Harrietta State Fish Hatchery

Overview: Harrietta State Fish Hatchery is State of Michigan's oldest operating state hatchery and was first opened in 1901. It is a major rearing facility for rainbow (mostly for inland waters) and brown trout (both inland and Great Lakes waters). The current facility was completely renovated in 1979 with minor improvements made in 1994 and 1999. The current rearing facility uses only well water and has both indoor and outdoor rearing facilities. The facility also has an interpretative area providing information on how watersheds work and how a hatchery operates.

Location: 6801 West 30 Road, Harrietta, MI 49638



Photo of Harrietta State Fish Hatchery



Photo 1. Harrietta State Fish Hatchery



Driving Directions: The hatchery is located on 30 Road about 18 miles west of Cadillac, MI and 1 mile west of Harrietta, MI.

From Cadillac: Take M 115 north to the road to Boon (No. 34 Road) and follow main road to hatchery through Boon and Harrietta.

From Mesick: Take M 37 south to No. 30 Road then go east to the hatchery (about 2.5 miles).

We are located a short drive from Mitchell State Park and Caberfae Ski Area as well as some of Michigan's best trout waters such as Pine River, Manistee River, Pere Marquette River and many smaller high quality streams.


map of Harrietta State Fish Hatchery location


Telephone: 231-389-2211

Hatchery Manager: Aaron Switzer

Hatchery Biologist: Jon Jackoviak

Year Opened: Originally opened in 1901; rededicated after renovations in 1979.


Photo of Harrietta State Fish Hatchery Upper Unit taken about 1920.

Photo 2. Harrietta State Fish Hatchery Upper Unit taken about 1920.


Photo: Harrietta State Fish Hatchery main hatchery building in 1928

Photo 3. Harrietta State Fish Hatchery main hatchery building in 1928.


Renovation History: Harrietta State Fish Hatchery was re-opened in 1979 after undergoing a total renovation. The major change in the facility was the switch from using a combination of springs and surface water (Slagle Creek) to only well water. A few of the springs are currently piped in for use in the outdoor raceways but do not contribute to flow significantly. The switch to well water also made it necessary to design a degassing and aeration system as the well water comes out of the ground with virtually no dissolved oxygen and supersaturated with nitrogen.


Harrietta State Fish Hatchery aerial view taken in 1978

Photo 4. Harrietta State Fish Hatchery aerial view taken in 1978.


Since 1979, the only major construction activities that have taken place was the building of covers over the raceways, which was completed in 1994 and effluent pond improvements, which were completed in 1999.


Photo of effluent pond

Photo 5. Harrietta State Fish Hatchery showing upgraded effluent pond, taken in 2008.


The outdoor raceway covers keep predators (great blue herons, possums, raccoons, mink, etc.) out of the raceways, which reduces the chances of infectious disease outbreaks. They keep fish out of direct sunlight which reduces stress, improves fish quality and decreases fish wastes by improving food use. Direct exposure to ultraviolet radiation has been proven to cause cataracts in rainbow trout which clearly reduce their ability to survive in our waters. The raceway covers minimize cataract incidence.

As part of the present capitol outlay project to upgrade Michigan's hatcheries, the effluent treatment pond was dredged and lined with sheet piling. This greatly improved our wastewater treatment by increasing settling time and will reduce discharges of phosphorus from this site to Slagle Creek.

The new Great Lakes Ecological Information Center at this hatchery will provide new watershed and hatchery information to you. This consists of a new interpretative area, new indoor and outdoor exhibits, and a stream interpretative trail. The interpretative focus will be on the role of headwater streams in Great Lakes watersheds and how the hatchery operates. The project was primarily funded by the Great Lakes Fishery Trust (www.glft.org) with some funding from the Department of Natural Resources.

Photo of interpretative gazebo and trail

Photo 6. Interpretative Gazebo and trail.


Production water:The water supply for this facility is well water from four 16-inch wells. Depending on the time of year the water flow ranges between 2.7 million and 5.0 million gallons per day. Water temperature is constant year round at 46.0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hatchery Staffing: This facility is staffed with 1 Hatchery Biologist, 3 Fisheries Technicians, 1 Maintenance Mechanic and 1 Trades Helper. The Hatchery Manager, Maintenance Supervisor and Secretary all split their time among three facilities.

Broodstock: Broodstock are fish held in captivity to allow us to easily obtain eggs and sperm. No broodstock are maintained at this hatchery. All eggs for production rearing at Harrietta are currently obtained from Oden State Fish Hatchery near.

Management Role: This facility produces brown and rainbow trout for both inland and Great Lakes waters.

Areas of interest to the public: Harrietta State Fish Hatchery's interpretive area has a self-guided outdoor trail system that offers many different areas of interest from some old hatchery construction to information on Ecosystems and how they play a role in the environment. The indoor interpretative room provides information on the Big Manistee watershed, your connections to the Great Lakes, the operation of the hatchery including an indoor tank room viewing window, and an interactive computer with hands on learning opportunities concerning our watersheds and other aspects of fish culture.

Harrietta Hatchery is located on 160 acres of very hilly state land. The area is a mix of conifers and hardwoods. There is a wealth of groundwater in the area as is evidenced by the many springs scattered through the hills. The property is bordered on the east and west by private property, but it backs up to thousands of acres of federal property in the Manistee National Forest on the south. Visitors are welcome to wander the hills, but access is limited to walk in only, as we cannot risk having access to our wells blocked by parked cars.

Hatchery Hours: The hatchery is open at no charge to the public. Visitor hours are weekdays from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm and weekends from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. For more information or to schedule group tours contact Jon Jackoviak at 231-389-2211.


Harrietta State Fish Hatchery Production 
Species-strain Age Number stocked
Brown Trout - Gilchrist Creek Spring Yearlings           413,303
Brown Trout - Sturgeon River Spring Yearlings           149,869
Brown Trout - Wild Rose Spring Fingerlings           352,210
Rainbow Trout - Eagle Lake Spring Fingerlings           298,517

For detailed information of fish stocked, see the DNR's website at: michigandnr.com/fishstock/.

Image of Sport Fish Restoration Logo

Fish Production, Stocking, Management and Research are supported by the Sportfish Restoration Act funding.