The Solomon Gulch Hatchery

The Solomon Gulch Hatchery, Valdez: Tickets, Tours, Address, Phone Number, The Solomon Gulch Hatchery Reviews: 4.5/5

The Solomon Gulch Hatchery
4.5
Nature & Wildlife Areas
About
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.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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The area
Address
1455 Dayville Road, Valdez, AK 99686
Popular mentions

4.5
268 reviews
Excellent
172
Very good
70
Average
21
Poor
3
Terrible
2

sathwick_rao
San Francisco, CA37 contributions
Salmon everywhere
Sep 2021
A good place to drive and see the Salmons (during the right season) and the birds and bears trying their luck. When we went we did not see any bears, however, the number of Salmon itself was in large numbers. Not a great View as such but a good place to visit if you are Valdez.
Written October 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Dulcie44
South Bend, IN26 contributions
An Absolute Must
Sep 2021
I knew the big Salmon run was over so I wasn't sure what to expect. Yes, there is the smell but the first thing I noticed getting out of the car was the racket from all the seagulls! The smells hit as you get closer to the fish ladder but watching the sealions I forgot about it. (for awhile) The self guided outside tour was very informative. We were even lucky enough to see a mother bear and her cubs on the road. It is well worth your time.
Written September 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Daniel K
District of Columbia1,007 contributions
Great Salomon watch
Sep 2021 • Couples
Nice place to stop by. One issue is that you will need to bear with the strong smell.
It is amazing to see how salmons return to where they were hatched. Can't explain.
Written September 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

JCW703
Bridgetown, Barbados2,416 contributions
So Cool, But The Smell!!
Sep 2021
It was really interesting to see all of the salmon and the fat, lazy sea lions just hanging out and then to check out the operations at the hatchery (all outdoors). The dead fish smell was absolutely awful though.
Written September 6, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Horsiedad
Atlanta, GA65 contributions
Fun Intersting Self Guided Tour
Aug 2021
The hatchery is about six miles from Valdez harbor. It is a self-guided tour that explains what they do. At the right time of the season, you can look in through the windows to see them harvest eggs from the salmon.
Written August 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Adique Kalis
Anchorage, AK7 contributions
Like WHOA!!
Aug 2021
Learn new things every day - no doubt about it. Here - I've learned how the salmon swam up the stream to spawn every year. The hatchery is a self-guided tour; make sure you walk all the way in where you can see how the hatchery works.

It's amazing how they're all gushing through the water. The gulls, sea lions & harbor seals are just enjoying the all-you-can-eat buffet. If you're lucky - the word from the locals, the bear will come down from the hill from gulch across the street and got some salmon to feed the cubs.
Written August 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

who_we_talkin_about
Topeka552 contributions
Amazing to watch the salmon run
Aug 2021
It's a nice drive over to the Hatchery and the waterfall is amazing. The salmon running was really cool. Wish we could have seen a bear while we were there...where were they eating at? :-)
Written August 17, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kimmey C
California244 contributions
Salmon, salmon, and more salmon
Aug 2021
Interesting and educational experience. We saw two bald eagles dining on the salmon that didn’t transition from high tide to low tide (lots of seagulls too). Visitors could easily see hundreds of salmon.

Look across the highway as there is a beautiful waterfall.
Written August 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

SSIyengar
Bethesda, MD16 contributions
Beautiful at High Tide
Aug 2021
We spent awhile watching the salmon, sea lions enjoying eating the salmon and birds also flying in and out. Beautiful snapshot of nature.
Written August 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

cmoney
Toledo, OH69 contributions
Check fish run status first
Jul 2021 • Family
Place has to be absolutely amazing during the full run. It’s not too exciting if not while the fish are running. So, just take a look before you go. It’s not far out of the way. Bring binoculars.
Written August 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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