|The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife operates six fish hatcheries. Sport fish raised for stocking include: cold water fish (rainbow trout, brown trout), cool water fish (saugeye, walleye, yellow perch, and muskellunge), and warm water fish (hybrid striped bass, channel catfish, largemouth bass, and bluegill). The Division also raises non-sport species to reestablish threatened and endangered fish. Stocking is only one of the fish management tools used by the Division to manage state fish populations. The majority of Ohio’s fish populations are sustained through natural reproduction. Stocking is appropriate when natural reproduction cannot sustain a population.
Hebron State Fish Hatchery
London SFH (740) 852-1412
Kincaid SFH (740) 493-2717
Hebron SFH (740) 928-8092
St. Mary's SFH (419) 394-5170
Castalia SFH (419) 684-7499
Senecaville SFH (740) 685-5541
What is raised at the hatcheries?
Kincaid State Fish Hatchery
Kincaid State Fish Hatchery is located on over 200 acres in western Pike County. This facility became operational under the direction of the Division of Conservation, a predecessor to the Division of Wildlife, in 1935. The hatchery has 19 ponds containing a total of 24 water acres. The facility also has six indoor raceways and four indoor rearing troughs. Water is supplied by a spring that can deliver 70-3,000 gallons per minute, depending on groundwater levels. This cold water supply allows the hatchery to raise muskellunge and rainbow trout. The hatchery also raises hybrid striped bass. In 1953, muskellunge were first raised at the hatchery, and production has grown steadily since. Today, Kincaid is Ohio’s primary production center for muskellunge. Muskellunge production starts in the spring, while trout production starts in the fall. To get to the hatchery, take SR 124 west off of SR 23 and the hatchery is about a mile past the town of Latham on the left.
Hebron State Fish Hatchery is located in southern Licking County north of Buckeye Lake. This 230-acre facility was acquired from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1982. This hatchery has 63 ponds, 13 indoor rearing troughs, 25 acres of wetlands, and 50 wooded acres with 2.5 miles of nature trails. Water is supplied by Buckeye Lake (5,000 gallons per minute capacity) through a 1.5-mile section of the old Ohio Erie Canal. Two wells (370 gallons per minute capacity) also provide water to the hatchery. Saugeye, walleye, and channel catfish represent the majority of fish production, but hybrid striped bass and bluegill are also raised at the hatchery. Along with fish production, hatchery ponds provide opportunities for cooperative research with universities such as The Ohio State University. Research conducted at the Hebron State Fish Hatchery has helped the Division of Wildlife triple production of walleye and saugeye at the Hebron, Senecaville, and St. Marys state hatcheries, and also was used in developing prevention measures for zebra mussels (an aquatic nuisance species). As one of the Division of Wildlife’s “Watchable Wildlife Areas,” the hatchery attracts bird watchers and wildlife enthusiasts. To get to the hatchery, take SR 37 south off I-70, after two miles turn left on SR 79 and go another two miles and turn left on Canal Rd; the hatchery is one mile on the right.
Castalia State Fish Hatchery
Castalia State Fish Hatchery is located on 90 acres in western Erie County, just southwest of Sandusky, Ohio. This facility is the newest of the six hatcheries and came on-line in the fall of 1997 after it was purchased from private interests. The hatchery production facilities consist of eight indoor rearing troughs and three outdoor raceways. Nine of these raceways are supplied with water from one of the area’s many blue-hole aquifers (2,500 gallons per minute capacity). Because the water from the blue hole has no oxygen and high levels of nitrogen, it is treated before being used by the hatchery. The remaining two raceways are supplied with water diverted from Cold Creek (10,000 gallons per minute capacity). This cold water supply allows the hatchery to raise steelhead and rainbow trout. All of the state’s steelhead production occurs at this hatchery. Rainbow trout are raised to catchable size before being stocked in Ohio lakes in both the spring and fall. The facility offers great wildlife viewing opportunities and also offers a limited lottery-style fishing program on the portion of Cold Creek that runs through the hatchery grounds. To get to the hatchery, take SR 269 south off of SR 6 and then go 2 miles. Turn left on Heywood Rd.; after one mile, turn right on Homegardner Rd. and the hatchery is 200 feet on the right.
