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Valley City National Fish Hatchery
Mountain-Prairie Region
Graphic button showing the 8 state mountain prairie region

Valley City National Fish Hatchery

11515 River Rd | Valley City, ND 58072
Phone: (701) 845-3464 | Email: Kurt_Eversman@fws.gov

About Valley City National Fish Hatchery

Baldhill Dam Rearing Unit | Our Goals | What's New? | Species | Research | Partnerships | Public Use Area | Public Information | National Archery in Schools | Youth Conservation Corps | Girl Scout Camp | Valley City Wetland Management District | Open / Close All

  • Aerial View of Valley City National Fish Hatchery. Credit: USFWS.

    Aerial View of Valley City National Fish Hatchery. Credit: USFWS.

  • Valley City National Fish Hatchery and Wetland Management District sign. Credit: USFWS.

    Valley City National Fish Hatchery and Wetland Management District sign. Credit: USFWS.

  • Valley City National Fish Hatchery sign. Credit: USFWS.

    Historic photo of the Valley City National Fish Hatchery sign. Credit: USFWS.

About Us

The Valley City National Fish Hatchery (NFH) is operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and consists of the main hatchery at Valley City, and a smaller subunit at Baldhill Dam. The station is located three miles northwest of Valley City, North Dakota along County Road Number 17 in the Sheyenne River Valley. Water for fish culture is pumped from the Sheyenne River under several permits.

The Valley City Hatchery is one of two Federal Fish Hatcheries responsible for providing quality fishing opportunities in North Dakota and throughout the Great Plains Region. The other National Fish Hatchery, Garrison Dam NFH (with a link) is located in Riverdale, ND along the Missouri River.

Valley City NFH was originally built for bass and bluegill production. The hatchery site was purchased on July 26, 1938 from the State of North Dakota for the sum of $1.00. Construction was started in 1938 and completed in 1940. WPA and labor was administered under the direct supervision of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The hatchery infrastructure consists of 14 earthen ponds totaling 25.8 surface acres of extensive fish culture as well as two intensive fish production buildings, a zero discharge water re-use building designed for research and a holding house building designed for egg incubation and early life stage rearing.


Baldhill Dam Rearing Unit »

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  • Bald Hill Dam. Credit: USFWS.

    Bald Hill Dam. Credit: USFWS.

  • Historical photo of the Bald Hill Dam sign. Credit: USFWS.

    Historical photo of the Bald Hill Dam sign. Credit: USFWS.

The Baldhill rearing unit lies directly below Baldhill Dam 12 miles northwest of Valley City, North Dakota on County Road 17. The unit was acquired through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and provided the Service with a unique opportunity to increase fish production. The water source for Baldhill is Lake Ashtabula.

The Baldhill Unit consists of 20 earthen ponds totaling 15.2 surface acres of extensive fish culture as well as an intensive fish production building designed for egg incubation, early life stage rearing of native and endangered fish and freshwater mussel propagation. Valley City National Fish Hatchery (NFH) along with the Baldhill Dam Rearing Unit plays an important role in providing quality fishing opportunities throughout the Great Plains Region and in restoring Lake Sturgeon and Freshwater Mussel populations within the Hudson Bay Drainage.


Our Goals »

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the lead Federal agency responsible for stewardship of the nation’s fish and wildlife resources. Although there are some fisheries that can be maintained through natural reproduction, most fisheries today cannot keep up with existing fishing pressure and habitat changes. National Fish Hatcheries have the ability to provide fish necessary to meet the growing needs of the resource and the angler.


What's New? »

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Photo of a Lake Sturgeon. Credit: USFWS.

Photo of a Lake Sturgeon. Credit: USFWS.

Lake Sturgeon Program

Valley City NFH began producing lake sturgeon for the State of Minnesota DNR and the Lake Sturgeon Recovery program in 2007. After several years of inconsistent production results the program was put on hold. In 2012 the program was brought back online after a much needed redesign was completed at the intensive culture building at Baldhill Dam NFH.

The purpose of the lake sturgeon program at Valley City NFH is to assist other state, federal and tribal organizations with restoring or establishing lake sturgeon populations within their historic range, the Hudson Bay Drainage. To date, more than a quarter million fingerling lake sturgeon have been stocked into waters within their historic range. The program has observed success with its restoration efforts and recently, the state of Minnesota has opened a limited catch season where anglers are able to fish for this magnificent creature!

Since 2012 the lake sturgeon program at Valley City NFH as raised approximately 1,000 fingerlings for the lake sturgeon recovery program. The hatchery is currently in the process of developing standard operating procedures for propagation which will allow the facility to have a bigger role in the program. Stay tuned!


Freshwater Mussels. Credit: USFWS.

Freshwater Mussels. Credit: USFWS.

