The return of lake sturgeon to the Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery’s show pond after 40 years is just one of many reasons to visit the state-of-the art facility that’s a backbone of Wisconsin’s hatchery system.
“Wisconsin’s state fish hatcheries are a great place for people to see fish up close and to learn more about a key tool to help keep Wisconsin’s fishing great,” said Al Kaas, who leads the state Department of Natural Resources’ fish propagation system. “Our hatcheries have a range of activities and exhibits and they are a great place to visit when you’re in the neighborhood.”
The Wild Rose facility dates to about 1900. Five lake sturgeon were transferred earlier this month from tanks in the hatchery’s new coolwater building to the display pond in the hatchery’s historic viewing area.
The sturgeon were hatched in spring 2010, the first year the newly renovated coolwater hatchery was finished and operating. Because of fish health concerns, state regulations and other elements, hatchery staff delayed putting sturgeon in the display pond.
“With testing being done, regulations followed and approvals gotten, the sturgeon have a new home to enjoy for many years and generations to come,” said Randy Larson, the hatchery’s fish propagation supervisor.
Wisconsin is home to 17 hatcheries, rearing stations and egg collection facilities, 14 of which are currently open. The hatcheries produced more than 7.6 million fingerling-sized and larger fish for statewide stocking last year. A map showing where these facilities are located and links to web pages listing locations, hours and the kind of species and displays people will find is available on the DNR web site, dnr.wi.gov.
Wild Rose’s hatchery is located just north of Wild Rose on State Highway 22.