MASON COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — The Jake Wolf Memorial Fish Hatchery in Mason County is a state-run Hatchery that has been churning out game fish for midwestern anglers for 40 years.

Jake Wolf Hatchery Natural Resources Coordinator Frank Sladek said they hatch about three to three and a half million a year.

“They are not only the catch for tomorrow’s anglers, they might be food for today’s bigger fish, and bird and reptiles,” Saldek said. “It’s not easy being a small fish.”

The Jake Wolf Hatchery can simultaneously raise 16 species of fish. That’s because it sits above the Mahomet Aquifer, a huge underground river that contains some of the most pristine cold water in the United States. 

“It comes out at 53 degrees, which is the perfect temperature for a lot of our cold-water fish, our salmon, and our trout,” Jake Wolf Hatchery Natural Resources Site Manager Paul Brown said.

As one group of fish has graduated into Illinois lakes and waterways, another breed of fish is beginning the maturation process in a tank at Jake Wolf.

More information is available at the Jake Wolf Memorial Fish Hatchery website.