Huntsdale Fish Culture Station
PA Fish and Boat Commission
195 Lebo Rd.
Carlisle, PA 17013
(717) 486-3419 • 486-4040 Fax

Places Nearby:
Carlisle Barracks
National Apple Museum
Kings Gap Environmental Center
More in:

Other States:

Huntsdale is one of more than a dozen fish hatcheries operated by the Pennsylvania Fish Commission. Established in 1932, the hatchery is one of the nation's largest.

Over the years extensive research and experimentation has gone into developing efficient methods of breeding fish for stocking lakes and streams. Most fish hatcheries, as is Huntsdale, are supported by fishing license fees, a convenient arrangement that keeps fishermen happy and a species healthy and abundant.

So what's to do at a fish hatchery? The tour at Huntsdale is Self - Guided, though groups may be able to arrange a Guided Tour, depending on the availability of staff. Visitors can witness nearly every aspect of raising fish in volume, something which Huntsdale does quite well. During a recent year it produced nearly 1 million adult trout. 5,000 muskellunge were stocked as fingerlings, 10 million walleye fry and 50,000 walleye fingerlings were planted in public waters. In addition, 40,000 tiger muskies, a hybrid derived from purebred musky and northern pike, were stocked as fingerlings.

The Visitor's Center is the starting point of a tour. It features a "living stream" which closely approximates the natural habitat of the trout. Several aquariums display various warmwater fish common to the state. There are several other exhibits, one of which traces the history of fish culture in Pennsylvania. Here visitors will become acquainted with the more than 100-year service of the Fish Commission and see the early equipment and methods used to raise fish.

The Tour continues to the Raceways, which look like a sort of dragstrip for fish. Each holds several thousand trout, which are graded and sorted by size several times each year. Next the Brood Fish are seen -- the large, superb specimens that parent most of the trout at the hatchery.

Throughout the Tour visitors can see how the fish are fed (including dry food and ponds where smaller fish are raised as food), and how the water is kept pure and oxygenated, The Warmwater Hatch House is where muskellunge and walleye eggs are hatched in March and April. Other points of interest include one of the underground springs that supply water for the operation, other Raceways, and Holding Ponds.

The Huntsdale Hatchery is a precision operation, with water temperatures, feeding methods and times, water purity and other factors playing a crucial role. A Tour is sure to be interesting and educational -- great for School Groups.

Picnicking and recreational activities can be enjoyed in the nearby Pine Grove Furnace State Park.

Hours: Open every day, 8am - 3:30pm.
Admission: FREE
Groups: FREE
Group Reservations: At least 2 weeks in advance.
Lunch: Picnic in state park.
Handicapped Access: Visitor Center and Raceways are accessible.
Directions: I-76 West just past Harrisburg to I-81 South to Exit 11. Rt. 223 South 2½ miles to Pine Rd. Turn left onto Pine and go to Lebo Rd. Parking is at intersection. 2 - 2½ hours west of Philadelphia.

Copyright © 1996-2014 by Patrick Tadeushuk. All Rights Reserved.