What We Do

Established: 1978

Purpose & Authorizing Legislation: Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery was a vision of the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon since 1959 when the Service was asked to investigate the possibilities of salmon and steelhead enhancement on the reservation. The hatchery enhances Tribal fisheries on the Reservation and traditional fishing areas and natural origin fish populations in the Warm Springs River. Congress authorized the construction of the Warm Springs Hatchery in 1966.

Funding: The hatchery is funded out of the Service’s congressionally appropriated funding.

Fish Produced: Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery produces 750,000 spring Chinook salmon (hatchery and natural origin) for direct release into the Warm Springs River annually. Recently, at the request of the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, the hatchery has been spawning and rearing natural origin fish returning to the Warm Springs River to augment declining populations. All operations and production at the hatchery are determined through extensive planning and coordination with the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon and the Service.

Hatchery Life Cycle

Spring: Smolts are released into the Warm Springs River in April. The adult holding ponds are cleaned and the fish ladder is prepped and opened. Adults return to the hatchery as early as April.

Summer: Adults are sorted and spawned. Fertilized eggs are taken to the hatchery building to incubate. Spawned adults are sampled for diseases and coded-wire tags are recovered.

Fall: Eggs are sorted, counted, and treated to prevent diseases. The eggs hatch in October after two months incubation. The previous year's fry are marked and tagged.

Winter: The fry are transferred to the outdoor raceways after they absorb their yolk and start on feed. One-year-olds start to smolt, preparing for ocean migration.

Management and Conservation

The next time you go fishing, you might just catch a fish that was raised at Warm Springs National Fish 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.