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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.

Best of 95.7 KEZJ

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