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History of Mad River Fish Hatchery

Steelhead Egg Fertilization at Mad River Hatchery
Steelhead Egg Fertilization at Mad River Hatchery

Construction started on the Mad River Fish Hatchery in 1969 and was completed in 1971. The California Wildlife Conservation Board funded the constructed of the Mad River Hatchery to increase Chinook salmon for commercial fisheries. One-half of the $2.5 million construction cost was reimbursed with funds by Federal Anadromous Fisheries.

For many years the hatchery raised salmon and steelhead from all over northern California. The hatchery also raised trout to be stocked in local lakes and lagoons, like Freshwater Lagoon, Ruth Lake, and Fish Lake.

In 2004, the Mad River Fish Hatchery was forced to close after 34 years of service due to the ongoing state budget crisis. With the help of the Friends of the Mad River Hatchery, Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, local businesses, community members and concerned students, the facility was able to re-open in 2005.



Fisheries Branch
830 S Street, Sacramento, CA 95811 | (916) 327-8840


Mad River Hatchery personnel and sign

1660 Hatchery Road, Arcata, CA 95521
Phone (707) 822-0592
madriver@wildlife.ca.gov