Modern Makeover for Wild Rose Fish Hatchery
Written by WBAY-TV   
Tuesday, 01 August 2006 15:08

For nearly a century it's produced millions and millions of fish for Wisconsin anglers to catch. Now the Wild Rose Fish Hatchery in Waushara County is getting a major facelift.

The Wild Rose hatchery is the workhorse of Wisconsin's fish stocking program. "Even though the department operates 13 hatcheries around the state, Wild Rose produces over 30 percent of all the trout and salmon the state stocks," hatchery supervisor Steve Fajfer says.

After 97 years, time has taken a toll on the facility. This summer, the Department of Natural Resources is spending $16 million to build a new cold water hatchery for trout and salmon.

The two-year project is paid for mostly by license fees and paper company settlements.

The thousands of tourists who visit every year will see two new buildings, raceway pavilions, and a visitor center.

The hatchery supervisor says the total cost is a small investment in the State's two-billion dollar a year fishing industry.

"I remember fishing with my grandfather on Lake Michigan for hours and not catching anything because there was nothing but alewife, and now to see the fishery turn around the way it has, it's amazed me," says Fajfer.

Fajfer says the renovation will allow Wild Rose to produce more fish and meet modern environmental standards.

The new facility will open in the spring of 2008. After that, there will be a second $16 million project to build a cool water hatchery for musky, walleye, lake sturgeon, and northern pike.

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