About Us

Since 1871, the National Fish Hatchery system has been at work improving recreational fishing and restoring aquatic species that are in decline, at risk, and are important to the health of our aquatic systems. Across the country the network of National Fish Hatcheries work with states and Tribes to conserve, restore, and enhance the fish and aquatic resources of America for future generations.

Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery has raised sportfish for distribution throughout the American Southwest since its establishment in 1938. Although the mission has changed numerous times since our beginning, the dedication of past and current staff to producing quality sportfish that benefit the American public has not. Over the years, the hatchery has added additional roles including acting as the only refuge for the federally listed Clear Creek gambusia and, beginning in 2017, researching cultural production methods for six central Texas freshwater mussels.


Our Mission

Since 1871, National Fish Hatcheries have been applying science-based approaches to conservation challenges. We work with our partners and engage the public to conserve, restore, and enhance fish and other aquatic resources for the continuing benefit of the American people. Conservation is at the heart of what we do, and we recognize that we do this work for the American people–both the present generation who benefit today and future generations who will inherit our legacy of conserving America’s aquatic resources. 

Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery produces channel catfish for Tribal Trust commitments throughout  Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. The station also acts as a refuge for the federal endangered Clear Creek gambusia. Additionally, the facility is culturing 6 species of native central Texas freshwater mussels. 

Our History

Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery was founded in 1938 after Texas Congressman Lyndon B. Johnson arranged an agreement between the Lower Colorado River Authority, the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries (forerunner of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and the National Youth Administration to construct a hatchery along the Colorado River. The hatchery was operational by 1940. 

The original mission of the hatchery was to supply fish for the chain of lakes created by the dams along the Colorado River; however, in the 1950s the emphasis of the agency began to shift toward the farm pond program. The 1980s saw another change when recreational stockings on federal lands, primarily Native American waters in the Southwest, became the priority. This Tribal trust work continues to this day.