Enjoying Hagerman’s Fish Hatcheries
“This morning I looked around at the dishes and laundry and everything that needed to be done and thought, ‘I need to get out of the house. I’m going fishing!’ ”
My husband and I were told this by a lady we met last Saturday at the State Fish Hatchery in Hagerman. We met her at Oster Lake #1 because we had felt the same way that morning: A relaxing day fishing seemed like a better alternative to chores.
While my husband fished in the stocked lake, I loaded our son into the stroller and took him for a short walk to check out the Show Pond. I parked him in the shade, and kneeled down to see the yellow trout swimming there. As I did so, a huge black something came out of the dark right in front of me. Even though there was a chain-link fence between us and I knew there wasn’t anything dangerous in the pond, the sheer size of it startled me. I squinted, trying to depict what it could possibly be, when I realized that I could probably see better if I moved into the sunlight. Duh.
I moved five feet down and saw that the massive dark something was a sturgeon! So cool! My husband had told me stories about catching and releasing one here at the hatchery, but I couldn’t remember ever seeing one before. If I had, I hadn’t appreciated it for the ancient and giant creature that it is.
I was also able to pick out rainbow trout, brown trout, and a tiger muskie. I hadn’t seen the latter before either.
After fishing for a while, we decided to check out the National Fish Hatchery, too. There we found another display pond, this one without a fence, holding more rainbow trout and even bigger sturgeon. I probably shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t resist reaching in and feeling one’s tail fin. I was amazed at how smooth and strong it felt–not what I usually expect when I feel a fish.
There was also a beautiful picnic area at the display pond, and we would’ve enjoyed one there had I thought to pack one. If we ever go back, I definitely will.
All-in-all, we had a great day getting out of the house, enjoying the sunshine, seeing some fish, and spending time together. It’s neat having hatcheries so close that enable us to do that.