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About the Hatchery

Research and Service

Located along the Colorado River just below the Inks Lake Dam, the National Fish Hatchery houses facilities for the propogation of catfish, furthering research for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and providing educational opportunities to the public.

Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery was founded in 1938 after Texas Congressman Lyndon B. Johnson arranged an agreement between the Lower Colorado River Authority, the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries (forerunner of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and the National Youth Administration to construct a hatchery along the Colorado River. The hatchery was operational by 1940. 

The original mission of the hatchery was to supply fish for the chain of lakes created by the dams along the Colorado River; however, in the 1950s the emphasis of the agency began to shift toward the farm pond program. The 1980s saw another change when recreational stockings on federal lands, primarily Native American waters in the Southwest, became the priority. This Tribal trust work continues to this day. 

Functions of the Hatchery

Breed catfish for Special Interests

The Hatchery rears channel catfish for 10 southwestern Native American tribes located in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Every year between 60,000-100,000 catfish from 10-13 inches are shipped to these tribal lands for recreational and food needs.

Participate in research projects

There are usually several ongoing research projects. Currently the Hatchery is working on projects that involve freshwater mussels and Gambusia fish.

Community Outreach

The Hatchery is dedicated to educating the public about its mission and we offer educational tours to various groups including all types of schools, Scout groups, 4-H clubs and other interested parties. We also provide recreational activities like Free Fishing Days that are open to the public and events such as archery classes and guided hikes (pre-registration required and subject to availability).

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