Deer Mountain Hatchery
The small Deer Mountain Hatchery along Ketchikan Creek is just across a footbridge from the Totem Heritage Center. Signboards illustrate the process of breeding and rearing king salmon, coho salmon, and steelhead; visitors can feed the young fish.
The hatchery is run by the Ketchikan Indian Council (907/228-5530, www.kictribe.org, daily 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. May–Sept.), with educational tours and a video on the salmon life cycle. A large enclosure houses two eagles with permanent injuries—you might even see them catching salmon. Tours are $10, or $15 for a combination hatchery tour and eagle center presentation.
King salmon arrive from the Pacific Ocean to spawn at the hatchery late in the summer; look for them in the creek. A fish ladder to help them get past the falls is visible from the Park Avenue bridge.
If too many fish return to spawn, the state opens Ketchikan Creek to dip-net fishing by locals, creating an astounding scene. Thousands of pink salmon (humpback salmon, or “humpies”) also spawn in the creek each summer. Another good place to see spawning humpies is Hoadly Creek, a half-mile south of the ferry terminal.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition