Visit Walhalla fish hatchery to see, feed and even fish trout (free things to do with kids near Oconee and Devils Fork State Parks)

If you are vacationing in beautiful South Carolina Upcountry bring your kids and loved ones to the Walhalla Fish Hatchery located off highway 107 half an hour drive from both Oconee and Devils Fork State Parks. It’s free, educational and an out of ordinary fun activity the entire family will enjoy.

Facts and history
The hatchery Rainbow trout on display is one of five in South Carolina and the only one involved in the culture of trout, a coldwater species. There are three types raised here: rainbow, brook and brown trout.

The Appalachian Mountains streams are not very fertile due their origination bedrock which produces low alkalinity in the water. Hatchery construction began in mid 1930s and first trout was released in 1937. In 1990 an oxygen supplementation system was added to increase production.

The growing cycle begins in the incubator room usually not open to public to protect the very sensitive eggs. Inside the hatchery building there are 12 concrete tanks where young trout is fed until it reaches 2 inches long and then is moved to the outside raceways. Each raceway is about 100 feet long and flows 600 gallons of water a minute. It takes about 14-16 months for the fish to reach the stocking size of 9 inches.

Each year over 200,000 trout fish are stocked by truck to rivers in Greenville, Pickens and Oconee counties. See a list and a map with all the streams at the interpretive display kiosk. Some remote locations along Chattooga River get stocked by helicopter!

Tips to know before you go
Best time to visit Dad gets food for his son is in the fall where you can see more of the trout’s lifecycle stages, particularly the eggs and the sac fry.

Main attraction for little kids is feeding the fish. There are feed stations along the tanks and the food is 25 cents. Pay once then ask your children to hunt for the plenty of fish-food laying on the ground.

You can call ahead (864) 638-2866 to schedule a guided tour. You may get lucky and get to visit the incubator room.

Things to do in the area
Tour the hatchery at your own pace; pick up a brochure to read more about the facilities, the growth operations and the trout lifecycle stages.

Fish in the pristine East Fork river which runs through the hatchery grounds; the picnic area has a barrier free fishing pier accessible from the parking lot.Fishing at East Fork

Hike the 2.5 miles trail along the river; you can get a trail map at the office.

Take 107 North for approximately 5 miles to see the gorgeous Whitewater Falls. At 700 feet long this series of falls is the highest in the East. From there you can drive to Lake Jocassee inside Devils Fork State Park the finest fishing place in the Southeast where you have plenty of recreational activities.

Drive south to the Oconee State Park where you can swim, canoe, kayak, fish, paddle-boat, play putt-golf or hike around the lake. Those more adventurous can access the start of the famous Foothills Trail.

Visit Duke’s World of Energy to learn how electricity is generated from water, coal and uranium. There are many interactive exhibits, a real-size nuclear reactor replica and fun games to test your scientific knowledge.

Where
Address: 198 Fish Hatchery Rd, Hwy 107 N, Mountain Rest, SC 29664. The hatchery is near the intersection of Hyw 107 and 130 and here is the Google Map.
Admission is free. Open daily from 8 AM till 4 PM except on Christmas Day. May close occasionally during winter if the inclement weather conditions make it unsafe for visitation.

Happy trout fishing along the South Carolina upstate rivers!

Love trout? Then drive north into beautiful Western North Carolina to visit the Bobby N. Setzer Fish Hatchery (the largest in the state!) that’s beaming with brook, rainbow and brown trout!

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