Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery
Mountain-Prairie Region
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Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery

24495 East Jones Hole Hatchery Road | Vernal, UT 84078-2042
Phone: (435) 789-4481 | Fax: (435) 781-3024


About the Hatchery | Species and Production | Jones Hole Distribution | Partnerships | Public Information | Open / Close All


  • The entire length of Jones Hole Creek, as well as Jones Hole Trail, have been re-opened to public access by the National Park Service.
  • Several rock slides near Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery during summer 2013 caused closure of Jones Hole Trail and Creek to public access. The trail was re-opened later that summer, but portions of the creek remained closed to public access until August 2015.
  • Anglers can now fish or hike both the creek and trail from the trailhead near the hatchery downstream to the Green River.
  • Please observe all warning signs and be aware that there is still danger of potential rock slides. If you hear cracking or popping noises from the cliff face, you should leave the area immediately.
  • Visitors are reminded that Jones Hole Trail enters Dinosaur National Monument from the hatchery, and dogs or other pets are prohibited on the national monument.

Jones Hole Trail
Surrounding National Park Service land in Dinosaur National Monument
Park Service and hatchery boundary close to Ely Creek:

About the Hatchery »

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Entrance sign at Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery in Utah. Credit: Michelle Pagliasotti / USFWS.

Entrance sign at Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery in Utah. Credit: Michelle Pagliasotti / USFWS.

Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery (NFH) was established in 1956 when Congress authorized the Hatchery under Section 8 as part of the Colorado River Storage Project (CRSP), mandating that fish be reared and then stocked into all CRSP waters. CRSP waters include Flaming Gorge, and Steinaker and Redfleet Reservoirs. Located 40 miles northeast of Vernal on the Utah-Colorado border on 390 acres in a beautiful sandstone geologic setting, the hatchery provides management and production of trout for mitigation of Colorado River Storage Project waters of the Upper Colorado River System and to meet Tribal trust responsibilities on Native American land. Water for Jones Hole NFH comes from underground springs that are capable of supplying up to 15,000 gallons of water per minute. This volume of water is necessary to rear the large numbers of fish needed for stocking CRSP waters. The water temperature, 13 degrees Celsius (54 degrees Fahrenheit) year round, is ideal for rearing trout. Construction of Jones Hole NFH began in 1968, with the first trout produced in 1970. Now, up to 1.2 million trout are raised annually.

As the natural aquatic habitat changes from natural (drought, flood, habitat destruction) or human influences (over-harvest, pollution, habitat loss due to development and dam construction), the natural production of fish declines. Stocking of fish is one of the many management strategies used by biologists to help replenish the populations for years to come.

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Species and Production »

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Rainbow trout. Credit: USFWS.

Rainbow trout. Credit: USFWS.

The species of fish that are normally reared at Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery are:

  • rainbow trout
  • Kokanee salmon
  • cutthroat trout

To meet the high fish production demands, Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery has 40 rearing tanks and 50 raceways. In fiscal year 2000, Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery reared almost 2 million trout, and stocked fish in over 30 different water areas in Utah and Wyoming, the largest one being the Flaming Gorge Reservoir. As a result of Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery's stocking efforts, economic benefits weigh-in at 185,000 angler days valued at over $9.25 million per year.

Since this hatchery keeps no broodstock, approximately 2 million rainbow, cutthroat or Kokanee eggs are received annually from other Federal or State hatcheries. After disinfection, the eggs are incubated for approximately 10 days before hatching, and then placed in concrete rearing tanks inside. When the yolk sac is absorbed and the fry swim up, feeding is begun, first by hand and later with automatic feeders. The commercially prepared feed is a nutritionally balanced diet composed of fish products, cereals, vitamins and minerals, resulting in fish growth of as much as one inch per month.

Male and female Kokanee (land locked Sockeye salmon) Salmon. Credit: USFWS.

Male and female Kokanee (land locked Sockeye salmon) Salmon. Credit: USFWS.

After the trout reach the small fingerling stage or about 3" in length, they are transferred to concrete raceways outside. Unlike many hatcheries that move fish to the outside in portable tanks, Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery has a unique system of underground pipes that can move the fish directly from inside tanks to the outdoors. Feeding is done by hand or in some cases, with automatic feeders. During their growth period to stocking size, the fish are sample counted monthly to determine daily feed amounts and to control fish density in the raceways. Should fish disease occur, they are controlled by using approved chemicals applied either in the feed or water.

