Hatching Trout

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Shhh!  It's kind of a secret.  Black Hills streams are perfect trout habitats, as fishermen know, but these fish aren't native to the area.  When immigrants swarmed to the Black Hills in the late 1800s, they were surprised to find no trout.  All trout caught here today are descended from imported fish.  In 1896 Congress authorized a federal trout hatchery to be developed in Spearfish, and it was operational in 1899.  Black Hills waters were transformed.  Today the D.C. Booth Historic Fish Hatchery is a park-like interpretive center.  You reach it by taking a foot bridge across Spearfish Creek from Spearfish's City Park.  The hatchery is free and you can stroll amid raceways and ponds, tossing food pellets to trout.  Kids love it.  WARNING: your kids' hands and probably yours, too, will smell fishy the rest of the day after handling the food pellets.  Maybe tomorrow, too.

Photos by Maggie Schneider

Follow Paul Higbee:

Paul writes about the Black Hills for in-flight airline publications, academic magazines, South Dakota Magazine, public TV, newspapers and websites. He is the author of five books, all Black Hills themed. He lives in the Black Hills. He's obviously no Renaissance Man with varied interests, but if the Black Hills are your thing, he's your guy.

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