Management and Conservation

The next time you go fishing, you might just catch a fish that was raised at Erwin National Fish Hatchery Hatchery. Since 1871, National Fish Hatcheries have been responding to conservation challenges affecting America’s fish and other aquatic species. Producing fish continues to be an irreplaceable tool in managing or restoring fisheries along with habitat conservation. In doing so, we help provide recreation opportunities to America’s 34 million anglers who spend $36 billion annually in pursuit of their favored pastime.   

Vietnam veteran, James Duncan, holding a rainbow trout caught on the Nolichucky River--one of Erwin National Fish Hatchery's stocking sites.

Erwin National Fish Hatchery produces Rainbow and Brook trout. The fish are stocked in reservoirs, lakes, rivers across the Southeast.  

USWFS Employee stocking retired broodstock broodstock
The reproductively mature adults in a population that breed (or spawn) and produce more individuals (offspring or progeny).

Learn more about broodstock
trout into the Nolichucky River

Erwin NFH is involved in assisting partners with the recovery of declining populations of Southern Appalachian brook trout, freshwater mussels, and lake sturgeon.  

Broodstock plan ENFH 2018.pdf

Broodstock plan for Erwin National Fish Hatchery

Our Services

Established in 1897 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Erwin National Fish Hatchery produces approximately 16 million disease-free eggs annually from three strains of rainbow trout and one strain of brook trout  broodstock broodstock
The reproductively mature adults in a population that breed (or spawn) and produce more individuals (offspring or progeny).

Learn more about broodstock
. These eggs are shipped to other Federal, State and Tribal hatcheries to support fishery management efforts. The station also provides eggs to research centers, classrooms, and universities. Broodstock operations are performed in a manner that will preserve or optimize the genetic diversity of hatchery fish. In addition, Erwin NFH is part of long term efforts to restore populations of Southern Appalachian Brook trout and freshwater mussels.  

Small orange fish eggs on a white background.

The National Broodstock Program was established in 1970 to support healthy sustainable fisheries in waterways across the country. Every year the National Broodstock Program provides about 60 million fish eggs that are hatched and raised by our partners to meet their conservation and management...

Our Projects and Research

National Fish Hatcheries rear fish and other aquatic species – like crayfish and mussels - to help restore and sustain important populations for the benefit of the American people. Freshwater mussels play very important roles in our rivers and lakes by filtering the water and creating habitat for fish and aquatic insects fish like to eat. With declining fish and freshwater mussel populations becoming prevalent across the world, fish hatchery operations are more important now than ever. 

Five gravid (with larva) female Round Hickorynut mussels

Erwin National Fish Hatchery has worked closely with multiple partners to assist in the recovery of multiple freshwater mussel species. Some of those species include the Appalachian Elktoe, Round Hickorynut, and the Snuff box mussel.

Southern Appalachian Brook Trout found by Erwin NFH staff while sampling local mountain streams

Erwin NFH is also an active partner in the recovery of the Southern Appalachian Brook Trout.

Erwin NFH Fish Biologist, David Teague, holding a lake sturgeon captured during annual sampling efforts on Tennessee River.

Erwin NFH participates in lake sturgeon research every year, assisting other agencies with measuring, weighing, and tagging the fish. 

TWRA and Erwin National Fish Hatchery staff electrofishing a mountain stream to survey fish populations.

Erwin NFH participates in annual stream surveys, assisting with capturing, identifying, and collecting data of stream fish.