Fish and Aquatic Conservation

Stories from the FAC Home Page

a photo of an Apache tribal member holding an Apache trout
Apache tribal member handles a large Apache trout. Photo by Craig Springer/USFWS.

Bolstering rare captive trout brood stock – through ‘cryopreservation’

July 2018

The biological clock never ceases ticking, and all living things die. But that clock can be frozen, and decay ceased indefinitely. The implications to fish conservation are large.

Williams Creek National Fish Hatchery, situated amid the ponderosa pine-studded hills of the White Mountains of eastern Arizona, harbors gold: the only captive Apache trout brood stock in existence.

This hatchery, one of 70 other national fish hatcheries, turns 80 years old this year. It’s a product of the New Deal era – a hatchery built on Apache lands under the auspices of the White Mountain Apache Tribe for the express purpose of raising trout for fishing. Trout fishing, then as now, helps fuel a rural and tourism-based economy in the White Mountains.

Read More

a photo of a stream simulation culvert
Stream simulation culvert in Tyonek. Photo by Ash Adams

Road-Stream Crossings

Wildcards for Alaska’s transportation infrastructure and fish

July 2018

Putting a road across a stream in Alaska is a lot like going on an adventure. Survival of road and traveler alike hinges on careful planning and weighing risks.

Continue Reading

photo of someone holding a Gila trout
Adult Gila trout. Photo by Andrew Miller/USFWS

Mora National Fish Hatchery, NM, Gives Threatened Gila Trout Fighting Chance

June 2018

A rare trout makes its home in the upper reaches of the Gila River of New Mexico and Arizona. The Gila trout (Oncorhynchus gilae) is native only to small headwater streams where it was landlocked thousands of years ago from sea-run Oncorhynchus species.

The status of Gila trout improved from ‘endangered’ to ‘threatened’ in 2006, but they are still in a precarious situation.

Read More

photo of people fishing at Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery
Attendees having a good time fishing during the event. Photo by USFWS

Do you remember your first catch?

June 2018

For many, it was Saturday, June 9, at Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery, Texas. A first-ever event took place that involved 40 attendees and several hundred catfish.

The event was a pilot as one of Take Me Fishing’s First Catch Centers, bringing fishing and boating experiences and learning opportunities to new areas.

Attendees rotated through stations where they learned about fish habitat, knot tying, equipment rigging, fishing laws and ethics, and of course, they got to go fishing.

Jeff Conway, Inks Dam project leader said, "It was an amazing event and can you imagine, that the first fish you ever caught was a 3 pound catfish!"

George Brugnoli, Friends of the Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery, Chairman of the Fishing Sub-Committee said they were enthusiastic as they prepared for the event and ecstatic afterward. "Our instructors did a great job, support by the hatchery staff was exceptional and the joyful smiles on participant’s faces was more than sufficient reward. We look forward to making the next program even better."

Micheal Scherer, Fishing's Future commented, “This was one of the best “FIRST TIMER” EVENTS that I have attended with the First Catch pilot program. I DID NOTHING and that shows me they are ready to take this project on."

If you missed out on this First Catch Center event at Inks, another event is scheduled to take place in October.

For More Information
Pilot Take Me Fishing First Catch Centers to Cultivate the Next Generation of Anglers
Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery

Pilot Program Partners:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Hatchery and Refuge Systems
Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation
Fishing’s Future
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission

photo of juvenile James spiny mussels
Juvenile James spiny mussels raised at the Virginia Fisheries and Aquatic Wildlife Center, Harrison Lake National Fish Hatchery. Photo by R. Mair/USFWS

Hatching more than fish: Fish hatcheries help raise a variety of rare species

June 2018

Fish hatcheries across the country are taking a hands-on approach to recovering imperiled species that aren’t fish. Besides the snakes, here are a few non-fish species growing up alongside fish in hatcheries.

For entire blog

photo of two boys enjoying a day out fishing
Fishing is, creating memories and having fun with family or friends.

National Fishing and Boating Week,
June 2 - 10

June 2018

What's the best way to celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week (NFBW)? We think the best way is to get out on the water and enjoy a day of fishing and/or boating. Even better, introduce someone new to one of America's favorite outdoor pastimes.

Learn more about:
Which National Fish Hatcheries Have Public Fishing Access
Let's Go Fishing, Catch the Fun!
Fishing on National Wildlife Refuges
Find an Event
States with free fishing days
How to fish

photo of the Great River Road Interpretative Center at Genoa National Fish Hatchery
Genoa National Fish Hatchery's new Great River Road Interpretative Center. Photo by USFWS.

New Interpretative Center Now Open

June 2018

The Genoa National Fish Hatchery's new Great River Road Interpretative Center held a ribbon cutting ceremony on June 1. The center focuses on the history and natural resources of the Upper Mississippi River, highlighting education of aquatic wildlife and the Battle of Bad Axe, the final battle of the Black Hawk War fought in 1832, which occurred just south of the hatchery.

The project is unique in that it was partially funded by a National Scenic Byways grant, which makes Genoa the first national fish hatchery to be awarded Department of Transportation, Federal Highway - National Scenic Byways funds.

