Coursey Springs State Fish Hatchery Closed for Renovations
The largest trout hatchery owned by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) closed for renovations June 1, 2008. Coursey Springs Hatchery has been responsible for about 30 percent of the 1.2 million trout stocked annually by VDGIF. The more than 40 years old hatchery will be completely rebuilt into a new state-of–the-art fish production facility which will include spring protection, covered raceways, and a wastewater treatment facility. Renovations are expected to take 18-24 months.
Even though the Department’s Fisheries Division is planning to utilize every bit of available hatchery space to produce trout at its other facilities, anglers can expect that there will be less trout stocked out during the renovation period. Currently, “designated trout waters” are stocked from 3 to 8 times annually depending on their classification. While the hatchery is under construction, VDGIF will reduce the number of stockings for each category. Category A waters will get 6 stockings from October to May, Category B waters will go from 5 to 4 stockings and Category C, Delayed Harvest, and urban waters will get 2 stockings annually.
Fisheries Division Director Gary Martel hopes trout anglers will be understanding during the renovations. “When completed, the new Coursey Springs facility will not only produce more trout, but anglers should also expect to see larger, better quality fish,” stated Martel. “Total production from Coursey Springs is expected to increase by as much as 50 percent following the renovation.”
Coursey Springs hatchery will be closed to public visitation during construction. Spring Run below the hatchery will be closed to fishing and remain closed during the construction period. The Fisheries Division will be renovating the stream, which will improve water quality and trout habitat.
Members of the public interested in touring a fish hatchery are encouraged to visit the Department’s other four trout facilities located in Marion, Montebello, Wytheville, and Paint Bank. The hatcheries are opened to the public everyday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
For more information on fishing and the trout stocking program in Virginia visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website at www.dgif.virginia.gov.