If you're in the area, take the kids to the Nimbus Fish Hatchery to learn about king salmon and steelhead trout.
The Nimbus Hatchery Visitor Center offers fun and educational activities for children and adults of all ages. Enjoy the on-site nature trail along the American River to view wildlife, as well as the American River Parkway trail directly adjacent to the Nimbus Hatchery.
The long holding ponds at the hatchery are called raceways. They raise the fish in these raceways for about 6 months.
Nimbus Hatchery raises Chinook salmon and steelhead for release to the American River.
Usually in November, they'll open the fish ladder. You can think of a fish ladder as a stairway with water running down it. The fish will leave the American River and start swimming up the ladder. The top of the ladder is at the main building of the hatchery. Once fish reach the top, the hatchery will then start to process the fish and collect eggs from the female fish. You're able to watch the egg collection process. They only do it on certain days though. Here's how the hatchery describes it:
Watch egg-taking on the Spawning Deck through the viewing window. Salmon eggs are collected several times a week, usually in the morning (early-November through mid-December). Steelhead egg-taking occurs once a week (lateDecember through March).
Be sure to call ahead to confirm when the feeding times are. They pass out food at certain times for free. the kids can then run anywhere along the raceways to throw the fish pellets in.
There's a good amount of parking at the hatchery. But it can get filled up. If it's filled when you arrive, just wait 10 minutes and someone will leave.