What is a Fish Hatchery Anyway?
Federal fish hatcheries have been part of our nation's resource management efforts for more than 100 years. In addition to fish, most federal hatcheries are now working with other aquatic species besides fish. These can include reptiles, amphibians, mussels and even plants. Hatcheries can be warm water, cool water, or cold water facilities. Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery is a warm water station currently involved in spawning, hatching, and rearing young fish (fingerlings), turtles, and mussels. The various species are raised to a size and age which provide them with the best chance of surviving in the wild. The hatchery is also involved in research projects for these various species including tagging and monitoring for tracking the species in the wild, fish feed trials, and culture and spawning techniques. Resource managers nationwide acknowledge hatcheries as a valuable tool for the preservation of our nation's aquatic resources.
There are 53 ponds, each averaging 0.8 acres in size. There is no designated walking trail, but you are welcome to walk on the levees to birdwatch or to just enjoy being outdoors. For 80 years the hatchery has served the needs of American people in the region. From helping rural families stock their farm ponds during the Great Depression to restoring endangered species today the work of conserving the nation's aquacultural resources continues here at the Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery.
An aerial view of the hatchery shows the 53 ponds we use to culture fish.
Our Monthly Activites
A Method for Culturing Mussels Using In-River Cages
Journal of Fish and Wildlife Managment, pp 85-89
For Louisiana hunting and fishing regulations see Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
For information about managing your pond, see LSU Ag Center's Information Packet.