Norfork National Fish Hatchery
Southeast Region
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About Us


Who We Are

The Norfork National Fish Hatchery is one of many units in the National Fish Hatchery System administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Service also manages more than 500 national wildlife refuges across the country. As the nation’s primary steward of fish and wildlife resources, the Service provides leadership in habitat and wetlands protection; fish and wildlife research and technical assistance; and in the conservation and protection of migratory birds, anadromous fishes, certain marine mammals, and threatened and endangered species.


Norfork National Fish Hatchery is located in the mountainous terrain of north Arkansas near Mountain Home. Established in 1955 and opened in 1957, the purpose of Norfork National Fish Hatchery is to meet the fishery mitigation needs arising from the Corps of Engineer projects in the White River in northern Arkansas and southern Missouri.


The upper White River has been altered by the construction of four multi-purpose dams along its course. The construction destroyed the warm water riverine habitat and replaced it with cold tailwaters. Beaver Dam and Lake are the uppermost impoundment. From there, the river flows through Table Rock Lake, Lake Taneycomo and finally through Bull Shoals Reservoir. Tributary impoundments are Norfork and Greers Ferry.


What We Do

Federal fish hatcheries have been part of our nation’s resource management efforts for more than 100 years. Hatcheries can be warm water, cool water or cold water.


Norfork National Fish Hatchery is a cold water hatchery primarily for the production of trout to restock the tailwaters below Norfork, Bull Shoals and other dams. In addition, Norfork National Fish Hatchery also provides trout to reservoirs and in cooperation with state game and fish agencies distributes fish throughout Arkansas and other nearby states. Resource managers across the country acknowledge hatcheries as a valuable tool for the preservation of our nation’s fishery program.


Norfork National Fish Hatchery was established to raise trout for restocking areas impacted by construction of dams, primarily in the tailwaters of Norfork and Bull Shoals. The hatchery is responsible for raising three kinds of trout: rainbow, brown and cutthroat.


How We Do It

The hatchery receives fertilized eggs from other hatcheries in special shipping containers. When the eggs arrive at Norfork they are placed into large hatching jars. The eggs will begin to hatch in approximately two weeks after they are placed into the hatching jars.


After the eggs hatch they are placed in aluminum troughs or tanks, where they will stay until they are about 2-3 inches long (about 3-4 months old). After the fish reach this size they are placed in the raceways outside where they continue to grow until they are large enough to stock. This happens when they reach 11 inches in length (about 22 months). When the fish are small they are fed 5-6 times a day and they will be fed only about twice a day just before being harvested and stocked. Hatchery fish are raised, harvested and stocked year-round.



Norfork National Fish Hatchery Staff Directory
Name Position Email Address
Jon Casey Project Leader
Thomas (Trey) Anderson Fish Biologist
John Lewis Fish Biologist
Mike Morris Animal Caretaker
Wanda Pohlman Administration Officer
Donald Beard Maintenance Worker
Brad Marler Motor Vehicle Operator














About our Fish

Rainbow trout, cutthroat trout and brown trout. Present production is 500,000 lbs annually.



Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I purchase a fishing license?

To review Arkansas Fishing Regulations and to purchase a license, please contact the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission at (800) 364-GAME or visit them online at

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service does not issue fishing licenses. 


Why do we need federal hatcheries and who pays for them?

This is a national fish hatchery which is supported by tax dollars. Fish raised on Federal hatcheries are stocked in public waters to support Federal fishery responsibilities mandated by law. These include fish for restoration where, for example, man-made dams have altered a stream’s natural reproductive capability; or to restore threatened or endangered populations. Fish are also used to support recreational fishing programs in Federal and state waters.


What do you feed the fish?

We feed a commercially prepared diet produced specifically for trout. It contains all the essential elements necessary for growth and development.


Where do you get the eggs?

Norfork NFH does not have any adult trout for breeding purposes. The hatchery receives fertilized eggs from other Federal hatcheries, called broodstock hatcheries. Currently, these eggs are shipped from Ennis National Fish Hatchery in Montana, Erwin National Fish Hatchery in Tennessee, White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery in West Virginia, Auburn State Fish Hatchery and Saratoga National Fish Hatchery, both in Wyoming.


How many fish are in a raceway?

11,000-100,000 fish are in a raceway, depending on the size of the fish.


What kinds of fish do you raise?

Rainbow trout, brown trout and cutthroat trout.


What size are the fish when they are stocked?

Most of the fish are stocked when they are 11 inches long.


How often do you stock fish?

Weekly, year-round.


How long does it take to grow the fish to stocking size?

It takes about 22 months to grow the fish from egg to 11 inches.


How many fish from Norfork NFH are stocked annually?

The Norfork National Fish Hatchery stocks over 1 1/2 million rainbow, cutthroat and brown trout annually in Arkansas and the surrounding states.


How fast does the water flow in the raceways?

The water in the raceways flows at approximately 22,000 gallons per minute.


Where does the water used in the hatchery come from?

We have two intakes, one of them is a multi-level intake.  Water can come from depths of 45', 95', 125', or any combination of these levels.  Water temperature ranges from 42 - 60, depending on the time of the year and your intake level or levels.


Do you provide fish to private individuals?

This was once a function of the National Fish Hatchery system. “Farm pond” stocking is not considered a Federal responsibility, and fish are no longer provided to individuals. All the fish raised at this facility are stocked into public waters.


Do you give tours of the hatchery?

Large groups, as well as small, are given tours by station personnel, if arrangements are made in advance. Contact the Hatchery Office at 870-499-5255 for more details and to learn about a variety of exciting volunteer opportunities.


Economic Impact

Local Impact

(2010 data to be added soon)

American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009


Last updated: March 6, 2015