The ODFW Visitors' Guide
|Fishing at Gnat Creek
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-
Steelhead are available to the angler from December through February and for the fisherman seeking spring chinook, May to July is the best time at Gnat Creek. The hatchery provides 2-1/2 miles of easy fishing access for spring chinook and winter steelhead.
Three nature trails wind through a Coast Range forest and the Nicolai-Wickiup Watershed, providing visitors with miles of recreational opportunities. The trails begin at Gnat Creek Hatchery where visitors can learn about the salmon lifecycle and how hatcheries play a role in revitalizing listed and endangered native fish populations. One trail leads to the campground, while the others weave through Clatsop State Forest.
|Hiking Gnat Creek Trails
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-
Along the trails are a variety of vegetation and habitats, many with marked plants, flowers and trees. A great place to hike year-round to see the seasonal changes of this coastal rainforest. Gnat Creek flows over an ancient basalt lava delta (Columbia River Basalt flows) that has been lifted by pressure to form the coast range. Gnat Creek falls nearly 2,000 feet over several water falls in just four short miles where it flows into the lower Columbia.
Year-round Wildlife Viewing
The beautiful rainforest trails at Gnat Creek Hatchery and adjacent Clatsop State Forest sets the stage for optimal wildlife viewing and recreation including a variety of vegetation, both new and old as well as diverse wildlife opportunities including salmon and steelhead runs, American bald eagles, salamanders, deer and elk and a multitude of migrating birds.
Year-round expect to see great blue heron, kingfisher, American dippers and migrating songbirds.
In spring and summer, look for migrating salmon and steelhead, osprey and the occasional bald eagle. Warm weather also brings the sound of Pacific treefrogs adding to the mid-summer night’s dream ambiance.
During fall and winter there are often opportunities to see black-tail deer and Roosevelt elk on the upper Gnat Creek trail. In cold weather, nesting bald eagles and a pileated woodpecker can be seen.
Group and School Visits
Located between Astoria and St. Helens right on Highway 30, Gnat Creek Hatchery features ample parking for personal vehicles or busses. The hatchery supports education outreach, hosting many visits and tours throughout the year for students of all ages. In 2008, the hatchery will build an outdoor classroom to further expand their commitment to education.
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