Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation planning to expand its fish hatchery with new facility


To keep up with the ever-increasing pressure on Saskatchewan’s fish stocks, especially walleye, the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation is planning to expand its fish hatchery and implement a more effective way to raise the popular gamefish. Currently in the design stage, a new facility is planned for the same site as the Saskatchewan Fish Hatchery on Echo Lake near Fort Qu’Appelle, which can currently only raise walleye up to the fry stage.

Due to recent advances in technology and feed, the proposed expansion will allow the facility to raise the fish until they’re fingerlings, which have a much higher survival rate in the wild. “The success rate to adulthood with fingerlings is hundreds of times better than it is with fry,” says the SWF’s executive director, Darrell Crabbe.


Under the current hatchery program, the SWF collects an average of 50 million walleye eggs during its annual spring spawn camp. Those eggs are then hatched into fry—a really good return might be 65 per cent, Crabbe says—which are then distributed into the provinces’ waterbodies. Only a very small percentage, as little as one per cent, of those fry grow into adults, however. As well, the existing hatchery uses a flow-through system, which is very wasteful and expensive to operate.

Incubating walleye is key to the SWF’s stocking program

The proposed new design will recirculate the water instead, Crabbe says, saving a great deal of money in maintenance and operational costs. And unlike outdoor rearing ponds, where fingerlings are traditionally raised, the new system will operate nearly year-round. “Being able to recirc is environmentally much friendlier,” Crabbe says. “From a control standpoint, it’s an exponential jump in efficiency for us from what we’re doing right now.”

The SWF has contracted Canadian Aquaculture Systems from Coburg, Ontario, to create the design for the facility, which is expected to cost between $4 million and $6 million.


Learn more about the SWF’s programs and positions at