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The Hidden Falls Fish Hatchery is located on the east side of Baranof Island, at the head of Kasnyku Bay off Chatham Strait, approximately 22 miles (35.5 km) northeast of Sitka, Alaska. Hidden Falls is the outlet to Hidden Falls Lake, located adjacent to and above the hatchery. The descriptive name was given in 1923 by the U.S. Forest Service because the falls cannot be seen until the upper end of the small lagoon at the head of Kasnyku Bay is reached. The salmon hatchery was built in 1977-1979 and operated by the State of Alaska until 1988 when the facility were transferred to the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association.
The hatchery releases about 600,000 chinook smolts, 3 million coho smolts, and about 84 million chum salmon fry each year. Returning coho and chinook are caught primarily by trollers and seiners. Trollers catch Hidden Falls chinook from late-May through early July. Seiners catch chinook later in June and in early July when they target the chum salmon return. The combination of large chum, chinook and coho returns make this hatchery the most economically important salmon augmentation program in Southeast Alaska.
In 2011, several small cruise ships received U.S. Forest Service authorization to take passengers to the hatchery for interpretative tours. These ships range in capacity from 22 to 86 passengers. Hidden Falls Fish Hatchery staff show visitors around the site to educate them on salmon fishery enhancement and aquaculture practices. In 2014, the number of visitors increased to 839, mostly attributed to new cruise ship operators seeking opportunities for their passengers to experience the wild and remote character of the Tongass National Forest. Read more here and here. Download the latest version of the CoastView app and explore more of Hidden Falls Hatchery here: