat, rainbow trout, kokanee and coho salmon.