Daniel Fish Hatchery

Daniel Hatchery (with fishing access)
P.O. Box 168, 239 Pape County Road
Daniel, Wyoming 83115
ph: (307) 859-8252

Located 15 miles northwest of Pinedale on U.S. 191, and 2.4 miles west on Sublette County Road 23-150 (Pape Road).

Forty Rod CreekForty Rod Creek

Welcome to the Daniel Fish Hatchery

Located in a mountain valley between the west slope of the Wind River Mountains and the east slope of the Wyoming Range, the Daniel Fish Hatchery rests in a scenic location on the banks of Forty Rod Creek. 

Daniel Fish Hatchery in 1917
Daniel Fish Hatchery in 1917 and Present Day

Hatchery History

In 1915, the Pinedale Commercial Club realized the need for a fish hatchery at or near Pinedale, to provide fish for many lakes and streams in the area. A bill was introduced in the fourteenth legislature, appropriating $7,000 for the construction of a hatchery at or near Daniel.   
In June 1917, the Pape ranch was selected for the hatchery and the land was donated by Mr. and Mrs. William H. Pape to the Wyoming Game & Fish Commission for the Daniel Fish Hatchery.
The construction of the Daniel Fish Hatchery was let to the Lincoln Lumber Company of Kemmerer, Wyoming to build a 40’ X 50’ building with a cement floor and foundation containing 28 rearing troughs and 1600’ of wooden pipeline to deliver 180gpm of spring water. The cost came in at $5,803.00, and the project was completed in April 1918.
Throughout the years, the Daniel Hatchery has undergone significant renovations to keep up with new technology in fish culture, with improvement and being expanded in 1966 and again in 1999. The Daniel Hatchery and is one of the oldest continuously operating hatcheries in the state.

Hatching Troughs and Rearing Tanks Hatchery Interior - Hatching Troughs and Rearing Tanks

What does the Daniel Fish Hatchery do?

With two springs supplying approximately 2 million gallons of water a day to the hatchery at an average temperature of 46° F,  the Daniel facility performs the important function of incubating and rearing various species of trout which include; brook, brown, cutthroat, golden and lake trout as well as splake, tiger trout and kokanee salmon. Colorado River CutthroatColorado River CutthroatThe Daniel Fish Hatchery participates in the statewide high mountain lake stocking program, Kokanee salmon and Golden trout programs. In addition to incubation and rearing, the Daniel Hatchery provides spawning, egg incubation, and rearing for one of Wyoming's native populations of cutthroat trout, the Colorado River cutthroat. Offspring from these broods are used for restoration efforts as well as for stocking in fishing waters throughout the state. Although it can vary from year to year, the hatchery produces approximately 500,000-750,000 fish annually.

Another function provided by the hatchery is due to Daniels' cold water. Hatchery personnel are able to hold back, or slow, the growth of fish. They use this technique to provide small fish for helicopter, horse packing, backpacking and ATV stocking.  Three dedicated Department personnel are stationed at the Daniel Hatchery and are responsible for the egg care, incubation, fish rearing, stocking, maintenance and operation of the facility, on a year round basis.

Rearing Building Ponds and RacewaysRearing Building - Ponds and Raceways

Where does the station get its water?

One natural spring and one pumped well source provide a constant supply of cold water needed for a successful fish hatchery. Water flowing from the spring fluctuates from a low of 250 gallons per minute (gpm) in March to a high of 600 gpm in July. Water from the pumped well source provides 1400 gpm. During these peak months these sources provide approximately 2.0 million gallons of water a day at an average temperature of 46°F. After passing over the fish, the water is released to Forty Rod Creek.

Spawning at Daniel

The hatchery is home to the endemic Colorado River cutthroat trout brood stock. The spawning population consists of approximately 2,400 fish that provides on average 1.0 million eggs per year. The captive stock is spawned weekly beginning the last week of March through early June. Offspring from this brood stock are used for restoration efforts and for stocking into popular fishing waters throughout the state.

Spawning is the process of collecting and fertilizing eggs from adult fish. Fish become mature at age four and start producing eggs. Daniel spawns a four year-old and five year old fish cross to maintain genetic variability. When the fish are preparing to spawn they will travel upstream in search of suitable habitat. Personnel take advantage of this natural movement to capture spawning fish by placing a funnel-shaped trap in the brood pond between the pond and spawning pens. After the fish are captured they are separated by age and sex, and held until spawning day.

Eggs are collected in bowls by gently applying pressure to the abdomen of the female, with the average cutthroat producing 700 eggs. The eggs are then fertilized with the sperm or “milt” from the male. Fish are spawned at a ratio of 1:1 (male to female) to provide the best opportunity for maintaining genetic diversity. Fertilized eggs are then placed in large coolers for transportation and put in incubators for development and hatching. After spawning, the fish are released unharmed to spawn again next year.

Fertilized eggs are placed in incubators for 20 to 30 days. When the eggs begin hatching, the fish (fry) are then placed in small troughs where they begin growing. Small fish are fed frequently, often as many as six to eight times a day.
Fish produced from this brood stock are predominantly used for restoration efforts and fishing opportunities in their native drainage. Because wild populations of these fish occupy a very small area, this stock is extremely important to have. If a catastrophic event happened and a wild stock was lost, this captive stock could be used to restore the lost population. A small number of these fish are also stocked outside their native range to provide more diverse fishing opportunity.

Egg and Fry Incubation

After spawning, fish eggs are then prepared for incubation. Incubation is the period of time it takes for eggs to develop and hatch into fish. Eggs are bought in, newly fertilized and are placed in drip or jar incubator until the eggs reach the eye stage. The amount of time this takes varies with water temperature but it takes approximately 25 days at the water temperature of 47° F. Once the eggs are eyed they are then shocked, picked, inventoried, and shipped to another facility or put out to hatch. Once hatched the fry are placed in shallow troughs until the fry hatch and reach the swim-up stage. Again the amount of time to hatch will vary due to temperature but typically takes another 20-25 days. After hatching the sac fry live off of their yolk for another +/- 25 days until they reach their swim-up stage and begin feeding. All eggs are first used to meet Wyoming hatchery requests and any remaining eggs are then made available to other states in return for fish that cannot be reared in Wyoming such as catfish, walleye and bass.

Fish Stocking

Once fish have reached the size requested by fish management crews they are ready to be stocked. Approximately 250,000 fish are stocked from Daniel each year. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department stocks fish in waters where there is suitable habitat and public fishing is allowed.

There are several ways fish are stocked. Trucks, boats, and even helicopters help fish reach their final destination. Trucks are the most common way of transporting fish from the facility to the lake or river.  Insulated tanks keep the water cool while oxygen bottles; air stones and aerators provide oxygen to the fish during transport.  Boats or barges with onboard tanks are used when fish need to be stocked in a particular part of river or lake. Helicopters are used when a lake is inaccessible by truck, such as in high mountain lakes in wilderness areas. Daniel Hatchery personnel also participate in horse packing, backpacking and ATV stocking.

Fish are stocked into Wyoming’s streams, ponds and lakes and can range in size from as small as one inch up to ten inches. Fish are stocked between the months of April and October each year, with June and July being the busiest. In addition to the Daniel Fish Hatchery serving the Wyoming public, by providing high quality fish for anglers, the facility provides outreach opportunities by supplying fish and participating in Kids Fishing events and provides education with guided hatchery tours to civic groups, school groups and the general public. Stocking provides angling opportunities for present and future generations.

Try your luck fishing on the Green River accesses above Warren Bridge or off the Sublette County road, 23-150 about a mile above the hatchery.

The hatchery is open to the public and welcomes scheduled group and walk in tours of the facility. Visiting hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
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