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Three biologists work together to lift a large grey fish with an alligator-like snout.
Information icon Kayla Kimmel, Cory Gullett and Brady Barr holding a nice alligator gar. Photo by Richard Campbell, USFWS.

Private John Allen National Fish Hatchery

Although most hatchery lands and outdoor spaces have remained open for the public to enjoy, we ask that you Recreate Responsibly.

  • Check local conditions on this website and call ahead for current information. Operations vary based on local public health conditions.
  • Consistent with CDC recommendations, people who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces.
  • Most importantly, stay home if you feel sick and continue to watch for symptoms of COVID-19 and follow CDC guidance on how to protect yourself and others.

Private John Allen National Fish Hatchery is a warmwater hatchery established in Tupelo, Mississippi, in 1901. The hatchery is named after the Congressional representative who appealed to the Congress in his famous ‘hatchery speech’: “Fish will travel overland for miles to get into the water we have at Tupelo… thousands and millions of unborn fish are clamoring to this Congress today for an opportunity to be hatched at the Tupelo hatchery.”

Today, quality water helps ensure a quality brood stock of Gulf Coast walleye. Behemoths like paddlefish, alligator gar, and lake sturgeon are cultured here for restoration projects. Striped bass are also produced and stocked as part of a large national restoration effort. The hatchery develops propagation protocols for smaller fish species like darters and madtoms. National wildlife refuges benefit from the thousands of largemouth and bluegill produced and stocked by the hatchery. Private John Allen NFH raises a variety of fish specifically to host the parasitic stage of mussels as part of a multi-hatchery mussel conservation partnership.

Visiting hours of operation

7:00am - 3:30pm Monday through Friday.

What we do

Fish production

The hatchery is supported by your federal tax dollars. Fish raised by federal hatcheries are stocked in public waters to support federal fishery responsibilities mandated by law including:

  • fish for restoration where, for example, habitat degradation has altered a stream’s natural reproductive capability;
  • to recover threatened or endangered populations;
  • to preclude listing of certain species under the Endangered Species Act; and
  • to restore interjurisdictional fish populations, or to support depleted recreational fish populations in federal and state waters.

Private John Allen is considered a warmwater hatchery because the species of fish raised in our ponds have optimal growth rates in water between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The hatchery raises fish that are important to the fishery resources of Mississippi, the Lower Mississippi River Alluvial Valley and the Gulf Coast, and stocks fish in cooperation with state game and fish agencies. The water for the hatchery comes from three separate wells. The well water maintains a temperature around 65 degrees, which allows for cool water species, like the lake sturgeon, to be raised in our holding house building. The hatchery continuously develops new culture system to propagated at-risk species such as the Yazoo darter, Pearl darter and piebald madtom.

A large tank containing many tiny fishes.
Yazoo darter progeny produced at the Pvt. John Allen National Fish Hatchery. Photo by Daniel Schwarz, USFWS.

Average annual fish production

Species Size Number
Alligator gar Fry 100,000
Alligator gar 8-10 in. 4,000
Paddlefish Fry 80,000
Paddlefish 12-16 in. 4,000
Gulf Coast walleye Fry 80,000
Gulf Coast walleye 2 in. 40,000
Striped Bass 2 in. 320,000
Lake Sturgeon 8-10 in. 8,000
Channel catfish Fry 80,000
Channel catfish 2-3 in. 40,000
Channel catfish 18-20 in. 5,000
Largemouth bass 2 in. 20,000
Bluegill 2 in. 500,000
Redear sunfish 2 in. 100,000

The fish stocked by the hatchery are used to reintroduce a species back to their historical range or to augment existing populations. Each year, hatchery staff assesses fish populations to make sure the populations are improving.

Habitat restoration

Private John Allen National Fish Hatchery works with many state and federal partners in delivering on-the-ground habitat restoration actions. The program specialist for the Southeast Aquatic Habitat Restoration Team works from our hatchery to remove nonfunctional dams and degraded culverts that are impeding native fish and mussels passage.

Heavy machinery moves a new culvert into place.
Southeast Aquatic Habitat Restoration Team installing an arched culvert on Gills Creek in South Carolina. Photo by Heather Crosby, USFWS.

Recreational and education

The hatchery hosts outreach events for youth and adults who lack the ability or the opportunity to experience the outdoors. We have fishing rodeos for our local youth and military veteran groups. Local schools have field trips to the hatchery, during which the children help hatchery staff with harvesting ponds, sampling fish and assisting with spawning activities.

Dozens of people stand around a small pond watching biologists with a larget net.
Local agriculture classes help hatchery staff seine a channel catfish pond. Photo by USFWS.

Invasive species

The hatchery also plays an important role in monitoring, eradicating and assessing the spread of aquatic nuisance species throughout the Southeast Region. Hatchery personnel have assisted national wildlife refuges and state partners in assessing and eradicating the northern snakehead populations in Arkansas. They use acoustic transmitters and receivers to track the spread of asian carp in Mississippi.

An employee in a boat working on a large fish.
Fish biologist Daniel Schwarz inserting an acoustic transmitter in a silver carp on Tippo Bayou, MS. Photo by Corey Gullett, USFWS.

Economic impact

In addition to the psychological and physical benefits gained from experiencing the outdoors, increased recreational fishing benefits local economies. Nationwide, the National Fish Hatchery System activities returns $551 million in retail sales, $903 million in industrial output, $256 million in wages/salaries, and $35 million in local tax revenues from recreational angling.

Warmwater fish stocked for recreational fishing such as largemouth bass, bluegill, striped bass and walleye have a tremendous economic impact. For every tax dollar spent for recreational fish production at Private John Allen NFH, $4.87 of net economic value is created. This amounts to a total economic output of more than $750,000 a year from taxes, jobs created, and retail sales (gas, food, lodging, rods and reels, and bait and tackle), all of which are created because of the recreational fish stocked out of the hatchery. The amount of taxes generated in one year alone could make up half the budget for Private John Allen NFH’s yearly recreational fish production. Private John Allen NFH is one of eight Hatcheries in the Southeast responsible for a total of $26.8 million in annual economic benefits through warmwater recreational fish production.

Service Area

The hatchery sends fish as far west as Louisiana, as far east as Florida, and as far north as Illinois. Most of the projects are in the Southeast. Our habitat restoration teams works on projects throughout the entire country.


Ricky Campbell, Hatchery Manager
Private John Allen National Fish Hatchery
P.O. Box 7317
111 Elizabeth Street
Tupelo, MS 38802
Phone: 662-842-1341
Fax: 662-842-3215

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