In the mid 1950s, when two major dams were completed along the American River in California, the salmon and steelhead trout could no longer reach their usual spawning areas. Nimbus Fish Hatchery was created to provide a place for these fish populations to lay their eggs and reproduce. Now, different types of fish are spawning, hatching, and growing throughout the year at the Hatchery. Visitors can see the employees working with the fish, enjoy walking along the River Discovery Trail, explore the exhibits in the Visitor Center, or even feed the young fish.
- Salmon prefer to spawn in the main part of a river, so a removable barrier is placed in the water which directs the fish toward the hatchery.
- At a hatchery, the young fish must grow in a contained pond area called a raceway until they are large enough to be released somewhere. Salmon are released at about 6 months of age, when they are 4-5 inches long. Steelhead trout are not released until they are about a year old, or 8-10 inches long.