National & State Fish Hatcheries
in North Carolina
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency in charge of wildlife refuges, also administers the National Fish Hatchery System to restore and conserve native fish species. Fish hatchery sites offer trails and informational exhibits, including the fish being raised.
Fish Hatchery Links
Edenton National Fish Hatchery
1104 W. Queen Street
Edenton, NC 27932
The Edenton National Fish Hatchery works primarily to restore American shad, striped bass and blueback herring to the Roanoke, Tar-Pamlico, Neuse and Chowan river systems, as well as to southwest Virginia. The hatchery, which is on 30 acres of water and open for self-guided tours, has a public aquarium, nature trail (a raised boardwalk through wetlands) and indoor classroom that see more than 15,000 visitors a year. An annual fishing rodeo and open house are held in June.
State Fish Hatcheries
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Division of Inland Fisheries operates six fish hatcheries that raise a variety of fish for stocking North Carolina’s public waters. They are open to the public for tours, and some have trails and picnic areas, as well as exhibits.
Armstrong State Fish Hatchery
3336 Armstrong Creek Road
Marion, NC 28752
Armstrong State Fish Hatchery is a coldwater trout hatchery with two sections of outdoor raceways and indoor egg- and fingerling-rearing facilities from which it stocks public trout waters of 11 counties in the northern mountains with catchable-size trout. The hatchery is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.
Marion State Fish Hatchery
645 Fish Hatchery Road
Marion, NC 28752
Marion State Fish Hatchery is a coldwater trout hatchery with four earthen ponds, eight concrete raceways, a hatchery building with indoor rearing tanks, and a spring-fed, water-supply pond. Its primary function is hatching trout eggs and rearing newly hatched trout to fingerling size for the state’s hatchery-supported trout waters program. Man of its fingerling trout that are transferred to the Armstrong State Fish Hatchery (above) to grow to “catchable” size (10 inches). Secondary functions include raising forage fish and broodstock muskellunge to support “muskie” production operations at Table Rock State Fish Hatchery (below). The hatchery is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.
McKinney Lake State Fish Hatchery
220 McKinney Lake Road
Hoffman, NC 28347
McKinney Lake State Fish Hatchery is a warmwater hatchery with 23 ponds used primarily for growing fingerling-sized (3-4 inches) channel catfish to harvestable size (8-12 inches) for the state’s Community Fishing Program. One pond is reserved for an annual children’s fishing day. The hatchery is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays. Free, 30-minute tours for groups of 15 or more can be arranged by calling ahead to schedule them.
Bobby N. Setzer State Fish Hatchery
P.O. Box 728
Pisgah Forest, NC 28768
Bobby N. Setzer State Fish Hatchery, which is adjacent to the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education, is the state’s largest and best-known trout hatchery. The facility consists of 16 indoor rearing tanks, where brook, brown and rainbow trout are kept until they are “fingerlings” (about three inches long), and 54 outdoor raceways, where the fish are grown until they are “catchable” size (at least 10 inches long). The education center features a hatchery raceway exhibit that describes the trout production process in detail, in addition to interactive exhibits, trails and interpretive displays that explain Wildlife Resources Commission wildlife management activities. The hatchery and education center are open from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Click on the photo for more info.
Table Rock State Fish Hatchery
3419 Fish Hatchery Avenue
Morganton, NC 28655
Table Rock State Fish Hatchery is a coolwater hatchery with 17 ponds from which up to 60,000 brook, brown and rainbow trout are taken to stock public trout waters in the state’s northwestern counties. Table Rock also stocks channel catfish for the Community Fishing Program. The hatchery is open for tours weekdays and its picnic grounds are available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays. Free tours for groups can be arranged by calling ahead.
Watha State Fish Hatchery
4945 Shiloh Road
Watha, NC 28471
The Watha State Fish Hatchery is a warmwater hatchery with 43 ponds used to produce channel catfish, largemouth bass, striped bass, Bodie bass (striped bass hybrids), bluegill sunfish, redear sunfish, redbreast sunfish, hybrid sunfish and American shad for stocking public waters across the entire state. Contact the hatchery about public use.
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