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Spawning (egg taking) facilities

Fishing Wisconsin

Fish spawning (egg-taking) plays a vital role in maintaining the Great Lakes sport fishery for coho and chinook salmon, steelhead (migratory rainbow trout) and some brown trout. In early spring, for example, the Department of Natural Resources stocks steelhead into tributaries of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior where they imprint on the scent of the water before moving into the lakes. When the steelhead are adults, they return to those familiar streams to spawn.

Because the streams get too warm for the young trout or salmon to survive, the DNR spawns the adults, hatches the eggs, and rears them at state fish hatcheries.

When the fish are six inches long they are ready to smolt and trade in their large dark spots for a silvery sheen. At that time, they are released into tributary streams to imprint and the cycle begins again.

Egg-taking facilities: an eggs-traordinary experience

See how it all begins... Attend the Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility and Root River Steelhead Facility open houses.

You can see egg-taking procedures at three state egg-taking sites:

Strawberry Creek Spawning Facility

  • Strawberry Creek webpage
  • Species: Chinook salmon
  • Location: On Strawberry Avenue off of County Highway U, east of Sturgeon Bay and south of the ship canal in Door County
  • Dates: Temporarily closed
  • Hours: Temporarily closed.
  • Telephone: 920-388-1025

C.D. Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility

  • C.D. Besadny website
  • Species: Steelhead and brown trout, Coho and chinook salmon, spotted muskellunge and lake sturgeon
  • Location: 3884 Ransom Moore Lane - off of County Highway F, west of Kewaunee, on the west bank of the Kewaunee River, Kewaunee County
  • Dates: Temporarily closed
  • Hours: Temporarily closed
  • Telephone: (920) 388-1025
  • Note: Call ahead for tour information (minimum 10 people).

Root River Steelhead Facility

  • Species: Steelhead (rainbow) trout, Coho and chinook salmon
  • Location: On the Root River, inside Lincoln Park, in Racine, Racine County
  • Dates: Facility temporarily closed
  • Hours: Facility temporarily closed
  • Telephone: (262) 884-2300
  • Note: During the off-season or to schedule tours during operation, please call ahead. For more information see the online self-guided tour of the facility