Surrounded by thousands of acres of sweet-smelling Ponderosa pines and abundant camping, hiking and fishing opportunities, Wizard Falls Hatchery is a scenic spot in Camp Sherman, Oregon to learn about the role of fish hatcheries. Large open tanks are used for incubation and rearing of over three million fish—rainbow and brook trout, kokanee and Atlantic salmon—that are raised here until released into the wild. A separate large pond is home to some real whoppers! Bring a couple of quarters to buy pellet fish food from the dispensers located along the tanks and pond. Toss the morsels into the water and watch lightening-fast fish compete for a snack (resident geese also enjoy the fish food). It’s great entertainment for adults and kids alike for just twenty-five cents!
Wizard Falls Hatchery was constructed in 1947 and occupies about 25 acres of Deschutes National Forest land. Wizard Falls, from which the hatchery getd its name, was located about a quarter mile upstream. The “falls” was a spring-fed cascade sloping down a 12-foot drop in the Metolius River. The springs now provide very high quality water at a year-round temperature of about 50 degrees, which is ideal for the species raised at the hatchery. The fish are raised to either fingerling or catchable size. Some are transferred to other hatcheries for rearing, while others are destined for rivers, lakes, and reservoirs throughout Oregon. Four employees live on the site year-round.
Other than the occasional eagle or raccoon snatching its next meal, the pond and tanks are meant for viewing and not for angling. But do bring your fly rod and waders to test your skill in the rushing Metolius River after your visit. Bring a picnic, too, and enjoy a leisurely lunch on a shaded picnic table or choose a sunny spot on the grassy lawn. You won’t have far to drive for a nice campsite either. Whether you forego hook-ups in favor of a scenic pull-through next to the river, or prefer the comforts of electricity at a small RV park, you’ll find both in nearby Camp Sherman.
IF YOU GO:
Wizard Falls Hatchery
7500 Forest Service Road 14
Camp Sherman, OR 97730
Driving directions from Portland, Oregon: I-5 south to Highway 22. Head east on Highway 22. Veer onto Highway 20. Turn north from Hwy. 20 at the Camp Sherman/Metolius Recreation Area sign. Stay right on Forest Service Road 14 until the hatchery sign. Camp Sherman is about 10 miles northwest of the town of Sisters and two hours east of the state capital city of Salem.
In addition to writing about her travels, Denise Seith is also a treasure hunter and loves a good latté. She and her husband own an online gold prospecting and metal detecting equipment store found at GoldRushTradingPost.com