Platte River State Fish Hatchery
Overview: The Platte River State Fish Hatchery was established in 1928 as a satellite rearing station and converted to the state's main salmon hatchery in 1972. This facility raises coho and Chinook salmon and is the main egg take station for coho salmon in the Upper Great Lakes. In 2003, the facility went through a major renovation project that included replacement of the entire outside raceway complex, installation of a new effluent treatment system, and water flow monitoring systems installation. The interpretative facilities provide information on the importance of medium sized rivers to the Great Lakes, the salmon story, how watersheds work and how a hatchery operates.
Location:15210 US 31, Beulah, MI 49617.
Photo 1. Platte River State Fish Hatchery as seen in September 1998.
Driving Directions: The hatchery is approximately 4 miles east of Honor, MI in Benzie County on US 31.
Hatchery Manager: Aaron Switzer
Hatchery Biologist: Paul Stowe
Year Opened: 1928; Platte River Rearing Station
Year Rebuilt: 1968-72; Platte River State Fish Hatchery, Major Raceway Renovation in 2004
Renovation History: Originally in 1928, this facility was designed as a satellite rearing facility for trout that typically came from Harrietta State Fish Hatchery. Small trout were brought over in the spring from Harrietta State Fish Hatchery and were reared to stocking size. The hatchery was completely renovated between 1968 and1972. Situated on the Platte River, it is ideally suited to be the major salmon hatchery in the state. This river allows for the returning salmon spawning runs to come right to the main hatchery from Lake Michigan.
The hatchery went through a major renovation during 2003. The project included the complete replacement of the outside raceway complex, including complete raceway covers, installation of a state-of-the-art effluent treatment system, installing state-of-the-art aeration structures including liquid oxygen, and providing new water flow monitoring equipment. This hatchery is the last of the Department's facilities to construct outdoor raceway covers which reduce fish stress, reduce fish wastes and improve growth and condition.
Another major upgrade is the installation of a Great Lakes Ecological Information Center at this hatchery, which consist of a new information area in the existing interpretative room with new exhibits and a stream and hatchery interpretive trail. This center will focus on the interactions and connections between major Great Lakes tributaries and the Great Lakes, the salmon program and how a hatchery operates. An interactive computer with hands on learning opportunities concerning our watersheds and other aspects of fish culture is also available in the indoor interpretative room. The project is primarily funded by the Great Lakes Fishery Trust (www.glft.org) with some funding from the Department of Natural Resources.
Production Water: The hatchery uses primarily Brundage Creek and spring water from Brundage Spring. Platte River water has been used in the past but is not a desirable source due to temperature extremes, resident fish populations, and silt which collects in the rearing units. Since the 2003 renovation, Platte River water is only used as a back-up water supply. Water temperatures range between 32 degrees and 53 degrees F.
Hatchery Staffing: The hatchery is staffed by a Fish Hatchery Biologist, four Fisheries Technicians, two Fisheries Assistants (Seasonal), a Maintenance Mechanic, a Trades Helper and a Fish Transportation Fleet Mechanic. The Hatchery Manager, Maintenance Supervisor and Secretary all split their time among three hatcheries.
Broodstock: The Platte River is the source for wild coho salmon broodstock for the coho salmon programs in Michigan, Illinois and Indiana. The eggs and sperm are collected from previously stocked fish at the weir on the hatchery's grounds.
Management Role: This facility produces slightly more than half of the Chinook and all of the coho salmon for Michigan's Great Lakes waters.
Areas of Interest to the Public: The new interpretative facilities and trails, the new hatchery complex, lower weir harvest facility and the upper weir egg-take station will all be of interest to the public. The best times to see returning adult salmon in the Platte River are from mid September to late October at the lower weir (located off Lake Michigan Road 2 miles northwest of M-22) and late September to mid October at the upper weir located at the hatchery. The public is welcome to watch the egg take operations. Egg take operations generally happen the third week of October, but please call ahead to find out when egg takes will be conducted for sure.
Hatchery Hours: The hatchery grounds are open to the public at no charge from dawn to dusk. The hatchery is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information or to schedule group tours call Paul Stowe at 231-325-4611.
|Platte River State Fish Hatchery Production|
|Atlantic salmon - Landlocked||Fall Fingerlings||36,453|
|Atlantic salmon - Landlocked||Spring Yearlings||160,472|
|Chinook salmon - Michigan||Spring Fingerlings||956,071|
|Coho salmon - Michigan||Spring Yearlings||1,570,200|
|Walleye - Muskegon||Fry||1,304,800|
For detailed information of fish stocked, see the DNR's website at: michigandnr.com/fishstock/.
Fish Production, Stocking, Management and Research are supported by the Sportfish Restoration Act funding.