July 2020: Fish Hatchery Tours are not available at this time, but Fish Hatchery Feedings will be available on Fridays and Saturdays from July 10 – August 29, 2020. Tickets are available between 10 am and 2 pm and cost $2 per person (kids 3 and under free with paid adult).
What does it take to raise over 1.5 million trout each year?! Now that the Sam Livingston Fish Hatchery at Bow Habitat Station has re-opened, you can find out with guided tours and fish feeding times! Keep reading to find out how to win passes.
The Sam Livingston Fish Hatchery has been closed to the public since October 2017, due to upgrades to the water treatment systems. The Hatchery, which originally opened in 1973, has raised over 50 million trout. As one of four provincially-operated fish culture facilities, it is a key element in Alberta’s Fish Stocking Program, as trout are raised from egg to fry and stocked into over 200 different lakes across the province. But, in October 2017, it was time for some much-needed upgrades and modernization. Renovations and patience have brought about two vital improvements.
Technology has advanced since 1973 and that reflects our care for the environment. Now the Fish Hatchery boosts a new system that significantly decreases water use, as recirculation has improved from 70% to 95%. This, in turn, brings decreased costs both in energy consumption and in looking ahead to future repairs. The system incorporates water quality monitoring in all burrows ponds; the automated and programmable systems lead to faster response times for potential issues, which increases fish health monitoring.
Thanks to this state-of-the-art filtration and disinfection equipment, the fish will benefit from improved quality of water and better health, as potential diseases are prevented from infiltrating the Hatchery. Upgraded ultra-violet lights will effectively kill a number of diseases, including whirling disease. Plus, the Hatchery will be able to customize the water quality for each of the 21 individual burrows ponds.
What about Visiting?
So, this renovation is great for the environment and the fish, but what does it mean for you? It means that you can take the kids on a fishy adventure to the Sam Livingston Fish Hatchery!
Fish feedings at the indoor pond are fun for all ages, from little ones to grandparents. Come with the family, enjoy a unique date, or head for a morning out with your littles and friends. Kids 3 and under are free, making it a neat excursion for young families. The fish enjoy the procedure and come close to you, as they know what comes next! Everyone gets a small bowl of food to toss to the fish and kids love watching the fish jump over each other to eat it. You’ll be feeding thousands of rainbow trout in one feeding! The educators who run the fish feedings can answer all of your fish-focussed questions.
Fish Hatchery Tours
If you enjoy the fish feeding, but want to go a little deeper, sign up for a Fish Hatchery Tour and find out more about how fish are raised in a hatchery! Most of the fish here are Rainbow Trout, which do well in a hatchery and you might see these same fish out in an Albertan pond. Your tour will start in the incubation room, learning about the brood stations, where the fish eggs come from, and the egg and alevin (newly-hatched fish) life cycle stages. If you’re lucky and there are eggs or alevin in the hatchery, you can get a nice close look at them. From there you’ll head to the early rearing area, where the fish fry live; they are fed almost hourly by automatic feeders. The fish fingerlings (about the size of an adult’s finger) are in the super troughs, and then you’ll get to feed the adult trout that will eventually be stocked into closed waterbodies throughout Alberta.
When to Go?
Access to the fish feedings and tours are through guided programs only, but every morning, from Tuesday to Saturday, you can come feed the fish at 11 am, 12 pm, 1 pm, and 3 pm for only $2.50 (+tax) per person. The Hatchery Tour + Feeding runs at 2 pm, for only $4.00 (+tax) per person. These activities are first-come, first-served with a maximum of 30 participants, so arrive early!
Now you’ll know what it takes to raise over 1.5 million trout for Alberta lakes!
Bow Habitat Station Sam Livingston Fish Hatchery:
Where: Bow Habitat Station
Address: 1440 17a St SE, Calgary, AB