Who We Are
The Greers Ferry National Fish Hatchery is one of more than 80 units in the National Fish Hatchery System administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Service also manages over 475 national wildlife refuges and major fish and wildlife research laboratories across the country. As the Nation’s primary steward of fish and wildlife resources, the Service provides leadership in habitat and wetlands protection; fish and wildlife research and technical assistance; and in the conservation and protection of migratory birds, anadromous fishes, certain marine mammals, and threatened and endangered species.
What We Do
Operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior, this National Fish Hatchery is one of many serving a vital role in the management of our country’s fishery resources.
Construction of a dam, regardless of its type, alters the entire environment within the river. The first and most obvious change takes place when the reservoir fills, but many changes may also take place below the dam. Some changes might be subtle, and others, like those in the Greers Ferry tailwaters, might be quite drastic. Greers Ferry Dam produces a large, deep reservoir in which the water stratifies into temperature layers during the summer. The water released into Little Red River comes from a deep, cool layer. The cool water released through the dam caused a loss of the original warm-water fish habitat and replaced it with the present cold tailwater.
The Greers Ferry Hatchery was established in 1965 to produce rainbow trout for restocking the cold tailwaters below Greers Ferry and other U.S. Corps of Engineers water projects (dams) located in Arkansas, eastern Oklahoma, and neighboring states. In cooperation with the State game and fish agencies, we distribute approximately 200,000 pounds of trout each year to suitable tailwaters below U.S. Corps of Engineers dams in Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. The hatchery’s water supply comes from Greers Ferry Reservoir at a depth of more than 100 feet below the water surface.
The temperature at this depth is cold the year round, ranging between 44° and 56°F. After the water is aerated to add oxygen, it flows through the hatchery at rates averaging 11,000 gallons per minute.
How We Do It
Greers Ferry does not have any adult trout for breeding purposes. The hatchery receives fertilized eggs from other Federal hatcheries, called broodstock hatcheries. The majority of eggs we receive are provided by Erwin National Fish Hatchery, a national brood stock hatchery located in Tennessee.
Eggs are received and incubated in the juvenile fish rearing area of the hatchery building from August through March. At this stage the fish are extremely vulnerable
, and we ask that visitors do not touch anything while in this area.
As the eggs hatch and the yolk sacs are absorbed, the young trout swim up from the bottom of the troughs and are fed commercial fish food 5-6 times a day. When they reach a size of approximately 2–3 inches (5-6 months old), the fingerling trout are transferred outside to the raceways.
In the raceway area, the fish are fed and cared for until they reach the 11-inch stocking size (approximately 20 months old). Feeding activities range from twice a day for the larger fish to 4–5 times daily for the smaller sizes.
Throughout the year fish are harvested from the raceways and distributed by truck for stocking in tailwaters and reservoirs in Arkansas and surrounding states. Greers Ferry National Fish Hatchery stocks approximately 1 million rainbow trout annually. Hopefully, we are providing you with the subject for your next “big fish story.”
Greers Ferry National Fish Hatchery Staff Directory
|Sherri Shoults||Hatchery Manager||501-362-3615|
|Eric Thompson||Assistant Hatchery Manager||501-362-3615|
|Greg McCormick||Fish Biologist||501-361-3615|
|Daniel Davis||Animal Caretaker||501-362-3615|
|James Pomraning||Maintenance Worker||501-362-3615|
Fish Species Produced
The hatchery produces rainbow and brook trout to be stocked in suitable tailwaters below U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dams located in Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I purchase a fishing license?
To review Arkansas Fishing Regulations and to purchase a license, please contact the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission at (800) 364-GAME or visit them online at http://www.agfc.com/fishing/.
To review Oklahoma Fishing Regulations and to purchase a license, please contact the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation at (405) 521-3851 or visit them online at http://www.wildlifedepartment.com/.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service does not issue fishing licenses.
Why do we need federal hatcheries and who pays for them?
Fish raised on Federal hatcheries are stocked in public waters to support Federal fishery responsibilities. These include fish for restoration where, for example, man-made dams have altered a stream’s natural reproductive capability; or to restore threatened or endangered populations. Fish are also used to support recreational fishing programs in Federal and state waters. Federal fish hatcheries are supported by tax dollars.
Do you have any fish for breeding? Where do you get the fish?
Greers Ferry does not have any adult trout for breeding purposes. The hatchery receives fertilized eggs from other Federal hatcheries, called broodstock hatcheries. Currently we receive eggs from Erwin NFH in Tennessee and Ennis NFH in Montana.
Where are the fish stocked? How often?
The trout are stocked in public fishing waters in Arkansas and Oklahoma which are suitable for trout. Trout are stocked year-round. In the summer, the Little Red River adjacent to the hatchery is stocked with more than 180,000 eleven inch rainbow trout.
Will trout live in a small pond?
Trout require cold water, usually less than 65°F, with lots of dissolved oxygen. In the Southeast, farm ponds get too warm for trout in the summer months. Rivers and tailwaters below large dams are more suitable habitat for rainbow and brook trout.
Is the hatchery open every day? What hours? It there a charge?
The hatchery is open every day except Thanksgiving and the Federal Christmas holiday. The visiting hours are 7 am-3 pm. There is no charge to visit the hatchery.
Do you provide fish to private individuals?
The hatchery does not provide fish to individuals. All fish raised at this facility are stocked into public waters.
Do you give tours of the hatchery?
Tours are self guided. Contact the Hatchery Office at 501-362-3615 for more details.
Revenue Generated: For every $1 of hatchery operational budget spent, $95 was put back into the economy (2012 economic data).