Mackay Fish Hatchery
Friday, September 19, 2014
The Mackay Fish Hatchery is located 10 miles north of Mackay, Idaho on Highway 93 and approximately 5 miles west on Fish Hatchery Rd. Follow the signs from the highway as you cross the Big Lost River and approach the hatchery near the base of Lehman Butte. The primary funding source for Mackay Fish Hatchery is IDFG fishing and hunting license dollars.
Mackay Fish Hatchery started on Warm Springs Creek near the backwaters of the Mackay Reservoir in 1924 as a spawning and egg incubating field station. Superior water quality brought the hatchery to its present site in 1925, allowing for expansion to include fish production. Warm Springs, which originates on the hatchery grounds, supplies all the water for the facility. Water temperature averages 52°F and water flows can vary from 17 - 23 cubic feet per second.
There are 26 outdoor concrete raceways. The hatchery building contains 30 early-rearing troughs and 196 egg incubation trays capable of holding over 2 million eggs.
Several hundred visitors tour the remote location of the hatchery each year, many not anticipating a fish hatchery situated in a high plains desert setting. The hatchery overlooks the scenic Big Lost River mountain range, which has many of the highest peaks in Idaho. Numerous recreational opportunities surround the hatchery including fishing the Big Lost River, Mackay Reservoir and numerous streams in the Copper Basin area west of the hatchery. Individual hatchery tours can be conducted any day between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. while larger groups are requested to make arrangements with hatchery staff prior to their visit. Call (208) 588-2219 for an appointment. There is a public restroom available.
The primary mission of the hatchery is to annually produce approximately 110,000 catchable trout and 2.5 – 3.5 million fingerling trout. Species produced include Rainbow Trout, Henrys Lake Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout, Snake River Fine Spot Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow/Cutthroat Hybrid Trout, Kokanee, Brook Trout, Tiger Trout (Brook x Brown) and Westslope Cutthroat Trout. Fish raised at the Mackay Fish Hatchery are stocked statewide.
The hatchery also produces Arctic Grayling and Golden Trout for high mountain lake stocking programs in Central Idaho.