Spring season is a great time to spend an educational tour at the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery where you can experience and see the most significant trout manufacturing hatchery in Missouri. Located in Taney County near the Table Rock Dam, the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery is the biggest trout-producing hatchery in the country. The fish hatchery was established in 1957 and the production of fish was made available in the facility the following year. Over one million trout each year is produced in the hatchery with a total weight of 300,000 lbs. Eighty percent of the production of the fish hatchery goes into Lake Taneycomo and the other 20 percent to other Missouri trout-management areas.
Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery offers guided tours on weekdays with scheduled times at 10 am, 11 am, 1 pm, and 2 pm. The hatchery features a pavilion, 50-seat auditorium, picnic tables, and wildlife-viewing tower. The hatchery also features a staffed visitor center where you can find lots of exhibits on display. Visitors to the fish hatchery during spring season will surely enjoy great hiking adventure through glades and forests where they can see first hand experience of fresh blooms of flowers and plants in three miles of hiking trails.
Table Rock Lake is the main source of water to the fish hatchery and is supplied by way of the law of gravity. The fish hatchery provides visitors educational tour where they will learn the manufacturing processes of trout that promises future generations the opportunity to know the importance of trout fishing. This 200 acres hatchery facility uses a bottle type incubation devices and fiberglass along with aluminum tanks. The facility also uses a dozen of exterior concrete channels for preliminary raising and thirty cement channels for finished raising.
The common fish species that are hatched in the fish hatchery are the brown and rainbow trout. The brown trout was first introduced into the country as early as 1883. Brown trout originated from Europe and the British Isles. About 200,000 brown trout were introduced to Missouri from 1927 to 1933. In the 1960s, stock efforts were made in the Current and North Folk rivers and later expanded to other Ozark streams and Lake Taneycomo. Brown trout is a sleek fish with small scales and soft-rayed fins. Its dorsal fin has round black spots with red spots or small orange surrounded by a lighter halo. Rainbow trout is similar to brown trout with some difference in sizes of black spots and red spots.
The production of brown and rainbow trout in the hatchery is supplied to the operational needs of the Conservation Departments. The fish hatchery entertains about a quarter of a million tourists every year and provides a variety of educational information and facts about the production of trout in the hatchery to the general public.
If you want to learn how the fish species are raised in the hatchery, spend an educational tour at the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery in Branson.
Return to the Branson Cabins Blog Home