Harrison Lake National Fish Hatchery (NFH) is a 444-acre U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service facility located in the quiet rural setting of Virginia’s historic tidewater plantation country. Established and constructed in the 1930s to provide warm-water fish for stocking in lakes and ponds, Harrison Lake NFH now plays a key role in the Service’s efforts to protect and restore declining and imperiled populations of migratory fish and other aquatic species of Atlantic coast watersheds. American shad, historically the most important fish of the Chesapeake Bay, has dominated our production in recent years. Since 1994, Harrison Lake NFH has produced and stocked 66 million American shad for interagency restoration projects in Virginia and Maryland. We also rear river herring, striped bass, and are working closely with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to culture imperiled and declining freshwater mussel species for recovery and restoration efforts.
We are not your typical hatchery! Recreational opportunities at Harrison Lake NFH such as fishing, boating, hiking, wildlife watching, and picnicking attract most of our visitors. Our aquaculture often goes unnoticed by visitors since we conduct most of it inside our buildings, and the dark water in our outdoor ponds makes it difficult to see any fish we have in them. However, if you time your visit during April and May, you can witness the production of hundreds of thousands of young American shad in our fish house.
Harrison Lake NFH is just one of the many field stations of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service whose mission is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.