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The Bobby N. Setzer State Hatchery that raises trout for stocking of WNC’s creeks and rivers will be expanded in lieu of rebuilding the flood-damaged education building at the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education.

The Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education will not be rebuilding the education building ravaged by floods in August that was used to house a variety of outdoor programs for the public, from fly-tying workshops to kids’ nature programs.

Instead, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will use the footprint to expand operation of the Bobby N. Setzer State Fish Hatchery located on the same site to increase trout production.

Rather than provide on-site public programs, Pisgah Center staff will instead implement a new educational model to conduct programs at various locations across Western North Carolina.

“We will continue to offer the public educational opportunities in a variety of ways,” said Travis Casper, chief of the Wildlife Commission’s Education Division. “We’ve had success with hands-on programming in local schools, partner facilities and on the water along the many streams and rivers throughout the region. Our staff are excited about the opportunity to get creative and serve more members of the public.”

This flexibility will enable wildlife educators to offer programs at the agency’s hatcheries, public fishing access areas and other partner facilities throughout WNC. Being more mobile will increase outreach efforts.

The hatchery, which is adjacent to the damaged education building, was already scheduled for renovations starting in late 2022. The renovations will now include an educational component. The Wildlife Commission is working with the Setzer Hatchery design team and U.S. Forest Service personnel to explore increasing the footprint of the hatchery to gain efficiencies in operation and maximize fish production. Educational opportunities related to trout propagation, management and fishing skills will be considered.

In addition to public classes, the Center staff also offer various other programs for private groups, educators and community leaders. Groups can schedule the date, time and program topic of their choice, such as fly fishing.

To learn more, contact Lee Sherrill at 828-384-5270.

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