Valley City National Fish Hatchery
Mountain-Prairie Region

Major  species produced at the Valley City NFH are:

Northern Pike ImageNorthern Pike - The "northern" is the state fish of North Dakota, and the best known native game fish in the state. It is found in abundance throughout northern prairie lakes and streams. Well adapted to shallow summer waters and the low oxygen conditions of winter, the northern pike is an aggressive predator.  It is often stocked in lakes and reservoirs where it controls over-abundant smaller fish.  Northern pike generally weigh 5 to 10 pounds, with occasional fish weighing more than 20 pounds.


Walleye ImageWalleye - Walleye are renowned for their fighting ability and table quality.  "Pike Perch" are native to North Dakota, but have been introduced in many waters to increase their numbers.  They are stocked as 2-inch fingerlings and often reach 10 pounds. The large size of the eye and its cloudy white appearance give the walleye its name.  The eye is an adaptation that allows the fish to see its food in the low light conditions of early morning and late evening.

Tiger Muskies - The tiger muskie is a cross between a female muskie and a male northern pike.  Hybrid vigor in this cross is said to result in a fish of better sporting quality than the northern pike, but the fish is able to live where the muskellunge cannot.  The males are always sterile, but female hybrids are often fertile.  The North Dakota State record tiger muskie  is 40 pounds.

Yellow Perch ImageYellow Perch - Yellow perch are a popular fish among anglers in the midwest.  Yellow perch eggs have a unique gelantinous mass that coats and protects the eggs. Eggs are laid over submerged vegetation or brush.  Adult perch can weight over 2 pounds, and eat small fishes, aquatic insects, snails, and small crayfish. 


Smallmouth Bass Fry ImageSmallmouth Bass - Smallmouth bass prefer clear, clean water and are seldom found in murky water.  These fish live in many different environments, such as natural lakes, impoundments, along with rivers and streams that have moderate current.  Smallmouth bass feed on almost anything, but prefer crayfish and smaller fish.  

Largemouth Bass - Largemouth bass do well in natural lakes and reservoirs with aquatic vegetation and timber that is flooded.  The male serves as nursemaid to the fry and eggs, creating the nest and guarding the eggs and fry after spawning.  Largemouth bass eat whatever is available.

Bluegill Fry Image Bluegill - The bluegill is a species that often overpopulates in water bodies where predator densities are low.  Bluegill are found in every state in the continental United States, and prefer sluggish or standing water.  Some bluegill may spawn more than once a year, with the male building the nest and guarding the nest, eggs, and fry.

Pallid Sturgeon - The endangered pallid sturgeon  is an ancient fish that can grow up to 6 feet long and weigh up to 85 pounds.  They live up to 50 years.  Dam construction and overfishing are major causes of the pallid sturgeon's decline in the past 50 years.  The construction of dams and dredging has caused river habitat to change, preventing the fish from reproducing.  Pallid sturgeon require muddy water that is fast flowing over gravel or sand to successfully reproduce.

Pallid Sturgeon Image

Last updated: March 15, 2011
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