Lahontan National Fish Hatchery to open April 21 |

Lahontan National Fish Hatchery to open April 21

by Karel Delbecq

The Lahontan National Fish Hatchery is hosting an open house from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 21.

Area Boy Scout troops will offer tours through the facility, which has undergone many changes. An estimated 400 to 500 people are expected to attend.

Usually an annual event, the hatchery has not hosted an open house since the 1997 flood, which caused extensive damage to the facility.

The hatchery lost two of four production wells, a feed building, one residence and some parking area. The waste water abatement facility was also affected, said Larry Marchant, hatchery supervisor. The damage has been repaired.

Last year’s open house was cancelled when the fish contracted furunculosis, a bacterial infection that causes the breakdown of internal organs, and in some cases lesions and boils on the skin, Marchant explained.

Marchant said furunculosis is horizontally transmitted through the fish population, meaning once that generation of fish is euthanized, there should be no further occurrence.

“We have no reason to suspect vertical transmission – from one generation to another,” Marchant said. The facility was disinfected at the time of the outbreak and there have been no reoccurrences in the past year, though periodic testing continues.

The hatchery deals only with Lahontan Cutthroat Trout, a threatened species. An estimated 600,000 to 700,000 fish are spawned each year.

“Most of the fish have been distributed for the year, so we’ve only got 60,000 to 70,000 left,” Marchant said.

The fish were distributed to Walker and Pyramid lakes, where there is presently no natural breeding.

“There is no habitat for them to reproduce in, either in the lakes or upstream,” Marchant said.

Presently, visitors can view eggs, as well as rainbow trout for the youth fishing derby that will take place June 2 and 3 at Lampe Park in Gardnerville.

The derby is open to children 3 to 12 years of age and will include three 60- to 90-minute fishing sessions each of the two days, Marchant said. There are 2,400 openings and children are allowed two fish. They will also have a chance to catch fish that are tagged for different prizes.

The first day for derby registration will be at the hatchery’s open house. Registration forms have also been sent out through schools and can be picked up at the Lampe Park office.

“We will also be in front of Raley’s in the next couple months,” Marchant said.

To reach the hatchery, take Highway 395 south. The hatchery is on the right, three miles south of Gardnerville.

For further information about the open house, call the hatchery at 775-265-2425. For information on the fishing derby, call Tim Lietz at 775-265-5814 or the hatchery.

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