Since 1982, the Chehalis River Hatchery has been a Fisheries and Oceans operated facility.
Costing a total $6.5 million to build, this federally run facility uses modern fish culture techniques to enhance salmonid populations in the Harrison River system, including that of:
Depending on species, juvenile fish, called fry, are reared for two months to a year. They are released into the Chehalis and Harrison rivers where they migrate to the Fraser River and then to the Pacific Ocean. Again depending on species, they will spend up to four years in salt water and then return to the Chehalis River to spawn.
The hatchery provides a considerable year-round freshwater sport fishery with the production of coho, summer and fall chinook, summer and winter steelhead, and cutthroat trout. It also provides fishermen with daily information on local water conditions, access, angling success, and fish numbers. The saltwater commercial and sport fisheries benefit from the chinook, coho, and chum that are produced. In addition to fishermen, the facility is visited by hundreds of tourists, school children, and the general public for educational and recreational purposes.
The Chehalis River Hatchery is rearing trout for the Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery, which is run by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC. The adult trout are spawned at the Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery facility. These trout include rainbow, summer and winter steelhead, and cutthroat. Juvenile trout are transported using the society’s Live Trout tank trucks to the Chehalis River Hatchery where they are held for 6 months to 2 years. The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC then takes the rainbow trout and distributes them to approximately 20 lakes throughout the lower mainland. The cutthroat trout are taken to Weaver Creek, Harrison River and the remainder are released from the hatchery. All steelhead are released from the Chehalis Hatchery. This provincial fish-stocking program is crucial to the recreational fishing in the lower mainland.
The Chehalis First Nation and the Chehalis River Hatchery also work together. The Chehalis First Nation helps the hatchery with fry production and also harvest surplus returns of chum and coho that return to the hatchery.