The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission operates five fish production facilities across the state. These facilities allow the commission to supply fish for angling and conservation purposes. Nebraska’s hatcheries employ many tools to maintain and enhance our state’s fish populations and fishing opportunities.
Each year millions of fish are stocked in Nebraska waters from one end of the state to the other, dozens of species are stocked in hundreds of waters. Fish are stocked to supplement populations that have high angler harvest, limited natural survival or low natural reproduction capacities. Fisheries management biologists conduct biological and angler surveys and work with production staff to determine fish stocking plans.View Fish Stocking Reports
Each facility has unique resources. Cooperatively, they produce many species including cold-water trout; cool-water northern pike, muskellunge and walleye; and warm-water largemouth bass, bluegill, white bass and catfish. Nebraska’s fish production efforts are supported through trade agreements with other state and federal agencies.
Research and conservation
Research on rare fish species like the pearl dace and other aquatic organisms like the plain pocketbook mussel is also conducted in cooperation with the University of Nebraska and other state and federal agencies. In addition to research, innovative conservation projects have been developed and conducted to address declining populations of certain aquatic species.
The video below highlights recent conservation efforts involving the plain pocketbook mussel.
Nebraska Game and Parks hatcheries:
The state’s newest addition to its fish production facilities is the Calamus Fish Hatchery, which began operations in 1991. The state-of-the-art facility boasts 51 rubber-lined ponds, aeration towers to oxygenate cold water drawn from groundwater wells, a heat exchange system to regulate water temperature, a wet lab and a pathology lab. The Calamus River and Calamus Reservoir supply water to the facility.
Primary production emphasis is on rainbow trout, walleye, yellow perch, black crappie and channel catfish. Trout fingerlings are reared to 4 or 5 inches and then transported to Grove Trout Rearing Station before being distributed statewide. The hatchery also produces wiper, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, blue catfish, sauger, muskellunge, northern pike, tiger muskie and bluegill.
Visitors are welcome at Calamus Fish Hatchery during normal working hours. An interpretive display is located in the main hatchery building. Contact the hatchery in advance to schedule a tour of the facilities.
Address: Calamus Fish Hatchery | 42254 Hatchery Road | Burwell, NE 68823
(7 miles northwest of Burwell at the base of the Virginia Smith Dam on the east side of the Calamus Reservoir.)
Phone: (308) 346-4226
Email: Send email
The North Platte Fish Hatchery opened in 1943. The facility utilizes the adjacent Nebraska Public Power District irrigation canal to feed 43 earthen ponds. Pond water is eventually returned to the canal.
The North Platte Hatchery produces a variety of coolwater and warmwater fish species including regular production of walleye, white bass, blue catfish and channel catfish. On demand, the hatchery also produces yellow perch, black and white crappie, blue catfish, wiper, striped bass, bluegill, muskellunge, tiger muskie, smallmouth bass, grass carp, northern pike and largemouth bass. North Platte hatchery staff also makes annual collections of walleye and white bass eggs and milt from regional water bodies
The North Platte Hatchery is open to the public and tours may be scheduled during normal working hours. Hatchery information is on display at the hatch house. Contact the hatchery in advance to schedule a tour.
Permits and agency information are also available at the Commission’s District IV office, located at the entrance to the facilities.
Address: North Platte State Fish Hatchery | 444 E. State Farm Road | North Platte, NE 69101
(One mile south of North Platte on Highway 83 and ½ mile east on State Farm Road.)
Phone: (308) 535-8030
Email: Send email
The Rock Creek Fish Hatchery was founded at the headwaters of Rock Creek in 1924 to utilize the creek’s abundant cold water spring flow. The water supply allows for the production of both coolwater and warmwater species. The hatchery annually produces rainbow and brown trout, wiper, rock bass, redear sunfish, grass carp, plains topminnow, pearl dace, yellow perch and fathead minnow. (Note: grass carp are for use only within the state hatchery program; contact a commercial aquaculturist if you are looking for grass carp for private use.)
