Creston National Fish Hatchery
Aquatic habitat; fish identification; fishery management
(3) Students, through the inquiry process, demonstrate knowledge of characteristics, structures and function of living things, the process and diversity of life, and how living organisms interact with each other and their environment.
(5) Students, through the inquiry process, understand how scientific
knowledge and technological developments impact communities, cultures and societies.
Established in 1939, Creston National Fish Hatchery originally provided fingerling trout for stocking waters in Glacier National Park. Today, the hatchery provides trout for the seven tribal reservations in Montana; stocks fish for the Hungry Horse dam mitigation program; and produces native fish for restoration programs.
A nature trail with interpretive signs – and described in a descriptive brochure – makes a short quarter-mile loop through the woods and along Mill Creek. An amphitheater sits along Mill Creek and is accessible via a spur trail off the main trail. Some parts of this trail are steep and are not handicapped accessible. Teachers may use this outdoor area for class instruction. The terrain around the hatchery offices is mostly flat, with some hills along the Mill Creek bank on the nature trail.
Rainbow trout, westslope cutthroat trout, various songbirds, eagles, osprey, herons, water fowl, turkeys, deer, fox and mink are abundant. It is rare, but still possible to see a black bear, mountain lion or coyote creeping through the woods.
Tours of the hatchery grounds and viewing of live fish are available, though limited. Arrangements with the hatchery must be made in advance. Self-guided tours of the nature trail are available. A Nature Explore outdoor classroom and play area is a new addition for the fall of 2012.
Open all year, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm daily.
Access to the hatchery is off of a paved county road.
There is ADA access to the hatchery office and upper nature trail. Portions of the nature trail are not accessible.
Travel Montana Highway 35 East to Creston, then continue east on Highway 35 for approximately one mile. Turn north on Creston Hatchery Road and follow the road approximately one mile to the hatchery entrance.
There is ample parking.
Fishing is not allowed in Mill Creek below the dam.
Restrooms are available on site. The multi-use pavilion may be reserved for picnics and gatherings. No drinking water is available.
Administrative Assistant, Creston National Fish Hatchery, 758-6869