Goin’ To The Lake: Spooner Fish Hatchery

SPOONER, Wis. (WCCO) — Fishing is such a huge part of the cabin culture in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

It’s big business in many small towns WCCO travels to on our Goin’ to the Lake trips each summer. This week, Kim Johnson and Kylie Bearse are in Spooner, Wis.

The one thing that just about everyone who travels to a cabin or resort this time of year is looking to do: Spend time on the water. Whether it’s skiing, tubing, swimming or fishing.

The fishing here in northwestern Wisconsin is a big deal. And many people don’t know how much work goes into making sure anglers have a chance at a good catch.

“We’re just feeing fish right now. The fish are basically a smorgasbord,” Neal Rosenberg said.

For most of us, a trip to the lake includes at least a few hours in the boat trying to catch dinner, or a trophy.

“The state fish is the Muskie, you know, so we raise quite a few muskies here and quite a few walleyes,” Rosenberg said.

But many people don’t know there’s a lot of work and a lot of science that goes into keeping the fish plentiful.

“We go out in the springtime of the year and we’ll collect eggs from wild fish. We’ll bring those eggs back to the hatchery, we’ll disinfect them, we’ll incubate those eggs, we’ll hatch them out and then those fish come out in these ponds,”

The Governor Tommy Thompson Fish Hatchery has been in Spooner since 1914. Today, it stocks nearly 40,000 and 300,000 walleyes in lakes across northwest Wisconsin.

“We abound in a lot of lakes and it’s part of the history of this area. It goes back to the 30s and 40s. You know, a lot of the old-timers would fish here, a lot of the state records were actually established up in this part of the state,” Rosenberg said.

The work done here by Neal Rosenberg and his staff leads to memories that last a lifetime for visitors. If the hatchery didn’t exist?

“Well nobody would be buying a fishing license probably, and nobody would be buying fishing poles,” Rosenberg said.

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