Utah's Oldest Hatchery in Springville.

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Utah's Oldest Hatchery in Springville Still Producing Fish

For nearly a century, the Springville State Fish Hatchery has not only produced millions of fish for Utah's public waters but has also been a landmark and a place of destination in Utah County. The hatchery consists of two facilities on the east and west sides of Main Street. The west hatchery is located next to the Division of Wildlife Resources' Central Region office, 1115 N. Main St.

What's happening at the hatchery this year?
Springville's efforts in 2004 include stocking fish into almost 50 public waters throughout Utah. Just more than 50 percent of those waters are urban fisheries located mostly along the Wasatch Front. Springville also contributes to fish stocking in larger bodies of water, including Vernon, Tibble Fork, Deer Creek, Echo, East Canyon and Piute reservoirs, Panguitch, Silver, Puffer lakes and lakes on the Payson Mountains.
The hatchery you see today is not the same hatchery you may have visited in past years, even though the structures are the same. The east hatchery has been closed to visitors since 2001 in an effort to lower the risk of whirling disease contamination and the entrance of other invasive species and parasites that could force the hatchery to close.
The west hatchery is still open to visitors, but also faces the same risk and is slated for closure in the near future. Visitors are still welcome to visit the hatchery's visitor center, located in the red brick building across from the DWR's Central Region office.
Visitors can learn more about hatcheries and their role in Utah's aquatic program, along with viewing displays of fish feeding, egg development, fishing equipment, boy scout requirements and always a hit a large showcase aquarium full of big fish! The visitor center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

The hatchery's history dates back to the early 1900s, when only one fish hatchery existed in the state and the need for additional hatcheries was recognized. As Utah's State Game and Fish Commissioner noted in the Biennial Report of 1909, "In order that the people of the counties of the State might enjoy the benefits, recreation and pleasures of fishing in their neighboring streams, it became necessary to provide additional Hatcheries in the several localities favorable thereto. So, the legislature of 1909 directed the commissioner to establish three additional Hatcheries as follows: one at or near Springville, Utah County; one at or near Fish Lake, Sevier County, and one at or near Panguitch Lake, Garfield County. I accordingly built Springville first."
The original hatchery was built on the east side of Main St. between 1907 and 1908, and began producing fish in November 1909. Springville City transferred to the state of Utah a seven-acre tract of land on Spring Creek, about one mile north of the city on the line of the Denver and Rio Grand Railroad. The Fish and Game commissioner and chief warden did not consider this an ideal location, however. They went farther up the creek and found a more ideal, three-and-a-half-acre site, which contained several large, productive springs. These springs were used to operate a gristmill when the city was first settled and are the reason the city was named Springville.
The hatchery located on the west side of Main Street also utilizes these same springs. Formally known as the Springville National Fish Hatchery, it was owned and operated by the federal government. Due to budget cuts, the hatchery was transferred to the Division of Wildlife Resources in 1976, and now both hatcheries operate as one.
Jasper Bird of Provo was appointed the first superintendent on Nov. 20, 1909. Since that time, the Springville hatchery has had a total of six superintendents; Jasper Bird, William Witney, John Ford, Ern Underwood, Doug Robinson and, most recently, Richard Hartman. The past and present supervisors and their crews have and are still contributing to the success and pleasure of anglers throughout Utah.
The Springville hatchery currently has five full-time employees: Richard Hartman, Ben Giles, Morgan Williams, Dale Liechty and Karen Scott.

The hatchery today
The springs that flow into the "Mill Pond" remain intact and supply good quality water to the hatchery, with a temperature of about 58 F. This temperature allows fish to grow at an average of one inch per month. The springs have historically supplied an average of 7,630 gallons of water per minute but, because of the drought, the yearly average has dropped to an all time low of 4,488 gallons per minute. As expected, this directly affects hatchery production and stocking.
In its first year of production, records show the hatchery produced and stocked 2.5 million trout. Historic fish production records report the highest year in fish pounds produced at the hatchery was in 1982, with 220,000 pounds of fish produced. The highest number of fish produced was just over 24 million fish (mostly walleye fingerlings) in 1979.
Since its opening in 1909, the hatchery has raised or stocked rainbow, brook, brown and cutthroat trout; kokanee salmon; grayling; yellow perch; channel catfish; black bass; largemouth and smallmouth bass; crappie; bluegill; walleye; wipers; and June suckers.
With the continuing drought, Springville's production as fallen from a yearly average of 180,000 pounds to an average of 120,000 pounds of fish a year. Even with its age and the continuing drought, it remains one of the largest production hatcheries in the Division of Wildlife Resources' hatchery system.

Article provided by the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources

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