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Rock Creek Fish HatcheryContact Information:
Rock Creek State Fish Hatchery HC 69 Box 5 Parks, NE 69041 Phone: 308-423-2080
Rock Creek State Fish Hatchery is located in southwest Nebraska, 7 miles northwest of Parks at the headwaters of Rock Creek. Founded at it's current location in 1924 because of the abundant cold water spring flow, it is one of five state fish hatcheries operated by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Spring flow of approximately 2500 gallons per minute of 57° F water allows Rock Creek Hatchery to continue to be ideal for the production of cold and warm water fish species. Approximately 42 acre feet of water is permitted by the Nebraska Department of Water Resources for use in the production of fish. Rock Creek Hatchery annually produces rainbow and brown trout, striped bass hybrids (wipers), bluegill, bluegill green sunfish hybrids, rock bass, red ear sunfish, and grass carp.
Trout eggs are received through cooperative trades with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and cooperating state agencies. Eggs are hatched in troughs in the hatchery building and reared in tanks, raceways and ponds. Each year several strains are reared and stocked throughout the state including: Fall Rainbows, Shasta strain rainbows, Fish Lake DeSmet rainbows, Erwin strain rainbows, Wild Rose brown trout, and Seeforellen brown trout. Fingerling are reared and transferred to Grove Trout Rearing Station at Royal and Calamus State Fish Hatchery at Burwell. Catchable 9-10" rainbows are reared for stocking at Lake Ogallala., Rock Creek Lake, and several popular fisheries in the panhandle region. Catchable size rainbows are also reared for popular winter ice-fishing locations throughout Nebraska. Rock Creek contributes to the production of 46% of the trout stocked throughout the state.
Hybrid Striped Bass (Wipers)
Hybrid striped bass (wipers) have become very popular among anglers throughout Nebraska. Rock Creek Hatchery receives 4-day old fry from Oklahoma or Texas in May when the risk of frost has passed. Fry are stocked into acre-sized hatchery ponds and reared for 40 days to 1-2". Approximately 200,000 fingerling are stocked throughout southwest Nebraska in irrigation reservoirs and canals. With the large size and fighting reputation of striped bass and the schooling habits of the white bass, their rapid growth makes them an ideal trophy specie for many Nebraska waters.
Bluegill and Bluegill x Green Sunfish Hybrids
Bluegill and bluegill hybrids are produced on the hatchery or received from Valentine Hatchery for holdover till the following spring. These fingerling are very beneficial for stocking newly renovated lakes and for re-stocking winter killed lakes. Rock Creeks southerly location produces winter growth and survival not found at other Commission hatcheries.
Redear sunfish, a relative of the bluegill, are reared for special stocking applications in southern Nebraska lakes, pits, and ponds. This specie prefers snails and mollusks which makes them a challenging specie for Nebraska anglers.
White Amur (grass carp) are reared to provide a biological control for aquatic weeds in hatchery ponds and certain lakes with severe weed control problems. Grass carp are spawned on the hatchery or received as fry from cooperating states.
In addition to assisting with the production of fingerlings for other hatcheries and stockings at the request of Fisheries Division managers, staff from Rock Creek Hatchery annually provide assistance with fish distribution, tagging and fin clipping, surveying, and maintenance. Visitors are welcome and invited to tour the facility. Licenses and permits are available for sale.