Hidden Falls Hatchery is located in Kasnyku Bay on Baranof Island on Chatham Strait. This hatchery was built by the State of Alaska in 1978-79 and operated by the State until 1988 when operational responsibility was transferred to NSRAA.
In most years, Hidden Falls produces a larger chum return for common property harvest than any other facility in North America with returns averaging 1.7 million over the past decade (2001-2010), with a record return in 1996 of over 4 million fish. The run has attracted up to 240 seine boats during openings and provided fishermen with significantly greater fishing opportunity in the early portion of their seasons.
Hidden Falls releases about 84 million chum fry each spring, with half of the release from Kasnyku Bay and half from the Takatz Bay remote rearing site, about 10 miles south of the hatchery. Fry releases will increase to 94 million in the spring of 2012.
Coho and Chinook returns to Hidden Falls have increased substantially under NSRAA’s management as the result of two major hatchery expansions – one in 1987 and another in 2004. Hidden Falls releases about 600,000 Chinook smolts and 3.0 million coho smolts each year.
Hidden Falls coho and Chinook are harvested primarily by trollers and seiners.
Trollers harvest Hidden Falls kings, with peak catches from late-May through early July. Seiners also harvest many Chinook later in June and in early July as they target the chum salmon return. Chinook returns to Hidden Falls have averaged 17,700 fish over the past ten years (2001-2010), with a troll catch averaging 3,920 fish and a seine catch averaging 4,660 fish for the period.
Coho returns have averaged 204,000 fish over the past ten years, (2001-2010) including a commercial harvest averaging 73,500 fish per year.
The combination of large chum, Chinook and coho returns make this hatchery the most economically important program in Southeast.