Fish such as saugeye and hybrid striped bass, which are hybrids and rarely occur naturally, must be stocked annually to maintain fisheries. Also, lack of suitable habitat may prohibit or greatly reduce natural reproduction for some species such as muskellunge and trout, along with inland populations of walleye, yellow perch, and channel catfish. Largemouth bass and bluegill are also raised, and are used exclusively for stocking public lakes that are being rehabilitated. Aside from opportunities to learn about hatchery production, these facilities also have special events for youth hunting and fishing, and provide wildlife viewing opportunities. All hatcheries are open to the public from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday; advanced reservations are required for tour groups.
London State Fish Hatchery
London State Fish Hatchery is located on over 80 acres in western Madison County, just west of London, Ohio. The facility was built in 1896 by the Ohio Fish Commission, a predecessor to the Division of Wildlife, and is the oldest of the six hatcheries. The hatchery has 34 ponds containing a total of almost 10 water acres. The facility also has one large outdoor raceway (a cement or earthen manmade canal with flowing water) and nine indoor rearing troughs. Water is supplied by several wells, which can deliver 2,000 gallons per minute. This cold water supply and spring fed ponds allow the hatchery to raise muskellunge, rainbow trout, and brown trout. The hatchery is involved in fish production year round, maintaining its own brown trout and rainbow trout breeding adults, and is the main production facility for brown trout. Muskellunge production starts in the spring, while trout production starts in the fall. London State Fish Hatchery also maintains several species of fish for displays at the state fair, county fairs, and sports shows. The visiting public can enjoy viewing large adult trout and other display fish. To get to the hatchery, take SR 56 south off of I-70 to SR 40 west, then take Roberts Mill Rd. south four miles and the hatchery is on the right.
St. Marys State Fish Hatchery
St Mary's Fish Hatchery is located on over 160 acres in western Auglaize County on the eastern shore of Grand Lake St. Marys. This facility, opened in 1913, was originally operated by the Western Ohio Fish and Game Association and was officially dedicated as a state hatchery in 1936. The hatchery has 26 ponds containing a total of 43 water acres. The facility also has two outdoor raceways and nine indoor rearing troughs. Water is supplied by Grand Lake St. Marys (5,000 gallons per minute capacity) and a well (375 gallons per minute capacity). This water supply allows the hatchery to raise saugeye, walleye, yellow perch, channel catfish, and largemouth bass. Production begins in the spring with walleye egg collection for production of both walleye and saugeye. Also in the spring, yellow perch breeding adults are placed into hatchery ponds along with submerged trees that provide spawning structure for the adult perch. Once these three species are stocked into area lakes, the ponds are refilled and stocked with fingerling channel catfish and largemouth bass fry. In the fall, these fish are also stocked into area lakes. To get to the hatchery, take SR 703 west out of the town of St. Marys and then take a left on SR 364 for 1.5 miles; then go left on Feeder Rd. and the hatchery is 300 feet on the left.
Senecaville State Fish Hatchery
Senecaville State Fish Hatchery is located on over 120 acres in southern Guernsey County below the dam of Seneca Lake. This facility was acquired from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1987. The hatchery has 37 ponds containing a total of 37 water acres. The facility also has two outdoor raceways and 18 indoor rearing troughs. Water is supplied by Seneca Lake, which can deliver 2,000 gallons per minute. This water supply allows the hatchery to raise saugeye, walleye, hybrid striped bass, and channel catfish. Senecaville State Fish Hatchery is the main facility for saugeye and hybrid striped bass production. Fry produced at this facility are raised on-site and also shipped to other state hatcheries to be raised to stocking size. Saugeye and walleye production begins in early spring, and hybrid striped bass production starts in late spring with egg collection and fertilization at the hatchery. This hatchery is also the main production facility for channel catfish. Channel catfish production starts in the summer using breeding adults kept at the hatchery and these fry are raised on-site and also shipped to other state hatcheries to be raised to stocking size. To get to the hatchery, take I-77 south off of I-70, then take SR 313 east for about six miles and turn right on Seneca Dam Rd.; the hatchery is on the right about a half mile.