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U.S. Fish Hatchery

The newly remodeled Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery features sixteen tanks of native fish species highlighting river habitats from the South Eastern United States. The station is involved in spawning, hatching, and rearing young fish to restore natural populations.

The Hatchery is a warm water center concerned with spawning, hatching, and rearing young fish, called fingerlings. The fingerlings are raised to a size and age which offers them the best chance at survival in the wild.

Operations began in 1931 under the authority of the White Act. The Hatchery currently houses: catfish, bluegill, largemouth bass, striped bass, pallid sturgeon, and paddlefish.

The Hatchery houses an aquarium, the Harold B. Wales Environmental Education Classroom, a holding house, ponds and the Hatchery office. The aquarium holds 16 tanks filled with a variety of warm water fish, alligators and turtles, including the rare albino snapping turtle. The classroom is used for grades K-12 and is equipped with microscopes, video teaching capabilities, and several hands-on items.

The holding house is used to spawn and hatch eggs, to raise newly hatched fish, and to prepare newly harvested fingerlings for distribution. There are 53 ponds on the Hatchery grounds, averaging 0.8 acres in size.