American Falls Fish Hatchery
Monday, December 9, 2013
The American Falls Fish Hatchery is located on the north bank of the Snake River, a ½ mile below the American Falls Reservoir Dam and 2 miles from the town of American Falls. From Interstate 86, take Exit 39 onto Highway 39 and head north toward Aberdeen. After crossing American Falls Reservoir Dam, turn left and then immediately left again. This is Fish Hatchery Road. Follow the road for one mile (crossing over railroad tracks) to the hatchery. The primary funding source is fishing and hunting license dollars.
The hatchery sits on 101 acres adjacent the Snake River. Buildings on site include an office, hatchery building and visitor bathroom. The hatchery contains 20 outdoor raceways and 14 indoor concrete vats. The rearing space is adequate to produce approximately 100,000 pounds of fish annually.
Water for the hatchery comes from Rueger Springs which has an annual average flow of 20 cubic feet per second and a constant temperature of 56°F. The spring is monitored by the Idaho Department of Water Resources and is part of the vast Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer.
Visitors are welcome at the American Falls Fish Hatchery from dawn to dusk, 365 days a year. There is a picnic area with two picnic benches and a public fish viewing station. Many visitors enjoy feeding the large rainbow trout that swim behind the boulders at the fish viewing site. Guided tours are available from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. Reservations are suggested. Call (208) 226-2015 for reservations. The hatchery also has a self-guided nature trail on the property, which can take from 30 minutes to 2-hours to complete, depending on the route chosen. Bald eagles, osprey, ducks, swans and a variety of other birds can be seen from the nature trail. The hatchery provides public access by foot to the Snake River which is often used by bird watchers, hunters and anglers.
The primary mission of the hatchery is to rear about 220,000 10-inch rainbow trout. These fish are stocked in waters statewide for anglers to catch. The hatchery also produces about 30,000 brown trout. Fingerling size rainbow trout, rainbow/cutthroat hybrid trout and kokanee are also produced when necessary.