for checking out our web site! The goal of our site is to answer
the typical questions asked by a pond owner wanting to stock their
are a private hatchery serving privately owned ponds and lakes.
The State of Montana as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
have numerous hatcheries in the state yet serve only to stock public
waterways and lakes and will not typically supply fish to private
hatchery was built in 1919 by the son of the Butte copper king Marcus
Daly. Our all important water source is a peat moss spring near
Skalkaho Creek south east of Hamilton some 4 miles. Daly's engineer
selected this corner of the valley because of its plentiful water
and proximity to their stock farm holdings. What was "state
of the art" in 1919 still functions today thanks to the gravity
flow design with some upgrades through the decades. Our fish house
includes 19 concrete raceways and is surrounded by three outdoor
ponds. The water flows into the fish house at roughly 50 degrees
through the winter which keeps the house above freezing and the
ponds ice free unless the temperature drops to 10 below or so.
Rainbows and Rainbows
past we have grown Westsolpe Cutthroat and Eastern Brook trout,
yet the majority of fish we stock have always been Rainbow trout.
This plus the fact that the Rainbow do so well (grow at amazing
rates) in most pond environments, we now deal only with Rainbows.
Annual Health Inspection
year we are inspected by the state of Montana for possible fish
diseases. Disease is always a concern especially since whirling
disease was found in the state. Samples of each lot of fish are
taken and tested before the main hauling season begins. If you would
like a copy of our most recent disease free results let us know
and we can fax or mail you a copy. Our commercial license is renewed
each year only after this inspection and supplying the state a listing
of every delivery and or sale of the previous year. We are always
concerned with bringing a disease back to the hatchery. Because
of this we use separate nets and other equipment on our trucks which
are not used here at the hatchery. We will not put water on from
any other source than ours and once the fish go on the truck we
are committed to take them off the property.
of the more difficult factors of raising fish is dealing with the
predators which locate our "unnatural" density of fish.
Great Blue Herons, Osprey, Bald Eagles, Great Horned Owls and Raccoons
all take a share of the fish in our outdoor ponds. Luckily we are
far enough from Skalkaho Creek which saves us from contributing
to the diets of the mink and otter (knock on wood).
of these species take their toll and the fun part starts as we book
orders and do not know just what we have in numbers until the fish
are seined from the ponds and loaded for hauling.