If you’re a fishing enthusiast, you’ll want to check out the Coursey Springs State Fish Hatchery, where hundreds of thousands of trout are raised each year to stock Virginia streams. In fact, when you’re here at Fort Lewis Lodge, we usually suggest you take the short drive up the road to take the self-guided tour.
The hatchery, operated by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF), is about more than just fish. After a renovation project completed in 2010, this Bath County site now features a public nature trail where everything from bald eagles to bluebirds will delight any bird-watcher.
Take a quiet stroll and look for belted kingfishers, great blue herons, goldfinches and ospreys. Or simply enjoy the wildflowers.
Adjacent to the Cowpasture River, the 190-acre remote property includes ponds, creeks, meadows and naturalized fishing areas. A 1.6-acre spring pool provides the water used to operate the hatchery.
Coursey Springs is one of nine hatcheries operated by the DGIF. It produces upwards of 650,000 rainbow, brown and brook trout that are eventually end up in Virginia’s public waters for fishermen to catch.
No fish are actually spawned or hatched here – they’re brought to the hatchery as fingerlings and then raised to catchable size before being released. New technology that increases the oxygen levels in the rearing tanks is said to produce bigger, better fish.
The hatchery, built in the 1960s, is funded by fishing, boating and hunting licenses purchased in the state each year. The public is welcome to visit for free guided tours of the hatchery every day from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Coursey Springs is located off Route 678 south of Williamsville. For a video tour of the facility, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7yMmONMkbQ