Freshwater Mussel Program

In 2012, Valley City NFH launched a freshwater mussel program that is focused on propagating five state listed mussel species that are thought to be in decline in North Dakota waters. Valley City NFH is working closely with Genoa NFH and White Sulfur Springs NFH to develop standard operating procedures for animal husbandry and rearing of these unique creatures. Currently, the hatchery maintains a small sample of each species in refugia until propagation techniques can be developed. For more information on freshwater mussel propagation please visit the sites below.

Genoa National Fish Hatchery

White Sulfur Springs National Fish Hatchery

For interesting facts and some freshwater mussel biology and video: http://unionid.missouristate.edu/


Primitive Nature Trail and Pollinator Garden

Volunteers working in garden. Credit: USFWS.

Volunteers working in garden. Credit: USFWS.

Valley City NFH just recently constructed a primitive nature trail and pollinator garden on the Earl Pomeroy public use area located just east of the main hatchery entrance. Funding for the project was made possible by a grant from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters aimed at connecting kids with the outdoors. The project was managed by students at Valley City State University who designed and helped implement both the garden and the trail.

The pollinator garden consists of 350 plants that represent more than 50 species of forbs and grasses native to North Dakota. The idea behind the garden and subsequent trail is to give visitors a clear example of the types of forbs and grasses that occur in the local and surrounding area. As they walk on the trail they should be able to point out some of those species displayed in the garden. This should be of particular interest to grade school students or young adults in college. For more information on pollinators please check out the link below.

http://www.fws.gov/pollinators/PollinatorPages/trails.html


Renovation of the Kids Fishing Pond. Credit: USFWS.

Renovation of the Kids Fishing Pond. Credit: USFWS.

Renovated Kids Fishing Pond

The Valley City NFH kids fishing pond was renovated in the fall of 2013. Since inception in the early 1940’s the kids fishing pond has been used in several different ways. The pond started out as a lagoon to trap organics from the production ponds to cut down on the amount of organic material that was being discharged into Sheyenne River. In the 1960’s and 1970’s the lagoon turned into refugia for Canada geese where staff spent many long hours caring for nesting birds and newly hatched goslings. It wasn’t until the mid to late 1990’s that the goose pond was turned into a kids fishing pond.

In 2012 hatchery staff noticed that the pond had significant winter kill when the ice melted off the pond in the spring. Measurements were taken and it was determined that the kids fishing pond was only three foot deep. Based on the hatcheries geographical location it didn’t make sense to have such a shallow pond when some of the area’s major reservoirs have up to 36 inches of ice accumulation each winter. It was evident that the majority of the fish stocked into the pond were dying when the pond froze out each winter.

Hatchery staff partnered with Barnes County Wildlife Federation and the North Dakota Game and Fish to address this issue by deepening the pond to 14 feet at the west end of the pond. A grant totaling 24,999 dollars was provided by the North Dakota Game and Fish to the wildlife club to allow the project to move forward. In the spring of 2014 the hatchery staff will stock the pond with bluegill giving kids from the local and surrounding community the opportunity to caught one of those tasty little treats.

The pond is intended to be used by children under the age of 12 who are accompanied by a parent or guardian. The pond is open for fishing year round from dawn to dusk. For more information contact the hatchery office at 701-845-3464.


Species »

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  • Black Sandshell. Credit: USFWS.

    Black Sandshell. Credit: USFWS.

  • Pink Heelsplitter. Credit: USFWS.

    Pink Heelsplitter. Credit: USFWS.

  • Wabash Pigtoe. Credit: USFWS.

    Wabash Pigtoe. Credit: USFWS.

  • Threeridge. Credit: USFWS.

    Threeridge. Credit: USFWS.

  • Maple Leaf. Credit: USFWS.

    Maple Leaf. Credit: USFWS.

Valley City NFH is responsible for meeting both State and Federal fish requests for the eastern part of North Dakota. The hatchery propagates native fish such as northern pike, walleye, and lake sturgeon) and is working on developing a mussel propagation program focused on propagating up to five native mussels such as black sandshell, pink heelsplitter, Wabash pigtoe, threeridge and mapleleaf.

Propagation needs and subsequent requests vary year-to-year in response to how well each population is doing in the wild. The purpose of raising hatchery fish is to make sure that fish populations are maintained for future generations and their use.

The hatchery has the capability to propagate fish species in addition to the species mentioned above. Once State and Federal agencies complete fish population assessments of each body of water throughout North Dakota most likely requests will be made to propagate additional species. Please refer to the lists below to see what the facility is currently propagating and what the hatchery will be working on in the future.

  • Bluegill. Credit: USFWS.

    Bluegill. Credit: USFWS.

  • Largemouth Bass. Credit: USFWS.

    Largemouth Bass. Credit: USFWS.

