Friday, September 9, 2016

Moccasin Creek Fish Hatchery Part 1

The reason for part 1 is that I gathered so much information that one post just will not cover it.

Like I said yesterday, I'm bored. With that in mind, I loaded my fly vest and my 6 wt with floating line with the intention, that if I found a place to fish, it would be fly rod all the way.

The other item on the agenda was to check out an RV dump in Angels Camp (never made it, but I can check that out another day) for future camping use. 

Heading out Highway 49, I stopped at the vista point at New Melones Reservoir just to see. It's sad is all I can say.

Lower than I've ever seen it.
To the left and "upstream".
I wanted to check out Moccasin Creek Hatchery and find out where they plant, when the plant. The DFW website has something called "map it" and it takes you to a Google Map kind of place. When they say they are planting Moccasin Creek, all you get is an arrow and the planting place could be anywhere in a 5 mile area along Moccasin Creek and out into Don Pedro Reservoir. More on this tomorrow.

It took me a couple hours (even with a map) to find the hatchery. It's actually fairly simple to find it, I just took a couple wrong turns, but find it I did. 

I checked in with the office and got permission to wander the place. I want to say right off that everyone I met there was extremely nice and extremely helpful.

I scared the hell out of the gentleman walking out the door,, but I'll get to that tomorrow.

I started toward the back and the place where the small one are hatched from eggs they get from other state hatcheries. Unfortunately the door I tried was locked. More on that later.

Nice looking Chevy truck there on the left.

The locked door
 A little explanation of the life of a trout in the hatchery. Make it bigger for a better look.

The right side of the picture above
A little explanation of the life of a trout in the wild for a comparison. Make it bigger for a better look.

The left side
Then I wandered over to the cement ponds (remember those from the Beverly Hillbillies?).

These looked like plantable fish.

Just babies
The brochure that I was given said that at 43 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit it takes approximately 14 months to produce a catchable half-pound Rainbow Trout. Here is a little more information from that brochure. During the course of the year, the hatchery personnel will feed the fish approximately 550,000 pounds of feed varying in size from powder to pellets.

All this time I thought that when fish were planted they were drugged so they didn't bite right away, but the hatchery says no, BUT it might be that the water in the trucks is cooled (with ice, yes ice) to a temperature of between 45 and 48 degrees. I'd be lethargic or worse if I spent any time in that cold of water.

One last item today, the brochure says that every couple years Moccasin is involved with stocking High Sierra lakes by airplane. I didn't know that still happened. Some lakes are planted with fingerling Rainbows and I'm sure that they also plant, in those High Sierra lakes, those beautiful______________________.

Stay tuned. 


  1. You're absolutely right about the staff being friendly and willing to answer questions, even suggest spots where one might find hatchery or even wild fish. Too bad the hatchery building was closed, it's pretty cool. BTW, many of the waters that Moccasin serves get Lahontan Cutthroat, and all are triploids. And, if you set aside any shame, the hatchery's namesake creek, right next door, can be a fun place to find some trout. Particularly in the fall, when browns wander up from the lake.

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  3. I posted something but I must have accidentally deleted it. I love going to hatcheries! I once spent a day helping feed the fish at Mt. Shavano hatchery. It was a really fun experience. I don't know why they wouldn't let me fish there after working.