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Nebraska Fish Hatcheries

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North Platte Fish Hatchery

Contact Information:
North Platte State Fish Hatchery 444 E. State Farm Road North Platte, NE 69101-7748 (308) 535-8030 Email: dirk.higgins@nebraska.gov

The North Platte State Fish Hatchery is located one mile south of North Platte, Nebraska on Highway 83 and ½ mile east on State Farm Road. The facility started with 9 one acre ponds in 1943 and has grown to 43 ponds totaling 41.3 acres of water.

North Platte Fish Hatchery

The hatchery produces warm and cool water species of fish including northern pike, walleye, channel catfish, white bass, wipers, yellow perch, black crappie, bluegill, and largemouth bass.

Northern pike, walleye, and white bass eggs are hatched at the facility. Most hatching activity occurs during late March through May. After hatching, the fry are placed in ponds and allowed to grow.

The North Platte hatchery is open to the public. Tours are given during normal working hours.

North Platte Hatchery Facilities

North Platte Hatchery Layout

1. Hatch House

The hatch house is used to hatch eggs from late March to May. The eggs are placed in hatching jars. Well water circulating through the jars oxygenates the eggs. The eggs remain in the jars until they hatch into fry. The building also houses displays for public tours. When hatching is not occurring, the building is used as a maintenance shop.

2. Ponds

There are 43 production ponds at the North Platte hatchery. These ponds are used for extensive culture of warm and cool water fish. Fish are fed and grown in the ponds until they have reached the desired stocking size. All the ponds at the North Platte hatchery are earthen and have independent water supply. When the fish have reached the desired size, the ponds are drained into concrete catch basins. Once the fish are in the basins, they are counted and loaded on a fish truck to be stocked in Nebraska waters.

3. Silt Settling Pond

All water used in the hatchery is collected in a settling pond. Silt and waste materials in the effluent water are allowed to settle out. The water is then returned to the NPPD canal.

4. District Office

Information and permit sales are available at the District IV Office, which is one of six in the state.

5. NPPD Canal

The canal runs adjacent to the hatchery. Water is pulled from the canal system and used in the production ponds. After the water is used it goes through the settling pond and returned to the canal. Fishing near the returns is an excellent way to catch channel catfish and smallmouth bass.

6. East State Farm Road

East State Farm Road bisects the hatchery facility.

Fish Production

The North Platte hatchery produces warm and cool water fish. The four main fish that are raised at this hatchery are walleye, channel catfish, northern pike, and white bass.

Walleye, northern pike, and white bass are hatched from eggs and placed in ponds as fry. These fry stay in the ponds to grow to a desired size. Channel catfish are brought to the hatchery as fry and stocked in the ponds.

Northern Pike

Adult northern pike are collected in late March from sandhill lakes. The eggs are collected from the adult northern pike, fertilized, and brought back to the hatchery to hatch. When the eggs start to develop eyes, they are called "eyed eggs." Eyed eggs are place in vegetation along the ponds edge, where they hatch and grow in the ponds until they are drained. Northern pike fingerlings are harvested at 1½ to 2 inches. Most of the northern pike are stocked in Nebraska water. Some are restocked in the ponds and grown to 10 to 14 inches.


Adult walleye are collected in early April from Nebraska reservoirs. The eggs are collected from the adult walleye, fertilized, and brought back to the hatchery to hatch. Once the eggs have hatched the fry are place in ponds to grow. Walleye fingerlings are 1 to 1½ inches when ponds are drained. Some walleye are restocked in ponds and grown to 9 inches.

White Bass

Adult white bass are collected in May. The adults are brought to the hatchery, where they are spawned. The eggs are placed on a hatching battery and allowed to hatch. The fry are stocked in ponds to grow. White bass fingerlings are 1 to 2 inches when they are stocked in Nebraska waters.

Channel Catfish

Channel catfish fry are brought to the hatchery from out of state through trade agreements. The fry are stocked in ponds and fed a dry fish diet. In late fall, the 3 to 4 inch fish are placed in ponds where they stay over the winter. The next spring, the fish are stocked in hatchery ponds where they are grown to 10 to 12 inches. Once the channel catfish has reached this size, the pond is drained and the fish are stocked in Nebraska waters.

Other Species

North Platte hatchery produces many other species. Depending on management requests, the hatchery has raised wipers, yellow perch, black crappie, bluegill, muskellunge, tiger musky, black bullheads, smallmouth bass, grass carp, and largemouth bass.

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Nebraska Game and Parks Commission - 2200 N. 33rd St. Lincoln, NE 68503 - 402-471-0641

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