  • Big Crappie. Credit: USFWS.

    Big Crappie. Credit: USFWS.

  • Channel Catfish. Credit: USFWS.

    Channel Catfish. Credit: USFWS.

  • Muskellunge (commonly known as Muskie ). Credit: © Noel M. Burkhead.

    Muskellunge (commonly known as Muskie ). Credit: © Noel M. Burkhead.

Current Fish Production
Fish species being produced at the Hatchery include; Bluegill, Black crappie, Largemouth bass, Channel catfish and pure Muskellunge (commonly known as Muskie )

Future Fish Production
Future fish production may include; Blacknose shiner, Flathead chub, Hornyhead chub, Central stoneroller, Finscale dace, Log perch, Pearl dace, Northern red bell dace, Pugnose shiner, Rosyface shiner, River darter, Silver chub and Trout Perch


Research »

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Valley City State University Poster.

Valley City NFH works with a variety of partners including the North Dakota Game and Fish, Valley City State University Fish and Wildlife Department and Valley City State University Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Department. By cost sharing various research projects the hatchery is able to conduct research to advance the science of fish and aquatic animal husbandry and aquaculture. The results of which have been used to more efficiently and effectively produce fish and other aquatic animals at the three Federal hatcheries in North Dakota.

Valley City NFH has been involved with aquaculture related research since the early 1970’s after the hatchery built a then state-of-the-art recirculating research building. The facility was instrumental at developing some of the first known methods of dry diet transitioning for walleye and muskie. More recently, the facility has focused on developing more efficient and effective ways to increase zooplankton production in its extensive production ponds. To learn more about the hatcheries research projects please click on the poster image. To learn more about the partners mentioned above please visit http://gpstem.vcsu.edu/ or http://www.vcsu.edu/academics/divisions/mshpe/vp.htm?p=902.


Partnerships »

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Partner logos.

Partner Logos: Valley City State University, Prairie Waters Education & Research Center, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, National Wildlife Refuge System, US Army Corps of Engineers, and the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

Valley City NFH maintains key partnerships with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and North Dakota Game and Fish Department. In addition to agency partners, the Valley City NFH receives support from Valley City State University, Great Plains STEM center, Prairie Waters Educational Center, Barnes County Wildlife Federation and Muskies Inc. which have all made it possible to maintain the facility in its current state. Volunteers from local and surrounding communities, as well as people from throughout the state of North Dakota, help with a wide range of daily hatchery activities from lawn maintenance to fish husbandry. On any given day during production season you are sure to find at least one volunteer at the hatchery.


Public Use Area »

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Public use area at Valley City National Fish Hatchery. Credit: USFWS.

Public use area at Valley City National Fish Hatchery. Credit: USFWS.

The Valley City NFH has several areas specifically designed to enhance the visitors experience while touring the hatchery. To the east of the main hatchery entrance is a day use area that has a pollinator garden, primitive nature trail, covered picnic areas and a fire ring. To the west of the main entrance is a day use area complete with a primitive canoe launch, picnic bench/shelter and charcoal grill area. As you enter the main hatchery grounds visitors will find additional picnic areas around the kids fishing pond. If you are in the mood for a little bit of exercise visitors are encouraged to walk or run around the gravel roads that shape the hatcheries production ponds. The public use areas at the fish hatchery are open year round from dawn until dusk. For more information contact the hatchery office at 701-845-3464.


Public Information »

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Children fishing at Valley City National Fish Hatchery. Credit: USFWS.

Children fishing at Valley City National Fish Hatchery. Credit: USFWS.

The Valley City NFH provides several visitor opportunities for individuals interested in learning more about the Service’s role in resource conservation. The best time of year to visit the facility is in early spring where visitors are sure to see a variety of birds, mammals and best of all, the start of the hatchery fish production season. Throughout the spring, summer and fall months visitors have access to a nature trail/pollinator garden, a youth archery range, and a kids fishing pond stocked full of rainbow trout and bluegill. The hatchery has archery equipment and fishing poles that are available to borrow while visiting the facility.

The hatchery is open year around. Admission is free. Group tours are available but please call in advance to ensure that the hatchery can provide your group with the best experience possible. The facility is located thirty minutes to the east of Jamestown, ND on interstate 94. Take exit 290; turn left at the bottom of the off ramp and continue to Main Street. Turn right and Take Main Street through town (approximately three miles) to Fifth Street. Turn left and head north three miles passing under the historic train bridge and going over the Sheyenne River. Turn left after the grain elevator travel down the road several miles and make a left to enter the facility. Please reference the below picture provided by goggle maps. Stop by to see what your National Fish Hatchery is doing for you. We look forward to visiting with you soon!

Directions to Valley City National Fish Hatchery. Credit: USFWS.

Directions to Valley City National Fish Hatchery (Click or tap image to view a larger version). Credit: USFWS.


