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The Solomon Gulch Hatchery

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1455 Dayville Road, Valdez, AK 99686
+1 907-835-1329
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Beautiful

We went in early June so it was not a good time to see the salmon. The scenery is amazing. We saw... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
Michelle R
via mobile
June too early, will be awesome in later summer

A short drive to the other side of the bay from the town of Valdez. Park in the lot just beyond... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
TH0we
,
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
via mobile
Read all 203 reviews
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VFDA built the Solomon Gulch Hatchery (SGH) in 1981, and released its first pink salmon fry in 1982. It has operated consistently since then. The water for the hatchery is provided by the Solomon Gulch Hydroelectric Plant, owned by the Copper Valley Electric Association through a cooperative agreement. VFDA employs a hatchery crew of twelve full and part-time employees, and is directed by Hatchery Manager Rob Unger. Other staff includes an assistant manager, fish culturists, maintenance support staff, and night watchmen. The hatchery staff lives in the Valdez community. SGH has a permitted green egg capacity to incubate 230 million pink salmon and 2 million coho salmon each year. These egg capacities are strictly controlled by the State of Alaska. With this capacity, VFDA achieves annual releases of approximately 218 million pink salmon fry, and 1.75 million coho salmon smolt. Egg take or spawning happens in late summer. Hatchery staff may spawn as many as 16,000 adult brood stock each day. These fish return to the hatchery spawning building by entering the facility using a fish ladder, which carry the fish from salt water to raceways on shore. Over the winter, the hatchery staff tends to the eggs as they hatch into alevin and settle into simulated gravel to subsist from their yolk sacs. In early spring, the fry emerge and are ready to go to sea. VFDA pumps the fry to net pens off shore where they are fed using commercial salmon feeds until they reach a target weight of at least 0.5 grams. From there, the smolts are released to complete their life cycle in the open sea. This process is known as ocean ranching. The adults, which average about 3.5 pounds each, return the following summer, and the process starts all over again. Average adult returns to the hatchery are approximately 13 million adult pink, and 160,000 coho salmon. After harvesting a small percentage of the return for cost recovery and brood stock, the remainder is harvested primarily by the commercial purse seine fishermen. While the hatchery walking tour is open all summer, the absolute best time to visit is during one of the salmon runs. Pink salmon return to the hatchery in July and coho (silver) salmon return in August. This also allows for the best opportunity to view Alaska wildlife as all manner of animals come to the hatchery to feed on returning salmon. You can see seals, sea lions, black and brown bears, eagles and other birds and much more. There is a large paved parking lot located just west of the hatchery site with plenty of parking for guests as there is no parking allowed on the site. The walking tour is wheelchair accessible and paved. While there is no fishing allowed directly in front of the hatchery, many anglers catch their limit of wild Alaska salmon on the east and west sides. It is a must-see attraction in Valdez.
  • Excellent63%
  • Very good26%
  • Average9%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
Travelers talk about
“salmon” (113 reviews)
“eggs” (9 reviews)
“low tide” (13 reviews)
Suggested Duration: 1-2 hours
LOCATION
1455 Dayville Road, Valdez, AK 99686
CONTACT
Website
+1 907-835-1329
Write a ReviewReviews (203)
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"salmon"
in 113 reviews
"eggs"
in 9 reviews
"low tide"
in 13 reviews
"sea lions"
in 51 reviews
"fish ladder"
in 7 reviews
"self guided tour"
in 9 reviews
"interesting place to visit"
in 3 reviews
"worth the short drive"
in 3 reviews
"walking tour"
in 3 reviews
"circle of life"
in 3 reviews
"learn how"
in 2 reviews
"feeding frenzy"
in 2 reviews
"fish galore"
in 2 reviews
"black beans"
in 11 reviews
"red fish"
in 4 reviews
"watch wildlife"
in 2 reviews
"late july"
in 3 reviews
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1 - 10 of 182 reviews

Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

We went in early June so it was not a good time to see the salmon. The scenery is amazing. We saw a seal and an otter playing in the water. They were both very interested in us and followed us as we walked.

Thank Michelle R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

A short drive to the other side of the bay from the town of Valdez. Park in the lot just beyond the hatchery and walk back across the bridge. There is an outdoor self-guided tour with a video kiosk to get started. In early June...More

1  Thank TH0we
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 1 week ago

The view is amazing and there is soo much salmon that every time I cast my rod, a fish just gets hooked on. Also, there are bears. The bears aren't near you but you can see them catch fish. Awesome place!

Thank Nofloann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed 3 weeks ago

To early for the salmon run unfortunately so no fish equals no bears,no seals and no bald eagles,was still interesting having a look around.

Thank Hugh M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

My sons and I went to the fish hatchery in late May but the fish were not spawning yet. There isn’t much to see when the fish are not here. There are several holding tanks to view. I would wait to later in the season...More

Thank Fred B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 9, 2018

It was interesting experience and I learnt a lot about Salmons but I did not enjoy it as there were so many dead fish -- it seemed very sad scene. We did not see Bear but someone else saw the bear a day before. I...More

Thank SVAA0814
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 21, 2017

In season the fishing for pink and silver salmon is great, and a visit to the hatchery fish ladder and retaining areas is very informative, The number of fish attempting the trip up river is amazing in July and August. Sea lions are common and...More

Thank DAVE E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 11, 2017

A self-guided tour done with excellence! Very interesting, especially being there in September when the salmon were coming in. So we also saw sea otters!. And we saw a few bears in the evening in the vicinity. Really enjoyed the hatchery.

Thank virginias729
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 8, 2017

Hard to judge because we came at the end of June and the fish didn't come yet. But we were surprised that there were not any people around or any signage to guide us on where to go. After a few minutes a guy who...More

Thank Shelly D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 13, 2017

Good signage explaining the components and science of the hatchery. I was lucky enough to film the moment when a sea otter caught a stray salmon entering the opening from the bay. No charge for this self guided tour. Parking lot has lots of "Beware...More

Thank Dianna M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Ask a question
Questions & Answers
flagirlnow
August 8, 2016|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from Joshua B | Property representative |
A visitor can spot salmon returning to the hatchery from mid July until September. With so many salmon returning to one spot, VFDA-Solmon Gulch Hatchery hosts a multitude of wildlife to our facility all capitalizing on the... More
0
Votes
doltse
August 8, 2016|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from RobEnJolanda | Reviewed this property |
Well, we saw them end of July, so my guess is all the fish will be dead and gone by then. The bears may be in the area, but probably not at the hatchery. Maybe you can e-mail the hatchery directly.
0
Votes
Milwaukeetraveler-dj
July 14, 2016|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from Joshua B | Property representative |
The hatchery is open all year round and the public access walking tour should be available for you to visit in September and October. The only things that shut down the walking path are bears on our property and snow (as we... More
0
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