One fish two fish red fish blue fish…
Western North Carolina, the land of the waterfalls, is truly breathtaking in the fall.
Recently, we spend a weekend hiking between Hendersonville and Brevard.
We had fun visiting the Bobby N. Setzer Fish Hatchery and Raceway Exhibit housed at the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education.
This is the largest hatchery in the state, which stocks about half million brook, rainbow and brown trout a year and feeds over 80 streams and lakes in 15 counties.
The center is located inside the Pigah National Forest of off Hwy 276 and about 20 minutes drive from scenic Blue Ridge Parkway.The raceway exhibit is open Monday to Saturday, 8AM to 5PM and admission is free.
Here you can watch and feed brook, rainbow and brown trout.
The fingerlings grow in a series of 54 outdoor raceways, which are elongated, concrete fish-rearing ponds with a constant flow of fresh water.
In fact the raceways channel 3,500 gallons per minute of cold mountain water from nearby Davidson River and Grogan Creek!
About the trout… (data from the “Raising Trout for North Carolina Waters” brochure)
The brook trout, is North Carolina’s only native trout, nicknamed “speckle” because of the blue-bordered, red spots on its flanks. The back has green worm-like markings and the lower fins are red with a black stripe and white leading edge.
The rainbow trout was brought from the Pacific Northwest in the late 1800s. It has many dark spots, a greenish back that fades into silvery white on its belly and a red stripe along its flanks (hence the name). Rainbow trout can tolerate warmer waters than brook trout.
The brown trout was brought from Europe, also in the late 1800s. It is brownish yellow with many black and few bright-red spots along its flanks. Currently, it thrives in the North Caolina streams and can tolerate warm and turbid waters.
Once done with the hatchery tour, you can take the easy interpretive trail through the beautifully restored wildlife garden and hardwood forest habitat. Inside the auditorium you can get up close to colorful fish, frogs, salamanders and snakes.
If you plan to stick around for a few days, take advantage of the high quality outdoor classes for all age and skill levels: fly tying and fishing, hunter education, outdoor cooking, waterfall photography and more. Details online or by phone at (828) 877-4423.
For ever enchanted in beautiful Western North Carolina!
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