Current Edition

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Postcard from the Past - Celebrating a Century of Stocking

Written by Dick Perue

Celebrating its 100th anniversary this week, the Saratoga National Fish Hatchery, a division of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service, continues to do what it has done best for a century – help repopulate trout across the nation.

Located four miles north of Saratoga, the hatchery is a brood stock station for Lake and Brown trout, as well as the endangered Wyoming toad, a big change from its original intent in 1915.

A rare 1919 tourist brochure gave a glowing account of the facility. In the next few “Postcards,” we wish to share that information with our readers.

The pamphlet reads:

Although large and small game of all sorts is plentiful in this section, trout fishing is perhaps the most popular pastime, and large numbers of automobile tourists from all states of the Union come to this valley each year to spend a few days or weeks with rod and reel along the North Platte and its many tributaries.

A federal fish hatchery located at Saratoga keeps all waters of the valley well stocked with game fish, and it is indeed an unlucky fisherman who cannot fill his creel.

Brook and Rainbow are the most plentiful varieties, although of late years many of the beautiful “Loch Laven” have helped to fill the creels of the fishermen, and last year a great number of “Steel Head” trout were propagated at the local hatchery and liberated in various nearby streams and lakes. Many of these will be of “frying pan” size for the 1919 season.

The fisheries station also plans to bring in several million eggs of the “Black-spotted” trout from Yellowstone Park for planting in the valley streams, and these will furnish their proportion of sport in the years to come, as they grow to unusual size and are of a disposition which makes it difficult to put them on the bank with hook and line.

Desirable camping grounds are found everywhere along the streams and here the tourist and outer may get “back to nature” and enjoy life to the limit in the bracing atmosphere and peaceful surroundings found along the headwaters of the Platte.

The Federal Fisheries Station at Saratoga, although in operation for only three years, is now of the largest in the West, and is...but, then that’s another fish tail – oops – tale.