The Ennis National Fish Hatchery (NFH) was authorized by Congress in May 1930, and started fish culture operations in July 1933. Ennis National Fish Hatchery is different from other hatcheries. Most hatcheries produce fish of various sizes and then stock these fish in public lakes and streams, providing anglers with hours of fishing fun. Ennis NFH, however, operates as a broodstock hatchery and is the largest facility in the Service’s National Broodstock Program. It is one of only two rainbow trout broodstock hatcheries in the nationwide federal hatchery system.
A broodstock hatchery specializes in rearing fish to adult size, then taking the eggs from those fish, incubating them, and shipping them to production hatcheries where they are hatched and the fish raised to stockable sizes. Ennis produces about 20 million rainbow trout eggs annually for research facilities, universities and federal, state and tribal hatcheries in 23 states. As a result of the Ennis Broodstock Program, economic benefits weigh-in at 5 million angler days, generating $50 million per year. To meet the trout production demands, Ennis NFH facilities include 38 hatchery tanks, 48 circular tanks, and 36 raceways.
The hatchery also produces 350,000 fingerling rainbow trout for the state of Montana which are stocked in Montana lakes and reservoirs. After 3 or 4 years, broodstock (the adult fish that provide eggs) are “retired” and stocked into public waters in Montana's urban and youth programs. Ennis NFH continues to be whirling disease free, with spring and raceway covers to ensure its disease-free status.
Blaine Springs - It’s the Water!
Sometime in the geologic past, disturbances in the earth’s crust created an area where pure, disease-free, clean water bubbled from the ground. Today, Blaine Springs flows at a rate of 15,000 gallons per minute. Imagine pouring 240,000 glasses of ice tea every minute. That is the amount of water that comes out of the ground at Blaine Springs 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Blaine Springs is a very dependable water source. Only one decrease in flow was ever recorded, and that was in the spring of 1993 after several years of drought. April and May of that year resulted in abnormally large amounts of rainfall and the Spring resumed its normal flow. The water is a constant 54 degrees Fahrenheit, an ideal temperature to nurture trout. After passing through Ennis NFH, Blaine Springs water is used for irrigation by several ranches.
Last updated: January 23, 2012