Fish Hatcheries

Fish hatcheries were established in the 1800's, to enhance the number of fish in streams and lakes where native fish populations were declining due to changes in the natural environment. "Cultured" fish were used to replace fish that were lost from natural causes (drought, flood, habitat destruction) or human influences (over-harvest, pollution, habitat loss due to development and dam construction), to establish fish populations to meet specific management needs, and to provide for the creation of new and expanded recreational fisheries opportunities.

Today, fish hatcheries also provide hope for endangered fish species as well as providing research on fish disease, habitat, and the future of fish in general. Not all fish hatcheries allow recreational fishing, so call ahead to see what activities are allowed.

Find Recreation Areas with Fish Hatchery Activities

Practice Good Stewardship of our Hatcheries:

You can help to take care of our hatcheries, lakes, rivers, and other waterways so that others may enjoy these areas for years to come by practicing some of the following actions:

Don't Litter... take along a trash bag or other receptacle for collecting your trash so that you can deposit it in the proper trash receptacle. Use proper dumping stations instead of tossing refuse into the water.

Make sure that you use the correct type of bait and fishing gear permitted in that area. There may also be limits on the number, size, and kind of fish that you can keep. Check with your destination ahead of time to see what the local regulations allow.

If you use a boat or watercraft when fishing, check to see what kinds of watercraft are allowed at the body of water where you are going to fish.

Pay attention to local procedures and cautions at hatcheries and for cleaning your watercraft after you leave the water so that you don't encourage the spread of non-native species, such as the Zebra Mussel, to the next body of water you may visit with your boat.

Don't fish in areas where it is not permitted. These areas have been declared "off limits" to fishing to protect wildlife, vegetation, or for your safety.

Safety While Fishing and while visiting Hatcheries:

  • If using a boat to fish, wear your life jacket and make sure that your passengers wear theirs, too !
  • Use caution when baiting and removing hooks
  • Don't kick or dislodge pebbles or other debris into the hatchery beds... these objects can harm developing fish!
  • Do not fish on unauthorized waterways
  • If operating a houseboat, be careful of carbon monoxide build-up around the boat
  • Obey the posted speedlimits and wake warnings if using a watercraft when fishing
  • Bring along extra safety items such as water, flashlights, maps, and a cellphone or radio
Photo-Fish Hatcheries
photo courtesy of US Fish and Wildlife Service employee feeding fish at fish hatchery
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