Several species of fish produced at the hatchery, including the plains topminnow and pearl dace, are either threatened or listed as species of concern. The hatchery provides universities with a valuable resource for ongoing research relating to threats faced by these species as a result of habitat loss.
The hatchery contributes to the production of nearly half of the trout stocked in Nebraska. Catchable trout, about 10 inches in length, are reared at Rock Creek to be stocked at Lake Ogallala, Rock Creek Lake, Elm Creek and numerous city park ponds in the panhandle and Pine Ridge.
The Rock Creek Hatchery is open to the public and visitors are welcome to take a tour of the facilities. Permits and agency information are also available.
Address: Rock Creek State Fish Hatchery | 70995 Rock Creek Road | Parks, NE 69041
(7 miles northwest of Parks at the headwaters of Rock Creek.)
Phone: (308) 423-2080
Email: Send email
The Valentine Fish Hatchery has been in operation since 1912, making it the state’s oldest functioning production facility. The facility utilizes water from the Minnechaduza and Fishberry Creeks. In addition to 23 onsite ponds, the hatchery also overwinters fish in ponds at Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge.
The Valentine hatchery regularly produces warmwater fish species including largemouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish. On demand, the hatchery also produces shovelnose sturgeon, spotted bass, redear sunfish, rock bass, yellow perch and northern pike. The Valentine hatchery staff also makes annual collections of eggs and milt from northern pike, muskellunge, walleye and yellow perch from regional water bodies, particularly those located on the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge. Some collections are used to produce tiger muskie, a hybrid fish produced by crossing eggs from a female northern pike with milt from a male muskellunge.
The hatchery also houses largemouth bass and bluegill year round. These species are allowed to spawn naturally in the hatchery ponds, and fingerlings are collected for distribution in the fall.
Visitors are welcome at Valentine Fish Hatchery during normal working hours. Contact the hatchery in advance to schedule a tour of the facilities.
Government Canyon, a walk-in WMA located on the north end of the property, offers a variety of opportunities for hikers, bikers, bird watchers and wildlife photographers. Firearm and archery hunting for deer and turkey is also permitted on select portions of the area.
Address: Valentine State Fish Hatchery | 90164 Hatchery Road | Valentine, NE 69201
(One mile east and one mile north of Valentine, NE.)
Phone: (402) 376-2244
Email: Send email
Since opening its doors in 1961, the Grove Trout Rearing Station operates year-round to raise rainbow and cutthroat trout. Fish are reared in ponds or raceways that utilize spring water and water from East Verdigre Creek. These waters range in temperature from the mid-30s to high-60s (F) and provide ideal water quality for trout production.
Trout are not hatched at the Grove station. Instead, four-inch fingerlings are transferred from Calamus State Fish Hatchery several times throughout the year. Once the trout arrive, they are fed daily, sorted to proper sizes and when they’ve grown to about 10 inches in length, are stocked year-round in a wide variety of public lakes and streams across Nebraska. Typically, trout are one year old by the time they are stocked.
Grove Trout Rearing Station currently releases approximately 150,000 trout annually. About 20 percent of the trout reared at Grove end up in Two Rivers Lake 5 , a put and take rainbow trout lake located at Two Rivers State Recreation Area near Venice, Nebraska.
Visitors are welcome at Grove Trout Rearing Station. The fish production area and visitor shelter is open from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM CST, seven days a week with limited services from September 30th to May 1st.
An information shelter where visitors may view a video about the facility is located near the production ponds. Feeding the fish is a popular activity for all ages of visitors. Twenty-five cent feed machines are located throughout the facility and are available from April 1st to November 1st.
Grove personnel will also give group tours to schools and other organizations. Contact the Station in advance to schedule a tour.
Address: Grove Trout Rearing Station | 52072 864th Road | Royal, NE 68773
(2 miles east and 1 mile north of Royal, NE)
Phone: (402) 893-5468
Email: Send email
Plan a visit
Make time to visit a Nebraska Game and Parks fish production facility. Many offer tours and educational opportunities; find visitor hours and more about what each one offers above. Additionally, all five locations are located in or very near beautiful camping, fishing and other fun outdoor recreation pursuits!