National Archery in Schools »

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  • Archery range. Credit: USFWS.

    Archery range. Credit: USFWS.

  • Children practice archery. Credit: USFWS.

    Children practice archery. Credit: USFWS.

  • Students wait to begin archery practice. Credit: USFWS.

    Students wait to begin archery practice. Credit: USFWS.

  • Outdoor target area. Credit: USFWS.

    Outdoor target area. Credit: USFWS.

The National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) is designed to teach international style target archery in fourth to twelfth grade physical education classes. Core content covers archery history, safety, technique, equipment, mental concentration, core strengthening physical fitness and self-improvement. Students shoot at 80cm bulls-eye targets placed before an arrow curtain in their gymnasium. Equipment used is state-of-the-art and designed to fit every student. The NASP program brings the sport of archery to millions of students in schools across the United States.

The Valley City NFH has partnered with several organizations, including the North Dakota Game and Fish, Barnes County Wildlife Federation, Valley City Parks and Recreation, and Delta Targets to provide this unique service to the local and surrounding communities in southeast North Dakota. To date the hatchery has eight block targets, twenty-three 3D targets, twenty-eight bows and the ability to set up to two (?) different ranges at the same time.

The hatchery works closely with all of its partners to provide plenty of opportunities to get involved with this unique program such as the NASP state tournament held each year in Bismarck, ND, a six week class for middle school aged kids in Valley City, ND, and a summer long open archery range at the Valley City NFH where anyone can come give archery a try.

If you would like more information about the NASP program or, more specifically, the hatcheries program, please visit www.naspschools.org or call the fish hatcheries office at 701-845-3464.


Youth Conservation Corps »

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YCC program photo from 1960. Credit: USFWS.

YCC program photo from 1960. Credit: USFWS.

The Youth Conservation Corps Act of 1970 (YCC), establishes permanent programs within the Departments of Interior to provide young adults ages fifteen to eighteen an opportunity to experience a summer job working in a conservation field. YCC programs are conducted for eight to ten weeks during which time students spend most of their time in the outdoors embracing both work and environmental learning goals. All participants are expected to gain an understanding and appreciation of the nation’s environment and heritage equal to one full academic year of study.

The Youth Conservation Corp (YCC) program at Valley City National Fish Hatchery began in the late 1960’s as a pilot program. Initial enrollment was low, but after several years of growth the program had grown to 29 enrollees by the late 1970’s. The goal of the program is to provide each participant with hands-on experience that reflects the hatcheries role in resource conservation while exposing the participants to various other aspects of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. If you know someone that is between the ages of fifteen to eighteen and interested in working in the outdoors please refer to the following link and apply today!

fws.gov/mountain-prairie/ycc


Girl Scout Camp »

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  • Girl Scouts at Camp Tonweya cooking outdoors. Credit: USFWS.

    Girl Scouts at Camp Tonweya cooking outdoors. Credit: USFWS.

  • The 'Kook House' at Camp Tonweya Girl Scout camp. Credit: USFWS.

    The "Kook House" at Camp Tonweya Girl Scout camp. Credit: USFWS.

  • Camp Tonweya Girl Scout camp. Credit: USFWS.

    Camp Tonweya Girl Scout camp. Credit: USFWS.

  • Campers pose for a group photo at Camp Tonweya Girl Scout camp. Credit: USFWS.

    Campers pose for a group photo at Camp Tonweya Girl Scout camp. Credit: USFWS.

Camp Tonweya, a Girl Scout camp located on the fish hatchery property, provides Girl Scouts with a camping experience which allows girls to spend time together in an outdoor setting, to learn how to make their own decisions, and to do fun activities with other girls of their own age. The most important benefits for the camper are the opportunities to make new friends, enjoy the outdoors, gain confidence trying new activities and developing new skills, and to be a member of a caring family.

The camp, managed by Dakota Horizons in Fargo, ND, was established in the 1940’s to get kids involved with the hatchery. The camp has a variety of users including Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H groups and Future Farmers of America. The camp provides the opportunity to get kids more involved with nature and the facility has developed programs to accommodate that learning.

For more information please visit gsdakotahorizons.org


Valley City Wetland Management District »

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Valley City National Fish Hatchery and Wetland Management District sign. Credit: USFWS.

Valley City National Fish Hatchery and Wetland Management District sign. Credit: USFWS.

Valley City NFH is the home for the National Wildlife Refuge Valley City Wetland Management District Office. In 1974, an informal agreement between the hatchery and the District was put into action. The agreement provided a path for both offices to carry out their jobs efficiently and effectively while reducing costs for the Fish and Wildlife Service.

For more information please click here fws.gov/arrowwood/valleycity_wmd/

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with Others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American People.
Last modified: April 21, 2014
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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