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NY DEC Watchable Wildlife

Outdoor Discovery

Salmon River Fish Hatchery
Description: Built in 1980 and located in the small village of Altmar, a few miles east of the Salmon River’s Lake Ontario outlet, the Salmon River Fish Hatchery offers visitors a close look at some of fishing’s most sought-after sport fish—salmon and trout. Learn about the life cycle of these prized game fish as they develop from tiny eggs and sac fry to adults ranging from 10 to more than 40 inches long!

Visitors during spawning seasons will witness one of nature’s most dramatic feats of strength and determination, as returning trout and salmon erupt from the swift current, making powerful leaps to traverse the hatchery’s fish ladder. Spawning season is late March to early April for steelhead, and October for salmon. Watch hatchery staff as they collect eggs from female fish and milt (sperm) from males to provide fish for the next rearing cycle. Each year, the hatchery produces more than 2 million fingerlings (young fish 3 to 5 inches long) and close to 1 million yearlings (fish one year old or older).

Wildlife to Watch: Four fish species can be seen at the hatchery: chinook and coho salmon, steelhead and brown trout. Chinook or king salmon is the largest salmon species in New York State. These big fish native to the Pacific Northwest can grow to more than 40 inches long and weigh more than 40 pounds. They were first stocked into Lake Ontario in 1873. Coho or silver salmon are the chinooks’ slightly smaller cousins and were also imported from the Pacific Northwest. Coho have been stocked in New York since the 1960s.

Steelhead are a migratory form of rainbow trout that spawn in tributaries and grow to large sizes in lakes. They are another fish introduced from the Pacific coast and have been stocked in New York since the 1870s. Brown trout were imported from Europe and have been stocked in New York since the 1880s. As their name implies, they are brown in color with black and often red spots on the sides.

Special Tips: 

Ownership: NYS Department of Environmental Conservation 
Size: 430 acres 
Closest Town: Altmar

RestroomsParkingHandicap Accessible

Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:

Catfish - Photo by Gerry Lemmo
Please see map link below

Driving Directions:
From I-81 north, take the exit for NY-104 east. Turn right onto NY-104 east. After 6 miles, turn left onto South Albion Rd. Turn right onto Co. Rte. 22; the hatchery is on the left.

From I-81 south, take exit 36 toward Pulaski. Turn left onto Co. Rte. 2/Richland Rd. After 3.2 miles, turn right onto Co. Rte. 48. Turn left onto Centerville Rd. Continue onto Bridge St./Co. Rt. 52. After 1.9 miles, turn left onto Co. Rte. 22.

Map Link

Salmon River Fish Hatchery : Wildlife Viewing Area