Dworshak National Fish Hatchery Complex
Maintaining the North Fork Runs

Visiting the Hatchery

During the current public health emergency, when possible, national fish hatcheries will remain open to the public. However facility resources and events may be limited.  Please call the hatchery directly at 208-476-4591 for further information. Check FWS Coronavirus Response page and call for local conditions.

Visitors are always welcome to tour our hatchery. Visiting Dworshak National Fish Hatchery is an exciting trip any time of the year.  We always have different activities and several species of fish for visitors to see.  This page describes some of the activities for visitors at the Hatchery:

Tour the Hatchery

Visitors to Dworshak National Fish Hatchery may take a self-guided tour of the facility 7 days a week.  The tour route includes the Visitor Center and spawning balcony, plus the outdoor facilities.  Visitors are guided along the route by yellow fish “fin-prints.”  Interpretive signs throughout the hatchery explain hatchery operations and tell the story of our fish.  The hatchery grounds and our Visitor Center are open daily from 7:30am to 3:00pm. 

Check out the “Hatchery Happenings” [link to that website page] calendar page to find out what’s taking place at the hatchery when you plan your visit.  The busiest times of the year are during steelhead spawning, from February through April, and during the summer months.

We are pleased to offer guided tours year-round at Dworshak National Fish Hatchery for school and other organized groups (scouts, church groups, tour groups, etc.).  Guided tours focus on the anadromous fish life cycle at the hatchery.  Visitors are shown the spawning room, incubation room and nursery, in addition to the outdoor facilities.  Interested groups must reserve tour dates at least two weeks ahead.  Reserve a tour by calling the hatchery at 208-476-4591 or email kim_mccorkle@fws.gov.

All hatchery tours are free of charge.

Watch Spawning

Spawning, or the taking and fertilizing of eggs, takes place several times of year at Dworshak National Fish Hatchery.  Steelhead trout are spawned from February through early May.  Chinook salmon spawning takes place from mid-August through early September.  The Nez Perce Tribe spawns Coho salmon at Dworshak during November.

Spawning usually takes place on Tuesdays, starting around 9am.  Schedules do vary, depending on the readiness of our fish, so it’s best to call ahead and confirm dates and times at 208-476-4591.

Visitors can view the spawning process from our special observation balcony on the second floor of the Visitor Center building.  Entrance is free.  Volunteers or staff are available on the balcony to answer questions you may have about the process or about salmon and steelhead. 

Kids’ Fishing Day

Dworshak National Fish Hatchery and the Nez Perce Tribe hosts a Kids’ Fishing Day each year in May at Tunnel Pond near Orofino, Idaho. Gates will open at 8am and remain open until 1pm.

The highlight of this family event is free fishing for rainbow trout for kids 12 and under.  Each child will catch and take home 2 trout!  Many other fun family-oriented activities are also available during Kids' Fishing Day.  Families can try Gyotaku (Japanese fish painting), and other local agencies and organizations will set up displays and have activities for families. 

This day of fun and fishing allows families to learn about the lifelong sport of fishing and the fish raised at Dworshak National Fish Hatchery.  We at Dworshak Hatchery enjoy the opportunity to share what we do with our neighbors in the local communities.

Please call 208-476-4591 or email kim_mccorkle@fws.gov for more information on our Kids’ Fishing Day event.

Last updated: August 26, 2020
Dworshak National Fish Hatchery Complex
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