Welcome to Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery. Photo: USFWS.
Welcome to Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery
Nestled deep in the heart of the North Georgia mountains, approximately 75 miles north of Atlanta, is Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery. This hatchery is administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish & Wildlife Service. Surrounded by the 749,444 acre Chattahoochee National Forest, the hatchery occupies a 44.8 acre tract of land straddling Mill Creek and Rock Creek, which are tributaries of the Toccoa River. Topography of the area is composed of lofty, angular mountains separated by narrow valleys. The climate is moderate, with heavy rainfall during the summer months. Total rainfall is more than 60 inches per year. Temperatures range from 0 degrees Fahrenheit to 95° Fahrenheit. Elevation is 2300 feet above mean sea level (2,300 MSL).
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- Established: 1938.
- Number of staff: five permanent.
Geographic Area Covered
- State of Georgia
- Cherokee, North Carolina
- Fulfilling mitigation responsibilities and providing recreational fishing opportunities for Federal water development projects via a Memorandum of Understanding with the State of Georgia.
- Fulfilling Tribal Trust responsibilities by providing technical assistance and rainbow trout to Native American Tribes.
- Partnering with federal and state agencies and conservation groups to study and monitor the status of aquatic populations and to improve aquatic habitat of rare fishes as well as other aquatic species in TN, AL, GA, KY and NC.
- Providing recreational fishing opportunities on Service lands.
- Assisting in the recovery of threatened and imperiled fish.
- Developing and implementing conservation education programs.
Services Provided to:
- General public and angling enthusiasts.
- Federal and state agencies.
- Federal, State and private organizations dedicated to the restoration and recovery of aquatic resources.
- Native American Tribes.
- Other Fish & Wildlife Service program offices.
- Camp Frank D. Merrill, US Army.
- The hatchery annually distributed 324,000 catchable-size rainbow trout and an additional 460,000 fingerlings to meet mitigation goals. These fish provided 160,000 anglers with an opportunity to land a trout.
- The economic impact of the hatchery is over $30 million annually. That's well over $40 return on every budget dollar spent by the hatchery.
- Approximately 38,000 visitors tour the hatchery annually. Major fishing events are held annually to promote recreational fishing and to introduce the public to the Fish and Wildlife Service and its mission.
- An extensive outreach program has been implemented that promotes public use, recreational fishing, environmental education and program activities. The hatchery has a very active Friends Group and a tremendous volunteer organization.
- Fingerling trout and technical assistance are provided to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina.
Fish Species and Capabilities
- The primary species raised at this facility is rainbow trout.
- Populations of threatened and endangered fish are being held for refugia and growout.
Public Use Opportunities
- The hatchery provides environmental education and public outreach opportunities to visitors, school groups, and various other organizations. The environmental education program is designed to promote conservation ethics and to develop a greater outreach for recreational fishing opportunities.
- The beautiful surroundings and natural environment draw a lot of visitors to the hatchery. A visitor kiosk and an opportunity to view the fish in various stages of production prove to be a great attraction. Rock Creek, which runs through hatchery property, offers a great trout fishing opportunity.
- U.S. Forest Service campgrounds are located both above and below the hatchery.