Kern River Hatchery reopens to the public

Fish-hatching venue plans to raise and plant native rainbow trout within the local basin.

KERNVILLE—The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) announced Kern River Hatchery is open to the public, again. The re-opening of the hatchery coincides with the fish facility’s newly announced mission: raise native rainbow trout stocks, which would be planted through the Kern River Basin for anglers to catch.

Kern River Hatchery’s new infrastructure is designed, according to DFW staff, to “breed, rear and facilitate the planting of the Kern River rainbow trout.”

There are 12 subspecies of trout native to California, including the Kern River rainbow.

“The goal is to plant the native strain of trout instead of other domesticated strains of rainbow trout,” DFW staff said in a released statement. “The hatchery will continue to serve as a holding facility and planting base for rainbow trout reared in other hatcheries for stocking in waters from Bakersfield to the high Sierras as the new program progresses. The facility has been in operation since 1928.”

Kern River Hatchery struggled to maintain full operations each summer, due to warming water temperatures. State officials addressed this problem by resorting to groundwater for the hatchery’s water supply.

State officials added the new fish-hatching venue would allow for a native strand of rainbow trout to be raised at Kernville while also relying upon modern infrastructure year-round.

“The hatchery plays a key role in planting trout. Most of the rainbow trout planted, however, have been reared at other hatcheries and were not from strains of rainbows found in the Kern River Basin,” DFW staff stated. “New wells providing cool, year-round water along with the building of new facilities to hold broodstock, egg taking stations, an incubation area, deep tanks, chillers and raceways make it possible to start the new program using local native stock.”

Installed at the re-opened hatchery are four new deep tanks, which will allow for fish rearing.

“The goal is to capture 50 to 100 mature trout from the backcountry within the Sequoia National Forest,” CFW staff stated. “The trout will be transported to the Kern River Hatchery where genetic samples will be taken to match and define genetic pairing to produce the best offspring.”

Kern River Hatchery is open daily, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., to the public.

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