California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Mad River Fish Hatchery History

Construction started on the Mad River Fish Hatchery in 1969 and it was completed in 1971. The California Wildlife Conservation Board constructed the hatchery to increase salmon and steelhead populations. 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. Now the Hatchery is run by both the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and volunteers from the Friends of the Mad River Hatchery and only raises steelhead.