The History of Fish Springs Hatchery

Fish Springs Hatchery was originally constructed in 1952, obtaining its water supply from a number of springs arising from an on-site lava escarpment. These springs had an average flow of 18 cubic feet per second (cfs) and had a constant temperature of 61° Fahrenheit. Utilizing two parallel series earthen ponds which were approximately 1,700 feet long, the facility raised around 190,000 pounds of trout per year.

In 1972, the Hatchery was modernized to a system of concrete raceways supplied by two groundwater wells. These wells produce a constant supply of 60° water to all fish rearing operations, including a hatchery building and the production raceways which consist of three 1,000 foot long concrete raceways.

Constructed in 2009, the facility’s hatchery building houses a total of twenty deep tanks. The building is primarily used to hatch out eyed eggs which are received from other facilities and rearing the resulting fry until they are large enough to be moved to the outdoor raceways (approximately 2 inches long).

Currently the facility produces and distributes an average of 500,000 pounds of catchable (1/2 pound) rainbow and Eagle Lake trout to roadside waters in Inyo and Mono counties per year. In addition, Fish Springs Hatchery supplies around 100,000 fingerling rainbow trout per annum for air stocking operations.

Aerial view of Fish Springs Hatchery shortly after completion in 1952, showing spring area with six earthfill ponds, food storage and utility buildings, employee housing
Fish Springs, Inyo County, California. A spring flowing approximately 20 c.f.s. of clear water at fairly constant temperature of 60 degrees F. provies this excellent hatchery water supply. In order to dissipate some harmful gases present and increase the oxygen conten, a portion of the water used is treated by pumping it through an aerator. Photograph by Edwin P. Pister, April 1958.
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Employees' houses, Fish Springs Hatchery. Elevation 3,880 feet. The peaks of the Sierra Nevada, in the background, rise to over 13,000 feet above sea level.
Fish Spring Hatchery-Raceway
Modern raceway at Fish Springs Hatchery

Fish Springs Hatchery main page

Fisheries Branch
830 S Street, Sacramento, CA 95811 | (916) 327-8840