Whitman Creek starts at an unnamed lake high in the mountains above George Inlet on the southeast coast of Revillagigedo Island and flows southeast through Whitman Lake, and then about 0.7 miles (1.1 km) to George Inlet, about 5 miles (8 km) east of Ketchikan and 0.5 miles (0.8 km) northeast of Herring Bay, Alaska. Whitman Creek was named after Whitman Lake and was first reported in 1966 by the U.S. Forest Service. Herring Bay is an estuary that extends northwest for 0.8 miles (1.3 km) from George Inlet. The name was first used by H.C. Fassett of the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries in 1904 and derived from the village of Herring Cove, a residential suburb of Ketchikan.
Whitman Lake Hatchery is located at the head of Herring Bay. The hatchery has been operational since 1978 and was designed as a central incubation facility where a large number of salmon are incubated and reared for release at remote sites away from the facility. The hatchery is critical to local fisheries since adult fish returning to the site are the source for Chinook, fall coho, and summer coho eggs. Chinook salmon released at Whitman Lake drive Ketchikan’s most popular and productive chinook sport fishery at Mountain Point where the fish congregate before entering hatchery raceways. Several thousand fish are caught annually in this “urban” sport fishery.
In 1927, Whitman Lake was a natural impoundment of Whitman Creek when a concrete gravity arch dam was constructed, 39 feet (11.8 m) high and 220 feet (67 m) long with a spillway 40 feet (12 m) wide, to increase the reservoir’s area to 148 acres (19 ha) and supply electricity to the New England Fish Company. In 2013, Ketchikan Public Utilities installed 4.6 MW of hydropower generating capacity at the existing Whitman Lake Dam to provide an additional source of clean renewable energy to the city of Ketchikan and Saxman Village. The project also included replacement of a penstock from the Whitman Lake Hatchery and created a diversion from Achilles Creek to Whitman Lake to increase water supply. Read more here and here. Explore more of Whitman Creek here: