Clarks Fork Fish Hatchery

Clarks Fork Hatchery
18 Hatchery Road
Powell, WY 82435

Mailing Address:
Clark's Fork Fish Hatchery

18 Hatchery Road
Powell, WY 82435-8115
ph: (307) 645-3146

Clarks Fork Fish Hatchery

Built along the Clark's Fork River in the shadow of the Beartooth Mountains, the Clark's Fork Fish Hatchery is 29 miles north of Cody Wyoming, just a few miles off Highway 120. Many unique places including Yellowstone National Park, the Shoshone National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands are nearby for you to enjoy. The hatchery sits on 195 acres of deeded Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) land that includes many public fishing access points. The hatchery, built in 1970, is the second largest fish hatchery in the state and offers a unique opportunity to view fish culture in progress.

The focus of the Clark's Fork Hatchery is hatching and rearing fish for stocking into waters that allow public fishing. Trout species at the station include Eagle Lake rainbow, Fall rainbow, Firehole rainbow, brown trout, Bear River cutthroat and Yellowstone cutthroat. Occasionally, as the need arises, arctic grayling are raised for stocking.

Natural underground springs provide a constant supply of cold, disease-free water to the hatchery. The twelve springs furnishing water to the facility vary from a low of 5,000 gallons per minute (gpm) in April to a high of 7,000 gpm in October. During the peak months, the springs provide approximately 11.5 million gallons of water per day at an average temperature of 52 degrees Fahrenheit. Because the water is constantly flowing through the raceways, they do not become covered with ice, even on the coldest winter days. After passing through the facility, the water returns to the Clark's Fork River.

Egg Hatching and Rearing

Eyed eggs are shipped to Clark's Fork from other state hatcheries. Upon arrival, they are placed in hatching jars for 14-20 days in one of 20 troughs inside the hatchery building. The eggs hatch in the jars and then spill into the troughs and quickly begin growing. The small fish, or "fry," are fed up to six times a day. Once the fry reach fingerling stage (approximately three inches), they are transferred to other WGFD hatcheries/rearing stations or moved outside into the large concrete raceways. Here they are fed two to four times a day until they reach the size desired for stocking. The Clark's Fork Hatchery is one of the major producers of native Yellowstone cutthroat trout here in Wyoming. In addition, some of these native fish and eggs have been provided to numerous universities in the U.S. and Canada for genetic research and graduate student projects. 

Stocking at the Clark's Fork Hatchery

Once fish have reached the size requested by fish management crews, they are ready to be stocked. Clark's Fork Fish Hatchery personnel travel to areas throughout the state of Wyoming in order to stock fish for anglers. Stocking trucks are the most common way of transporting fish from the facility to a lake or river. Insulated tanks keep the water cool while oxygen bottles; air stones and aerators provide oxygen to the fish during transport. At Clark's Fork there are two fish distribution trucks. Each year, these distribution units travel around 52,000 miles combined, to stock or transfer approximately one to two million fish.

Clarks Fork Fish Hatchery

Currently, the Clark Fork Fish Hatchery is whirling disease free, but in 2002, fish sampled from the Clark's Fork River tested positive for the parasite that causes whirling disease. Although this parasite results in deformities and often death of fish, it is not known to affect humans. In order for the parasite to survive, an aquatic worm must be present in the water. The worm is less likely to appear in "closed" (underground) water sources and concrete raceways, like those found at Clark's Fork, than in open waters sources that can easily be infected. All WGFD hatcheries are examined by a fish pathologist on a regular basis to be certified disease free. Again, to date, the hatchery is free of whirling disease; we ask that you please help us to keep it this way by following the guidelines posted on the front door and information kiosk.

You can fish locally on the Clark's Fork River.
Email Newsletter

Email Newsletter Sign Up

Stay up to date on all Wyoming Game and Fish news either by email or text message. Click the link below to get started.

Sign Up Today


Conserving Wildlife - Serving People