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Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery Visitor Center

A group of school kids and parents walk down a sidewalk with hatchery building on left, pond on right and visitor center in background

Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery Visitor Center

Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery Visitor Center
Phone: 269-668-2876
Shana Ramsey, park interpreter
Hours of Operation

Jan. 2-March 30: First Saturday each month, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
April 1-Memorial Day: Sat, Sun, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Memorial Day-Labor Day: Daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Labor Day-Nov. 14: Sat, Sun, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Nov. 15-Dec. 31: Closed

Hatchery building hours may be different.

Located on the grounds of the Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery, the visitor center provides programs that tell the remarkable tale of the Great Lakes fisheries and the vital role played by hatcheries. Individuals of all ages will enjoy the opportunity to learn about a variety of fish species, their life cycles and habitats and how we work to protect and conserve Michigan's lakes, rivers and streams. 

A variety of items are available for sale at our Fish Market Gift Shop, including books, postcards, fish pens, fish magnets, t-shirts, hats and more.

Visitor center and hatchery information

  • The renovated exhibit hall offers visitors a firsthand look at how fish hatcheries evolved in Michigan, how fish were raised historically and how individuals can become stewards of our natural resources to safeguard them for current and future generations.

    Walk through a train car to learn how fish once were transported, see footage of fish being stocked in the 1930s and 1940s and learn how to take an active role in protecting our natural resources. Visitors can also view a brief 15 minute video in the Auditorium to see what its like to spend a year as a steelhead trout at the Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery.

    Be sure to check out the other fun and educational exhibits and displays throughout the lobby too. Visitors can watch a live underwater camera of the show pond, as well as check out the seasonal animals located in the lobby's "critter corner."

    Viewing aquariums include:

    • Arctic grayling, a fish that disappeared from Michigan waters that the Michigan DNR and its partners are working to restore.
    • Sea lamprey, one of the Great Lakes most destructive aquatic invasive species.
    • Prehistoric lake sturgeon
  • Nature trails take visitors around several ponds, ranging in size from two to 25 acres, and through wetland, prairie and forest habitats. Wolf Lake is home to a variety of wildlife and is a premier birdwatching location in southwest Michigan.

    A birdwatching platform is located on the hatchery's largest pond, where many species of birds can be seen. Interpretive panels along the trails encourage visitors to learn more about the unique features of the grounds, the history of the hatchery, how Great Lakes ecosystems work and the role citizens play in ecosystem stewardship.

    See a map of the trails

  • Visitors can view an assortment of fish in the show pond located just outside the center. A long observation platform provides excellent close-up viewing opportunities. Fish species in the pond include chinook salmon, steelhead trout, northern pike, northern muskellunge, walleye, largemouth bass, a variety of other sunfish and lake sturgeon. Try spotting one of the two 6-foot sturgeon as they glide along the bottom.

    Fun for all ages, the fish will jump and splash as they compete for each and every last fish food pellet. Each visitor receives one complimentary cup of fish food courtesy the Friends of Wolf Lake.

  • The grounds of the Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery, located in Mattawan, are open year-round, from dawn to dusk for feeding the fish and walking the nature trails.

    The hatchery is available for tours and is a popular field trip for school groups. Please contact the visitor center directly for tour times and availability.

    The hatchery grounds provide excellent bird and wildlife viewing opportunities, hiking and snowshoeing, plus scheduled seasonal programming such as kid-friendly fishing, archery and more.

  • Friends of Wolf Lake is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit group that supports the Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery Visitor Center. Its mission is to inspire people to become better stewards of Michigan natural resources through education, conservation and volunteer opportunities.

    Learn more at

Programs for families, adults and classrooms

Weekly program schedule

From tours of the hatchery, to learning archery and fishing, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Weekly program schedule

Summer kids fishing program

Ages 3-16, Friday evenings, Saturday mornings Memorial Day to Labor Day. Equipment provided. Registration required.

Register for kids fishing

Outdoor skills classes and volunteer events

Develop your outdoor skills or help conserve natural resources with Outdoor Skills Academy clinics and volunteer workdays.

Events at Wolf Lake

School field trip programs

Wolf Lake offers a variety of programs for students. Give us a call and we can help you choose the right program for your class.

Field trip opportunities