Dworshak National Fish Hatchery is located at the confluence of the North Fork and mainstem Clearwater River, 3 miles west of Orofino, Idaho. The hatchery was constructed by the Corps of Engineers in the late 1960's to mitigate for the loss of Steelhead Trout in the North Fork of the Clearwater River and its tributaries as a result of the construction of Dworshak Dam. The hatchery is managed by the Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho. The Service and Tribe maintain existing production goals for Steelhead trout, Chinook salmon, and Coho Salmon and continue working together to enhance fishery resources of the Clearwater River Basin. Our fish are all anadromous, meaning they make a 500 mile round-trip journey from the hatchery to the sea, then back again to spawn.
Several Adult salmon are being duped from a large metal cage onto a wet metal table. Two adults are standing at the table with the fish.
Chinook Sort Tuesday, July 9!!

The fish trap is filling up so its time to do out first adult Spring Chinook salmon sort. 

We will inventory the fish in the trap, count males and females, take lengths, and record tag data. The fish will be moved to our holding ponds and be spawned in August. 

Come on by between 8:00 am and noon to get an up close look at these amazing fish!


Spring Chinook Spawning will begin in August

Tours of the hatchery are offered in two formats: self guided (using a provided brochure) and guided. 

Guided tours typically take roughly 45 minutes to an hour, and self-guided tours can vary based on our visitor's pace. Both versions will take you inside and outside, and they are all walking tours. The hatchery is suitable for wheelchairs and slower moving visitors, with ramps and an indoor elevator as well.  Tours are also suited for visitors of all ages. It is requested that all visitors refrain from climbing or touching any ponds, water, or any equipment. 

The tours will take you to various sight-seeing points such as: the indoor spawning deck, the lobby with dioramas and videos, outdoor adult holding ponds, the fish ladder, views of Dworshak Dam, the Northfork, and the Clearwater main stem rivers. You can also see Chinook fry raceways, Coho fry ponds and steelhead fry ponds. During certain times of the year, marking trailers are on-site, clipping adipose fins. 

If you are hoping to take a guided tour, please check with our main office as appointments are required. 

What We Do

The Dworshak National Fish Hatchery was built in 1969 on the clearwater river to mitigate for lost salmon runs due to the construction of Dworshak Dam.


Dworshak National Fish Hatchery produces large B-steelhead trout to mitigate for habitat lost in the North Fork Clearwater River due to the construction of Dworshak Dam, and produces spring Chinook salmon to mitigate for lost habitat due to construction of the four federal lower Snake River dams. The Nez Perce Tribe is also rebuilding coho salmon runs in the Clearwater River Basin through the Coho Restoration Program at the hatchery.

Four Seasons of Rearing

Winter: Chinook and coho eggs hatch and develop in the darkness of incubation trays. Hatchery employees use the winter months to prepare the nursery for the busy spring. Steelhead trapping continues and adults are spawned.

Spring: Chinook and steelhead smolts are released. New Chinook and coho fry are ponded into raceways. New steelhead juveniles move into the nursery from incubators and then to outside Burrows ponds. Steelhead spawning continues.

Summer: Adult Chinook trapping is followed by spawning. Juvenile fish continue growing outside.  Adipose fin clipping and coded-wire tagging occurs. 

Fall: Coho are trapped and spawned. Steelhead trapping begins as well.  Spring Chinook eggs are kept on chilled water to ensure they develop in tune with their natural cycle.

Our Organization

Juvenile Northern Pike in aquarium at Gavins Point National Fish Hatchery, South Dakota
The Fish and Aquatic Conservation program leads aquatic conservation efforts for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. We are committed to tackling the nation’s highest priority aquatic conservation and recreational challenges to conserve, restore, and enhance fisheries for future generations.
150 Years. National Fish Hatchery System.” in front of glossy orange eggs against a white background.
The National Fish Hatchery System works to support healthy, self-sustaining populations of fish and other aquatic species across the country. Every year we raise and stock over 100 million fish to support the recovery and restoration of imperiled species, recreational fishing, and Tribal...

Our Species


The famous Clearwater “B” strain of steelhead trout return to the hatchery from the Pacific Ocean, more than 500 miles away, from October until May, and are spawned from January through April. 

Chinook salmon return from May to August, and are spawned from late August to early September. 

Adult Coho salmon return from October thru late November, with spawning occurring during that time.

At Dworshak, we take great pride in raising healthy fish. Our annual fish production includes 2.1 million steelhead trout, 1.65 million spring Chinook smolts, 700,000 spring Chinook parr, and 500,000 Coho Salmon. 

Visit Us

Dworshak National Fish Hatchery is located west of Orofino, Idaho, in Clearwater County. It is settled on the Clearwater River where the Northfork meets the mainstem.

To visit the hatchery, turn off State Highway 12 at the Orofino bridge and continue one block north.  Turn left and follow State Highway 7 about 3 miles to the hatchery.  Visitors are welcome to self-tour the hatchery from 7:30a.m. until 3:00p.m. daily.  Please call in advance for information about group tours and dates of hatchery activities.

Get Involved

We are always looking for volunteers to help with guided tours, spawning, and outreach events! If you are interested in getting involved, call Angela Feldmann at 208-476-2238.

Location and Contact Information