The Frantzhurst Rainbow Trout Hatchery

Chaffee County Historic Resources Survey Series
By Fay Golson for The Chaffee County Heritage Area Advisory Board

The Frantzhurst Rainbow Trout Hatchery is the ninth property featured from the Chaffee County Historic Resources Survey. The trout farm, once labeled the “largest trout operation in the world,” continues to operate as a state-run fish hatchery. It is located approximately a half-mile northwest of Salida off Colo. 291. The hatchery’s annual production is about two million trout, which are used to stock Colorado’s many streams and lakes.

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Raising Rainbows – Horace Frantz’s legacy is a lake that bears his name

by Susan Bavaria

But Tessie weeks later shared a similar fate
And wound up one night on a Senator’s plate;
With lemon and spices and other things good
Our Tessie from Frantzhurst had now become food.”

from A Tale of Tessie the Trout © Frantzhurst Trout Farm

In the 1930s, the Frantzhurst Rainbow Trout Company of Salida shipped their product fresh in wooden boxes covered with ice by truck and refrigerated railway car. Two million pounds of rainbow trout went annually to clubs, hotels and restaurants from coast to coast who found its “firm white flesh” as good as advertised. The company employed about 30 people and was second only to the Royal Gorge Bridge in attracting tourists to this area.

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