Just imagine seeing thousands of Rainbow and Brook trout at one time. Pools and pools of trout to watch and enjoy!
When we’re near Greers Ferry Lake or the Little Red River, we never miss a chance to visit the Greers Ferry National Fish Hatchery. Observing the trout is an experience everyone should have!
“The Greers Ferry Hatchery was established in 1965 to produce rainbow trout for restocking the cold tailwaters below Greers Ferry and other U.S. Corps of Engineers water projects (dams) located in Arkansas, eastern Oklahoma, and neighboring states.” -source
The Fish Hatchery receives fertilized eggs from other Federal hatcheries. They then incubate them in the “juvenile fish rearing area” of the hatchery building from August through March. (The public is not allowed in this area for the safety of the fish.)
Do you like trout fishing? Here are the Best Places to Fish for Trout in Arkansas.
Once the fish reach about 3 inches long (4-5 months old), they are put in the pools or “raceways” outside.
This is when the fun happens.
The public is then allowed to visit the hatchery and observe the growing fish!
Once the fish reach “stocking size” which is 11-inchs (about 20 months old), they are harvested and distributed by truck for stocking in rivers across Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Greers Ferry National Fish Hatchery produces more than 700,000 trout annually. Maybe one of those trout will be the subject for your next “big fish story.” -source
Each year, the Little Red River is stocked with approximately 180,000 rainbow trout from the Greers Ferry National Fish Hatchery.
Fish Species Produced: The hatchery produces rainbow and brook trout. These fish will then be stocked in tailwaters across Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. “Tailwaters” are rivers below dams.
The Fish Hatchery also has a raceway of Adult trout. These trout are for viewing purposes.
A sign at the Fish Hatchery states that, “These adult trout are not used for broodstock. The hatchery receives fertilized eggs from other hatcheries. These fish are for display purposes. When Rainbow Trout reach sexual maturity, you can see the horizontal pinkish-red stripe on the sides of the fish. In addition, the sex of the adult trout can be distinguished by the shape of the head. The males have more of a pointed head with a protruding lower jaw. The females have more of a rounded head with the upper and lower jaws being the same.”
Greers Ferry National Fish Hatchery
Hours: 7 days/week from 10am-3pm
Closed Thanksgiving Day and December 24 & 25
349 Hatchery Road
Heber Springs, AR 72543
Cost to visit: FREE