Currently, the hatchery produces a variety of trout species for the Upper Colorado River System. These trout help to replenish and encourage sustainable fish populations to promote a healthy Upper Colorado River Ecosystem and provide angling opportunities for recreational users like you!

Jones Hole Distribution »

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Fish stocking truck. Credit: USFWS.

Fish stocking truck. Credit: USFWS.

The fish distribution plan is cooperatively managed by federal or state biologists and Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery. Approximately 85% of all fish stocked from Jones Hole NFG are released into Colorado River Storage Project (CRSP) waters. The remaining fish are taken to Wind River Indian Reservation and some State-managed waters.

When the growing fish reach 5 to 10 inches, they are ready for stocking. Fish are transferred from the raceways to a tank truck by means of a motorized pump. A motorized fish pump can load and, through a water displacement process, measure the pounds of trout into the fish hauling trucks from the raceways without using nets. A life-support system using oxygenated water and insulated tanks keep the trout in good condition for the duration of the trip. Stocking usually occurs in spring and fall when receiving waters are a similar temperature to hatchery water. This procedure reduces the stress on the fish when they are placed into their new environment. In many instances, the requesting biologist will meet the delivery truck and aid in stocking.

Jones Hole NFH staff currently operates different sized distribution trucks capable of carrying up to 4,000 pounds of 8 inch fish per trip. These trucks make more than 100 deliveries per year between April and October.

Partnerships »

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Jones Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery operates closely through a series of partnerships, including:

In addition to other Service and State hatcheries, many local schools and citizens are actively involved with the hatchery's research, operations, and education.

These many dedicated partners and volunteers help keep Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery operating to help bring trout to the Upper Colorado River System and promote a healthy aquatic ecosystem for you, your family, and future generations!

Public Information »

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Visitors Welcome!

Click here for a PDF map of the hatchery (314 KB PDF)

Mom and Daughter Participate in Fishing Day. Credit: Michelle Pagliasotti / USFWS

A mother and daughter participate in Fishing Day. Credit: Michelle Pagliasotti / USFWS.

Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery (NFH) provides many exciting visitor opportunities at the hatchery and surrounding area. Open to the public, Jones Hole NFH welcomes visitors to the hatchery for a close-up view of the fish production process. With over 7,000 visitors annually, the dedicated staff is happy to answer any questions while you explore the hatchery grounds and view the fish.

Educational programs and hatchery tours are provided to school groups and visitors when scheduled in advance. Join the hatchery staff at the annual Ouray National Wildlife Refuge Open House in May or at the Annual Kids Fishing Day in June at Jones Hole NFH.

Recreation Opportunities
In addition to the hatchery experience, visitors also have a bounty of recreational opportunities to explore in the surrounding area and Dinosaur National Monument, operated by the National Park Service:

  • Hiking/nature trails
  • Fishing
  • Picnicking
  • Wildlife and birdwatching
  • Photography

Photo of a group at Jones Hole Kids Fishing Day. Photo Credit: Michelle Pagliasotti USFWS.

Photo of a group at Jones Hole Kids Fishing Day. Photo Credit: Michelle Pagliasotti USFWS.

Dust off those boots as you hike to Dinosaur National Monument in the spectacular surroundings, or try your luck landing 'the big one' in Jones Hole Creek. Be sure to bring your binoculars and test your wildlife knowledge while hiking or fishing. No camp sites are available at Jones Hole NFH for overnight camping; however, Dinosaur National Monument maintains a remote camp site two miles downstream of the hatchery on the Jones Hole Creek trail. Reservations are required and can be made through the Monument by calling (970) 374-3000.

You are welcome to visit Jones Hole NFH at any time of the year. The paved road from Vernal to Jones Hole is periodically closed by snow drifts in the winter months. During the spring thaw, melting snow can become ice on the roadway as temperatures drop below freezing. Please use extra care when visiting the Hatchery during these two seasons. For planning purposes, check climatic conditions in Vernal, as they tend to be very similar to those at Jones Hole. Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery is located approximately 40 miles northeast of Vernal bordering the Dinosaur National Monument. Come prepared for a day of fun!

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: September 16, 2015
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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