CENTRAL OREGON HISTORY: Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery site ideal for growing fish
Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery is four miles north of Camp Sherman along the Metolius River. The falls on Fairy Creek that is tributary to the Metolius River was at one time known as Fairy Falls. The creek was only about 500 feet in length. Nearby springs were the source of the small creek. The falls existed before the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery was built just north of the falls site.
When the hatchery was built, water was diverted from Fairy Creek that supplied water to the falls and thus the falls no longer exists. In October 1935, government plans were made for a trout fish hatchery to be built at Wizard Falls. George Aitken, of Sisters, was a strong advocate for a fish hatchery to be built. He and his wife, Grace, suggested the Wizard Falls site for a potential hatchery.
In 1944, the Oregon Game Commission applied to the Forest Service for a site to build a hatchery. The cold water temperature at the site was determined to be ideal for growing fish. A special permit was issued by the Forest Service on March 5, 1947. The hatchery was constructed and began operations in June of 1948. The hatchery was dedicated on April 24, 1948, and a plaque honoring George Aitken was unveiled at the main hatchery building.
K.E. Morton was appointed to manage the hatchery. He managed the hatchery until his retirement in 1971 and made several improvements in production and operations. Fish raised at the site include Rainbow trout, German brown trout, Eastern brook trout, Kokanee, and Atlantic salmon. The annual production of the hatchery is approximately 3.5 million fish. The fish are raised at the hatchery until they are large enough to be released, then they are placed in large tanker trucks and transferred and planted in lakes and streams in Central Oregon. A campground was built near the site of the falls and is known as Wizard Falls Campground.
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