Jackson National Fish Hatchery
Mountain-Prairie Region
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Jackson National Fish Hatchery

1500 Fish Hatchery Road | Jackson, WY 83001
Hours: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Phone: (307) 733-2510 | E-mail: jackson@fws.gov

About The Hatchery

Partnerships | Species & Production | Broodstock Program | Volunteers | Public Information | Open / Close All

Overview shot of Jackson NFH. Credit: USFWS.

Overview shot of Jackson NFH. Credit: USFWS.

About Us

Jackson National Fish Hatchery was originally established in 1950 as part of the Palisades Dam Act to improve fish populations along the headwaters of the Snake River. The hatchery's primary emphasis is producing eggs and fish to mitigate for fish losses from Federal water development projects and to provide the same for States, Tribes, and research facilities.

Jackson National Fish Hatchery is unique in that the hatchery is physically located on the Fish & Wildlife Service's National Elk Refuge. The hatchery rears trout for a distribution area that covers close to 18,000 square miles. The hatchery is also part of the Fish & Wildlife Service's National Broodstock Program.


Partnerships »

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Jackson National Fish Hatchery operates with support from partners, including: National Elk Refuge, U.S. Geological Survey, Wyoming Department of Game & Fish, Idaho Department of Fish & Game, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, Wind River Indian Reservation, and other Federal/State agencies and hatcheries. In addition, many local schools, civic groups, and citizens have been involved with the hatchery's research, operations, and education. The hatchery has also partnered with Trout Unlimited to do an angler study on the impacts of streamside erosion on the National Elk Refuge.

These many dedicated partners and volunteers help keep Jackson National Fish Hatchery operating to bring recreational angling opportunities and healthy aquatic ecosystems to you, your family, and future generations.


Species & Production »

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Stocking a local reservoir with native cutthroat trout. Credit: USFWS.

Stocking a local reservoir with native cutthroat trout. Credit: USFWS.

To meet the trout production demands, the hatchery facilities include 21 raceways, 12 rectangular tanks, and 4 circular tanks that are fed by four wells and a series of springs. Each year, Jackson National Fish Hatchery produces 1 million eggs and 200,000 trout. Additionally, 5-10 different water areas are stocked.

As a result of the Jackson National Fish Hatchery propagation and broodstock program, economic benefits weigh-in at over 50,000 angler days of recreational fishing valued at over $5 million.

Currently, the hatchery produces Snake River cutthroat trout to fill needs for Federal, State, and Tribal waters in Wyoming and Idaho. These trout help to restore fish populations, mitigate losses due to federal water projects in Idaho and Wyoming, encourage sustainable fish populations and provide angling opportunities for recreational users like you.


Broodstock Program »

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Photo: Adult female Snake River Cutthroat trout. Credit: USFWS.

Adult female Snake River Cutthroat trout. Credit: USFWS.

Broodstock are adult fish that produce eggs and sperm. The broodstock at Jackson National Fish Hatchery are reared for three years to adult size, at which time eggs can be taken and fertilized with sperm. The eggs are then incubated, hatched out and raised to stockable sizes.

Trout spawn once a year. The cutthroat trout at this hatchery spawn during the spring and early summer months. Eggs are taken from each female by gently pressing her abdomen. If she is "ripe" she will readily release her eggs into a shallow pan. Sperm is collected from male fish in the same manner and is mixed with the eggs to fertilize them. The fertilized eggs are placed in incubators, which resemble a chest of drawers, where a steady flow of 48 degree Fahrenheit water supplies oxygen to the developing embryos. The eggs take about four weeks to hatch into tiny "fry". The fry are nourished for several weeks by the remaining yolk sac until it is used up and they swim to the surface in search of food.

Hatchery trout are fed a specially formulated dry food which, when the fry first begin to feed, is about as fine as table salt. As the young fish grow, the particle size of their diet is increased. Trout grow at the rate of about 1/2 inch per month in 48 degree Fahrenheit water. The trout are stocked into lakes and streams at sizes ranging from three to eight inches long, depending on the requests of state and federal biologists.

Illustration of the fish production cycle. Credit: USFWS.


Volunteers »

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Hard working volunteers taking a break. Credit: USFWS.

Hard working volunteers taking a break. Credit: USFWS.

Jackson Volunteers

Jackson National Fish Hatchery benefits greatly each year through the help of volunteers. From Memorial Day through Labor Day they assist with such things as greeting visitors, answering questions, guiding tours, lawn maintenance, gardening and cleaning. There are also opportunities to become involved in small construction projects, spawning broodstock, and stocking fish. If you enjoy being outdoors and active, this could be what you're looking for.

Because the hatchery is open daily, our volunteers are asked to rotate work schedules with three days ON followed by three days OFF. Hours of operation are 8 am to 4 pm. Volunteer shirts, hats, and jackets are provided during your stay. The non-monetary positions include such benefits as a large, full-hookup RV pad and laundry on the premises. The view looks out across the National Elk Refuge, with Jackson Peak and the Sleeping Indian in the background.

Positions are filled using www.volunteer.org. For more information, please contact the hatchery. We look forward to numerous years of working together and making lasting friendships with our volunteers!


Public Information »

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Kids Fishing Day. Credit: USFWS.

Kids Fishing Day. Credit: USFWS.

Jackson National Fish Hatchery provides many exciting visitor opportunities. Open daily from 8:00 am to 4:00pm, except on Federal holidays, the hatchery welcomes visitors for a close-up view of the fish production process. With approximately 10,000 visitors annually, the public is invited to observe fish in several indoor tanks and view photographic displays of spawning and stocking. A separate building outside contains information on fishing and aquatic invasive species. Guided hatchery tours are available for school groups with reservations.

Activities available on-site include:

  • Sleeping Indian Pond on hatchery grounds is very popular for public fishing enjoyment. The 1/2 acre pond has a disability accessible observation/fishing deck that is available to anglers daily from 8 am to 4pm. The pond is an excellent place for children and first time anglers, whether it be fly fishing or just a worm. Nonresident children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult with a license. There is a one fish limit per license. Wyoming fishing regulations apply. Equipment and licenses are not available on-site.
  • Wildlife/bird watching

    Be sure to bring your binoculars and test your wildlife and birding knowledge!
  • Photography

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 08, 2015
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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