Warm Springs Nation Fish Hatchery has been a vision of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon (CTWSRO) since 1959 when the US Fish and Wildlife Service was asked to investigate the possibilities of salmon and steehead enhancement on the Reservation. The results were a demonstration that wild spawning grounds were underutilized due to dam passage problems. In 1963 the CTWSRO requested the US Fish and Wildlife Service conduct a hatchery feasibility study on reservation. Congress authorized the construction of the Warm Springs Hatchery in 1966. The hatchery is operated by the Us Fish and wildlife Service on lands leased from CTWSRO and co-managed by both. This hatchery is some what unique in that it was not built for mitigation but specifically for supplementation.
A hatchery master plan was developed in 1971 with the first operation plan in 1977 and production initiated in 1978. Initial production included spring Chinook, summer steelhead, and rainbow trout. Steelhead production was dropped in 1981 (disease, growth and facility physical limitations) and rainbow production was dropped in 1999 (thought to limit the native redband rainbows). Today the facility target production is 750,000 spring Chinook smolts released each year.
All operations and production at the site are determined through extensive planning and coordination with both partners in the development of 5 year operational plans. The current plan was the first to be reviewed by the USFWS Columbia River Hatchery Review Team (HRT). The HRT found the Warm Spring facility operations was a model for integrated fishery, hatchery, and natural population management.