The CFRE Atlantic Salmon Hatchery

  • LSSU student with an adult Atlantic Salmon
  • President Hanley and students with Atlantic Salmon
  • LSSU student cleaning the raceways at the CFRE hatchery
  • Students remove fish from a gill net at the CFRE Hatchery in the snow
  • ARL student workers lead tours of the hatchery facility
  • sac fry Atlantic Salmon at CFRE Hatchery
  • DNR transfer fish from hatchery
  • Atlantic Salmon seen at the CFRE Hatchery
  • CFRE hatchery tour with raceways
Since 1978, the Center for Freshwater Research and Education Hatchery (formerly the Aquatic Research Laboratory) has been raising and releasing Atlantic Salmon into the St. Marys River, in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Cloverland Electric Cooperative (formerly Edison Sault Electric).

Our Atlantic Salmon hatchery is run by nearly a dozen student employees during the academic year and summer. This opportunity gives our students real-world experience working in a hatchery environment.

Tour the Hatchery!

To schedule an in-person hatchery tour, please call (906) 635-1949 and our student employees will be more than happy to set up a time to show you our facility.

Exterior of Hatchery

**UPDATE: Public tours are currently limited due to COVID-19.

We are located inside the Cloverland Electric Cooperative Hydroelectric Plant at the end of Salmon Run Way in Sault Sainte Marie, MI.

Can’t visit in-person? Click here to enjoy our 360 Virtual Hatchery Tour! 

A view of the CFRE hatchery from Portage Ave

  • Here are some helpful tips for easy navigation of the 360 Tour!
    • To hear the sound, click on the settings logo in the top right hand corner and turn on the narration sound
    • Clicking on each point of interest bubble will allow you to hear the narration about the area
    • To see full 360 pictures, click and drag your mouse around the photo to view different areas
    • To change scenes, click the arrows at the bottom of the screen

Roger Pistis awardHatchery Manager, Roger Greil, (right) was presented with the Annual Pistis Award for his outstanding contribution to sportfishing in 2018. Roger has managed the hatchery for nearly 30 years.

How old is my Atlantic Salmon?

If you know which fin was clipped on your fish, you can use the table below to find out!

Each year, our student employees clip the same fin on the entire year class of fish. This allows us to determine their ages when caught at later dates all over the Great Lakes.

Fish Growth
Year stockedFin clipAge in 2020
2020Right pelvic1
2019Right pectoral2
2018Left pelvic3
2017Left pectoral4
2016Right pelvic5

Note: Atlantic Salmon hatch around January 1st, so an age-1 fish in 2020 becomes an age-2 fish in January 2021.

Atlantic Salmon with clipped fin

This Atlantic Salmon was caught in 2018 with a clipped left pectoral fin. Can you determine how old it is?

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