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One excursion that is sure to be a hit with children young and old is a visit to your local Idaho Fish and Game fish hatchery.
Fish and Game operates 19 fish hatcheries statewide. Visits are free, and there are numerous activities available at a hatchery to entertain the children while also teaching them the basics about fish life cycles.
Southeast Idaho residents are fortunate to have two hatcheries in their backyards – one in American Falls and one in Grace. For most folks here in southeast Idaho, driving to one of these hatcheries takes less than an hour. Both hatcheries are open seven days a week, and the staff is usually available from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. to answer questions.
Some of the activities available at the Grace Fish Hatchery include: taking a self-guided tour with educational kiosks, feeding the fish, or enjoying a “nature” walk around the site. There is also a shaded park area, which provides a great place for a picnic lunch with the family. Fishing at the hatchery is not permitted, except on Free Fishing Day when there is a fishing clinic for anglers age 14 and under and plenty of big “lunkers” to go around.
Similarly, at the American Falls Hatchery, visitors can enjoy self-guided tours, feeding fish and nature walks. In fact, the site is bordered by a nature trail and offers some wonderful birding opportunities. Fishing is not permitted at the hatchery, but anglers can park at the hatchery and get to some great year-round fishing on the Snake River.
The Grace Fish Hatchery produces rainbow trout, lake trout and cutthroat trout (the state fish), which are stocked into waters throughout the state from March through November. The hatchery at American Falls produces rainbow trout, brown trout, cutthroats, and rainbow/cutthroat hybrids, which are stocked from February through November. Visitors can see fish at the hatcheries 365 days a year, which means that any time is a good time to visit your local hatchery.
For anyone interested in visiting our hatcheries, the Grace Fish Hatchery is in Caribou County on State Highway 34, about 6 miles south of Grace. The hatchery has north and southbound signs that will easily direct visitors to the facility. The American Falls Hatchery is located in Power County just outside of American Falls. Just follow the signs on Highway 39 from the American Falls Dam. For maps or directions to your nearest hatchery, visit http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.
Group and school tours are available upon request. Contact the Grace Hatchery at 208-427-6364, or contact the American Falls Hatchery at 208-226-2015.
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