Corry State Fish Hatchery

Marking Time highlights one of the more than 2,500 markers that have been installed throughout the state since 1914 as part of the Pennsylvania Historical Marker Program, operated by PHMC's State Historic Preservation Office.

Constructed in 1876, the Corry State Fish Hatchery in Corry, Erie County, is the pioneer trout hatchery of the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission and one of the oldest in the nation. As the state’s prototype and its longest continually operating site, it represents the commonwealth’s earliest formal commitment to wildlife conservation and sport fishing. Hundreds of millions of fish raised there and at other state hatcheries have been stocked in rivers and streams statewide, making Pennsylvania a primary location for sport fishing. In addition, the state hatcheries have been instrumental in restoring species to their native waters.

Originally called the Western Hatchery, the Corry facility was created when north-western Pennsylvania was still a frontier. The location was chosen for its several large springs that maintain a uniform flow and even temperature, supporting many species of fish. In its first year the new site hatched and distributed 154,000 brook trout and 18,500 salmon trout. The 1881 Report of State Commissioners of Fisheries noted that the Corry facilities “compare favorably with the best of those of any state in the Union.” They were regarded by some as the best in the nation.

In 2017 the Fish & Boat Commission’s Annual Report noted that nearly 1.366 million fishing licenses and boating permits were sold, resulting in revenue of $25.6 million. Also, 5.2 million trout and 52.6 million other fish species were stocked in Pennsylvania’s streams, rivers and lakes, where 1.1 million anglers fished. Overall, an estimated $1.2 billion was generated from fishing that year.

The importance of Corry hatchery’s success and subsequent modeling for fish maintenance programs in other states is underscored by the fact that propagation of fish is the Fish & Boat Commission’s largest undertaking. Its investment in hatcheries is considered critical to economic development and has generated billions of dollars of revenue. In 1975 Pennsylvania Angler magazine noted that “millions of trout produced by this station have provided four generations of Pennsylvania sportsmen with countless hours of happy angling.” It is now approaching six generations that have benefitted from nearly 145 years of fish propagation science that began at Corry hatchery.

 

Corry State Fish Hatchery. Pennsylvania State Archives/MG-213

Corry State Fish Hatchery. Pennsylvania State Archives/MG-213

On July 15, 2010, the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission installed and dedicated a Pennsylvania Historical Marker for the Corry State Fish Hatchery at the entrance to the facility on the western outskirts of the city of Corry.

 

Karen Galle is on the staff of PHMC’s State Historic Preservation Office and has been the coordinator of the Pennsylvania Historical Marker Program since 2005.