From hatching the egg to releasing in the wild

Check out the Dorion Fish Hatchery
Click image for a Google Map with directions to the Dorion Fish Culture Station

An interesting place to stop if you are traveling the north shore of Lake Superior just east of Thunder Bay is a place the locals call the Dorion Fish Hatchery.

Did you know the facility in Dorion is one of nine provincial run Fish Culture Stations in Ontario?

The Dorion Fish Culture Station is operated by the Ministry of Natural Resources and offers weekday tours. The guided tour will offer visitors a rare glimpse into how fish are hatched from eggs and raised until they are ready to release into the wild.  There are lots of adult fish to see in the huge rearing tanks with some hatchery Lake Trout are 30 lbs plus!  The Dorion facility has four species of fish they raise – Lake Trout, Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout and Splake.  

big fish in hand

They hatch roughly 620,000 fish a year and supply stocks from Wawa to Kenora. The fish are stocked in district lakes using a variety of transportation methods - vehicles, helicopters, All Terrain Vehicles (ATV’s), snowmobiles or hiked in by backpack.  Here the fish are raised to provide additional fishing opportunities through put-grow-and-take stocking, as well as to rehabilitate at risk wild fisheries.  The Dorion site even sends eggs to other Fish Culture Stations in the province to support local efforts in other regions.  

The Fish Culture Station has been operating at this site since 1931 and has undergone many renovations and upgrades in the 1940’s, 1970’s and 2008 when the most recent upgrade was completed at an investment of around $15,000,000.  The whole facility is energy efficient as all the buildings are heated with a geothermal system which uses water from the spring fed head pond.  On a hot summer day, it is nice and cool in the Adult Rearing Room which with its dim lights and tranquil flowing water has more of a spa like feel than one where 500,000 fish live. 

Fish at Hatchery

There are some biosecurity protocols in place including disinfecting footwear prior to entering the facility so it is recommended wearing close toed shoes (no sandals).  

If you would like to visit the Dorion Fish Culture Station for your personal tour, follow Highway 11/17 to the Township of Dorion, turn onto Fish Hatchery Road and follow the signs.  Although appointments aren't necessary for small groups, it is recommended that if you have a large group (7 or more) to call ahead (807) 857-2322

About Kirsten Spence

Kirsten is a freelance writer living in Northwestern Ontario near the shores of Lake Superior where her passion for the outdoors has led to amazing discoveries in the area.  Kirsten has worked for many Not-for-Profit trail organizations in Ontario including Trans Canada Trail, The Park-to-Park Trail Association and volunteers with many other regional trail groups to develop trails.  She is an avid hiker, beekeeper and gardener amongst many hobbies.  Kirsten lives outside of Thunder Bay, ON with her husband Jim on their hobby farm - Hurkett Hill Farm.  Her passion for self-sustainability and homesteading has brought back a simpler life of hard work and rewarding lifestyle.  

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