Read More


Hatchery Information

photo of Legends Award winner Denise Clay
Jim Kurth (Deputy Director), John Schmerfeld (Deputy Assistant Director, FAC), Denise Clay (award winner), and Deb Rocque (Deputy Regional Director).

2018 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Legend Award Winner Denise Clay

It’s Great Outdoors Month, and the Fish and Aquatic Conservation Program would like to celebrate Denise Clay, Fish Biologist and Outreach Coordinator at the Lower Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, who was the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s recipient of the 2018 Legends Award established by the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. The Legends Award recognizes outstanding Federal employees for their contributions towards enhancing our Nation's outdoor recreation programs, connecting people – especially children – and the outdoors, through innovative programs and partnerships. Denise has shown tremendous passion for connecting people of all ages and backgrounds with nature. She has worked tirelessly to develop partnerships with others to help reach more youth and conduct conservation for the Great Lakes region. At last count she has worked with 50 different organizations to bring science and the outdoors to youth.

In 2017 Denise coordinated 43 programs, engaging with over 28,000 people in the western New York. One program Denise brought to a new level is Students, Nature, and Photography (SNAP!), reaching 1,270 students from grades 3-12. Students from Buffalo’s Riverside Academy recently featured their photography and inspiration in an art exhibit at Buffalo State College. For many, this was the first time they had been out in the woods, and they loved it.

mom  and daughters spend quality outdoor time at the Wolf Creek hatchery

Environmental Education Specialist at Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery, Moria Painter and daughters spend quality outdoor time at the hatchery. Photo Credit: Brett Billings/USFWS

Take a mom fishing on Mother’s Day weekend!

May 2018

If you are looking for a place to take mom fishing over Mother’s Day weekend, think about a National Fish Hatchery. Many of our hatcheries provide fishing opportunities and might be just a short drive away. While visiting you can relax, have a picnic, view fish and wildlife, take a tour, and maybe enjoy a walking, hiking or biking trail.

To see what is available at a hatchery near you, please visit their website or call ahead. Not all hatcheries will offer the same opportunities. A few examples include:

Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery
Celina, Tennessee

Dale Hollow hatchery, just off State Highway 53, has a nice creek located below it which is stocked every Friday with rainbow trout. The adjacent Obey River, known for its excellent rainbow and trout fishing, also is stocked with rainbow trout but in April, brown trout only. The hatchery offers a paved path along the creek, wheelchair accessible public fishing area, nature viewing, hatchery tours, and public restrooms. The adjoining Corps of Engineers campground provides full hook-ups for campers and easy access to both the Obey River and hatchery creek. There is also an annual Kids’ Fishing Rodeo, lots of fun for mom and kids.

Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery
Cook, Washington

Within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, the hatchery releases 1 million Spring Chinook in April and 4.5 million Fall Chinook in July. The fish make their way from the hatchery to the Columbia River by way of Drano Lake with access on adjacent hatchery property. A wheelchair accessible fishing ramp and platform provides enhanced fishing opportunities and a boat ramp provides easy access for launching into Drano Lake, where you can fish for Chinook, coho and steelhead. Public restrooms, picnic tables, wildlife viewing and an interpretative center are available.

Harrison Lake National Fish Hatchery
Charles City, Virginia

Harrison Lake provides anglers with a peaceful setting to try their luck on a variety of fish species: largemouth bass, black crappie, chain pickerel, bluegill, redear sunfish, warmouth, flier, and bowfin. There is a gravel boat ramp and a wheelchair accessible pier provided free of charge. The use of gasoline motors is not allowed unless they are 5-hp or less. Other recreational opportunities on the hatchery include hiking along two wooded nature trails, birding, wildlife watching, and picnic tables overlooking the lake. The hatchery sits on 444 acres and is adjacent to the Virginia Capital Trail, a 52-mile biking/hiking trail.

Find a hatchery near you!

Scientists track prehistoric fish with 21st century satellites

photo of a Lake sturgeon in the water
Lake sturgeon. Photo credit: USFWS

May 2018

Lake sturgeon were presumed extirpated from most of the Great Lakes until recently. Scientists from the Shedd Aquarium and the Service’s Northeast Fishery Center and Lower Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office are using marine-animal monitoring technology and satellites to study their behavior and movement in Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and the Niagara River. Because sturgeon can reach over 7 feet in length and weigh more than 200 pounds, scientists are using technology ocean researchers use to collect information on dolphins, sharks and turtles. The collaboration that began in 2014 marks the first time Great Lakes sturgeon were studied using this technology known as pop-off satellite tags; learn about their results in the Journal of Great Lakes Research. Because sturgeon don’t reproduce until they are 10 to 20 years old, it will take them decades to recover after their numbers were so low 40 years ago. Over the past 4 years, Lower Great Lakes and Northeast Fishery Center have observed more sturgeon and documented spawning. In the coming year, they will look for juveniles to document evidence of new generations of sturgeon.

News Article

Secrets Of The Lower Great Lakes: The Search For Lake Sturgeon

Bringing Back An Old Fish To A Young River

Setting The Stage For Lake Sturgeon